- Lobbyists will now be required to register with the city, but there are no reporting requirements to inform the public on how much they are spending and what they are spending money on to influence city decision-makers. Mere registration without reporting is useless.
- The proposal will prohibit persons from serving on an agency or board in which they have a business relationship or a financial interest. That's all well and good, but the devil is in the details. The mayor has already appointed a person to run the city's most powerful board, the CIB, who is a lobbyist for the Simons and whose law firm represents a number of clients with potential clients. The mayor's chief of staff is the ex-branch manager of a major city contractor. And the City-Councy Council just recently approved the appointment of a liquor lobbyist for the Board of Zoning Appeals. This idea looks good on paper, but does it really have any teeth?
- City employees will be barred in the future from running for the city council, but police and firefighters are exempt. The mayor's office is using a state law which allows police and firefighters to run for office as an excuse for the exemption. That state law contradicts the Indiana Constitution, which bars persons from holding positions in two branches of government at the same time. As City-County Councilor Lincoln Plowman's recent promotion in the police department and former CCC President Monroe Gray's questionable job in the fire department demonstrate, there are inherent conflicts and problems with morale in allowing public safety workers to sit on the council.
- The penalty for failing to file a statement of economic interest is increased from $25 to $50. Excuse me, but we penalize people more for committing minor traffic offenses. Let's at least make the penalty $500. And let's also make these reports more meaningful. The current form is so vague and inadequate that it is easy for officials to avoid any meaningful disclosure.
- Putting all campaign finance reports online is very important. I studied the filings made by members of the council elected in 2003. I was appalled by how many glaring errors there were in these reports. Most of the council members prepared their own reports and clearly did not understand what the law required them to report.
- Gifts are limited to $100 instead of $250. Why not ban all gifts? There is no good reason for any public official to be accepting gifts from people who do business with the city. This should also be tied in with a lobbyist reporting requirement to disclose any gifts made to a city official.
Lobbyist registration. Not required now; lobbyists would be obliged to register with the city and would be penalized for noncompliance.
Appointment restrictions. An area now unaddressed; city officials and employees would be prohibited from being appointed to boards unless explicitly permitted. People would be prohibited from serving on an agency board or commission with which they have a business relationship or in which they have a financial interest.
Employment restrictions. An area now unaddressed; city employees would be prohibited from working with a company that would have an agenda inherently incompatible with the city's or that would require the disclosure of confidential information. In the future, City-County Council members would not be permitted to work for a city agency. Police officers and firefighters would be exempt because state law allows them to run for council. Nepotism would be prohibited.
Conflict of interest: Would require council members' recusal from a vote or withdrawal from involvement in city matters in which they have a financial interest.
Statements of economic interest: Online posting would be required, with penalties for failing to file rising from $25 to $50. Would apply to all officials, agency heads and anyone in city-county government with purchasing authority.
Campaign finance reports. Now required only on paper; online posting by the clerk's office would be mandated within 21 days of filing.
Gift rules. A current $250 annual cap would be lowered to $100 with a $25 per gift limitation.
Honoraria. Now permitted up to $250 annually; personal honoraria would be prohibited.