Monday, March 03, 2008

Star Raises Questions About Plowman's Promotion

The Indianapolis Star editorial writers are concerned about Mayor Greg Ballard's decision to appoint a Republican leader on the City-County Council, Lincoln Plowman, to a management position in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department upon assuming control of the police agency from Sheriff Frank Anderson. The editorial reads, in part:

Lincoln Plowman, the new assistant commander for investigations, also serves as Republican majority leader on the City-County Council, which, among its duties affecting crime fighting, reviews and approves the police department's budget.

Such conflicts aren't new for the council. Democrat Monroe Gray came under deserved criticism last year for inadequately accounting for time split between serving as council president and working for the Indianapolis Fire Department. Police, firefighters and other city employees fill several seats on the council, routinely casting votes that directly affect their departments and indirectly their own livelihoods.

Plowman's promotion is troublesome on two counts. He's now in key leadership positions on both the council and IMPD. How will he separate his dual responsibilities when making public policy decisions? How often will he recuse himself from council votes that affect the police department?

Also, Ballard, while running for mayor last year, promised to set high ethical standards for his administration. Yet, he's put himself in the dubious position of promoting a key ally to a job that should have nothing to do with politics.

In the mayor's office only two months, Ballard already has made two questionable assignments. He previously appointed Robert T. Grand, managing partner of Barnes & Thornburg, to lead the Capital Improvement Board. The law firm has represented the Indiana Pacers, the chief tenant of the CIB-managed Conseco Fieldhouse. Grand also has represented Simon Property Group; the Simons own the Pacers.

Ballard says he supports a policy that eventually would disqualify city employees from serving on the council. That would be a welcome step forward.

In the interim, however, the mayor needs to stop making appointments that create obvious conflicts. Lincoln Plowman may serve the city well as a member of IMPD's command team. He also may be a fine majority leader on the council. He should not, however, attempt to do both jobs at the same time.


Anonymous said...

Hasn't Ballard aleady gone way over the gift cap with his free Pacer tickets and free trip to the Superbowl? I am sure there is more. Will he fine himself?

Anonymous said...

The Mayor might be exempt from the caps, but not reporting. I don't have a problem with the mayor going to these events. He attends plenty of other events, too, like neighborhood meetings, etc.

Here was a simple qualifying test for Ballard vis-a-vis Lincoln Plowman:

Spend ten minutes with him, ask him a few ordinary questions. Watch him on Ch. 16 for 20-30 mins. You pick the committee meeting and watch it on Ch. 16's archives.

And if you truly think, Mr. Mayor, after this simple exercise, that Lincoln Plowman is smart enough to be a high-ranking IMPD official, then you need to be removed from office.

This is an historic opportunity to reshape IMPD. Plowman is a sorry appointment, period. I know multiple line LEOs who have no confidence in his leadership abilities.

You effed up on this one, Mr. Mayor.

Anonymous said...

I like Plowman - he is a very good Councillor in my opinion.

But, there is an appearance of a conflict of interest with his promotion as well as some of the existing appointments by the Mayor.

The Mayor can't make exceptions for himself. Likely he just can't see how others see it. He'll have to get someone on staff who will tell him he's wrong or get used to criticism.

Anonymous said...

We need to exclude cops and firefighters from serving in city/county elected office. They shouldn't get a free pass if other city employees are barred.

Anonymous said...

A clueless nobody pointed out earlier that only "a distinct minority" cares about these issues. Looks like more folks have a problem with this than they are willing to admit

Anonymous said...

The author of this blog is an observant, well spoken critic of most events. Where are you on the $4 billion dollars assessment error in Marion County? We need a full press media call out on this issue! How much bigger does a problem need to be? Please give this your critical eye.

Anonymous said...

I guess I wonder why our political leaders aren't leaders in their chosen career. I would expect Lincoln Plowman or any other political leader to show leadership in their chosen field as
well as in the political arena.
Do Mr. Plowman's superiors in the
Police Dept. feel it's an unfair appointment? Their opinion would have more weight than the Star. I wonder when I see ads for Andre
Carson why he did not achieve greater success in his chosen field. He seems to have attained
political leadership but not much
in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln Plowman was an "instant"
promotion under Frank Anderson. He never even worked as an investigator.

Now he is what!?

I guess some things NEVER change!

Anonymous said...

I worked with Lincoln Plowman on one public project. It lasted a few weeks. It was a group of 15-20 persons, all well-meaning.

He routinely re-asked very elementary questions. Either he can't focus or he can't remember...frankly, it makes no difference which. He was never on time, which really miffed some of the other participants.

Subsequently, I have attended several council or committee meetings. And I've watched him repeatedly on Ch. 16.

He seems extremely polite and nice. But this guy is no genius, to put it mildly.

Which I wouldn't really mind if he had a private sector job. But he has one of most important public sector jobs: police officer.

The job requires split-second decisions and sound reasoning skills.

Honestly, he reminds me of that kid in high remember him, the one who always wanted to be a cop?

'Nuff said.

Mayor Ballard, you can undo this ridiculous appointment.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln Plowman was an instant promotion under Frank Anderson?

You have to be kidding. He was demoted When Sheriff Anderson took over and after about three years was appointed to a Captain. That does not sound like "instant" to me.

Plowman has come a long way. Give him a break.

As far a Plowman being a genius, I agree he is not, but how many cops are a genius anyway. LOL

Bob Cardwell said...

What is Plowman's connection to Jack Cottey?

Did Plowman purchase his initial fame from Jack Cottey?

Where did Plowman's special love of guns come from? How did he become a "gun freak" to the exclusion of other important issues?

How is Plowman allowed to "triple" dip in public funds such as being a cop, being on the council, being a private body guard? This is in addition to the "special" contributions he gets.

How come Plowman was not allowed to go to Iraq? Does he have an infectious illness? Is he a security risk? Is he a nut case?

Everyone knows he is not bright, so who is pulling the strings? Is it Jack Cottey? Is it Tim Motsinger?

We, the public, need the answers.