Sunday, December 13, 2009

Council Leadership Races Shaping Up

When the Republicans caucus to pick their leadership tomorrow night, it looks like there could be several contested races. Vice President Ryan Vaughn, a lobbyist/attorney for Barnes & Thornburg, will seek to oust veteran President Robert Cockrum. If Vaughn is successful, Barnes & Thornburg will solidify their hold over the Republican-controlled council. As CCC President, Vaughn would also get a seat on the Capital Improvement Board, which will ensure that his law firm will continue to have a say in the affairs of the CIB. Robert Grand, manager of Barnes & Thornburg's Indianapolis office, created controversy when Mayor Ballard appointed him to serve as President of the CIB because of the firm's representation of the Indiana Pacers and the team's owners, the Simon family. Grand recently stepped down from the CIB to make way for new Ballard appointees. Vaughn, you may recall, sought appointment to the senate seat vacated by Sen. Teresa Lubbers earlier this year but was defeated by Scott Schneider, a former City-County Councilor.

There is a race to replace Vaughn as council vice-president between Marilyn Pfisterer and Robert Lutz. I'm also hearing that Mike McQuillen is challenging Lincoln Plowman for the Majority Leader's spot. Kent Smith, who was ousted by Vaughn as the Council's vice-president, is running unopposed for Majority Whip.

In other city news, the word on the street is that Mayor Ballard will name out-of-towner Frank Straub as the Public Safety Director this week. Straub has been in charge of the White Plains, New York police department until recently when he resigned over a dispute with the city council. Straub will reportedly receive a 2-year contract and be hiring his own chief for IMPD, who will also come from the outside. Current IMPD chief, Mike Spears, had vied for the Public Safety Director's job, along with interim director Mark Renner and veteran Captain Darryl Pierce. Race-baiting radio talk show host Amos Brown has already served notice to the Ballard administration that Straub's appointment will not be welcomed in the African-American community because he comes from a lily white, suburban city.

6 comments:

msmith66 said...

Straub seems like a good guy. I'm impressed with his education and experience in law enforcement. It's time we look outside the departments for leadership to try to stem some of the corruption and culture that has existed for decades.

I suppose we'll know how how good the pick is by the reaction from IMPD. I would think they are already forming battle lines. We'll have to see how much power the mayor actually gives the position. Hopefully he won't be run out of town by the power bases that exist.

Paul K. Ogden said...

I'm not sure running Mayor Ballard out of town is a bad thing, Msmiith66. It would be tough for anyone to do any worse than Ballard has these last two years.

msmith66 said...

Well, just to be clear, I was talking about IMPD and the local power structures running Straub out of town. Ballard has certainly been a disappointment. This may be one of the more important decisions he will make - certainly for public safety.

msmith66 said...

I wanted to mention this also - a week ago Friday night, Fox59 news reported that Straub had been selected. There were no subsequent reports in any other media and no story on 59's website. Did anyone else catch this?

Advance Indiana said...

Ballard claimed he hadn't made a decision yet when he was on Garrison's show this past week.

Concerned Taxpayer said...

Well, Vaughn is now P. Does that mean that Barnes & Thornburg now control the entire city?