Friday, January 09, 2009

Long Wavering On Kernan-Shepard Reforms

Senate President Pro Tempore David Long wants to punt the decision of whether to eliminate township governments and other government consolidation reforms proposed by the Kernan-Shepard Commission to the voters. "It's important that we give local governments, and counties in particular, the option to enact or not enact certain proposals," Long said. The Star's Mary Beth Schneider calls that "a major setback to Daniels' plans to streamline government in all 92 counties by eliminating three-member county commissions in favor of a single county executive who reports to a county council; eliminating township governments; eliminating some county elected offices in favor of appointees by the chief executive; and consolidating smaller school districts."

Particularly troubling about Long's comments yesterday is his personal position opposing the elimination of township governments. He actually said he likes township trustees. WIBC has been running that comment all morning. That view is deeply disturbing. These township trustee offices in Marion County are nothing but a cesspool of political corruption and a complete waste of taxpayer dollars. In Center Township alone, we can return millions of dollars to taxpayers by getting rid of the unnecessary real estate portfolio Carl Drummer has been accumulating so he can pretend to be a big real estate developer on our dime and have a place to store his Corvette collection.

Mayor Ballard has his work cut out for him this session making sure we succeed in getting rid of Drummer and the other eight township trustees. He needs to begin by demanding a public statement from Marion Co. GOP Chairman Tom John that he fully supports his government consolidation plans for Marion County. John's law firm represents Center Township as a paid lobbyist to fight government consolidation plans. If John can't pledge to fight for Ballard's government consolidation plans in Marion County, then Ballard should demand he step aside as county chairman. This is another reason why political parties should never ever choose a lobbyist as their party leader. Inevitably, their lobbying efforts collide with their duties as party leader. As it stands now, Ballard will find more support for his efforts from the Star's editorial board than his own party's leader.

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