Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Coons To Give Up Perry Township Trustee's Job

Thanks to Sandra Chapman's hard-hitting, 13 Investigates piece on the City of Indianapolis rewarding Perry Township Trustee Gary Coons with the Public Safety Liaison job for driving the Perry Townshp Fire Department merger with IFD, Coons is giving up his township trustee's job. In a follow-up report, Chapman learned that the public liaison position did not exist prior to the fire department merger and was created with Coons in mind for the position. The City only advertised the position for five days before giving the $64,000 a year job to Coons. Coons intended to work both jobs full-time until Chapman broke the story. His Township Trustee's job pays $51,000 a year. In the aftermath of Chapman's report, Coons is now asking the Republican Party to pick a replacement for him as Perry Township Trustee, which is what should have happened in the first place. As a Republican, I find it troubling that our Republican-run city administration is using government jobs for what appears to be quid pro quos just like the Bart Peterson administration. We were promised a more ethical city government, and some of us expected that to happen.

Chapman also uncovered other township trustees in Marion County working other jobs. Washington Township's Frank Short works as a self-employed lobbyist, and is paid $45,000 a year to be township trustee. Warren Township's Jeff Bennett works as a part-time manager for the Indianapolis Housing Agency. Township trustees in Center, Decatur, Franklin, Wayne and Pike Townships work full-time. Russ Brown recently was appointed to take the place of Mike Hobbs in Lawrence Township. Hobbs worked full-time as that township's trustee. Chapman's report did not indicate whether Brown will continue his employment as an attorney in addition to his township trustee's duties.

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