Friday, February 04, 2011

Township Trustee Spends $10,000 Of Poor Relief Funds For Black Tie Gala

The primary mission of township trustees is to provide emergency poor relief assistance, but Clay Township Township Trustee Doug Callahan in Hamilton County used $10,000 of taxpayer money so he and his fellow board members and their guests could attend the $10,000 a table black tie gala for the grand opening of Carmel's ostentatious Palladium. The Star's Chris Sikich explains:

At a time when township government is under scrutiny in Indiana, the trustee and board members from a Hamilton County township used taxpayer money to buy a $10,000 table to the black-tie opening gala for Carmel's Palladium concert hall.
Clay Township Trustee Doug Callahan said the township considered the purchase a donation for Carmel's $126 million concert hall. He said he thinks taxpayers support government donations for the arts.
Clay Township, which includes the city of Carmel, gives about $200,000 in grants annually to nonprofits and community groups, Callahan said. "I know it's a big issue because everyone is going after township government right now" . . .
"People are throwing us to the dogs constantly, from the (Indiana) Chamber (of Commerce) to the media to the governor's office," Callahan said.

Sitting at their table for 10 at Saturday's extravaganza, Callahan and board members Mary Eckard, Paul Bolin, Matthew Snyder and guests were among the 1,000 people who were entertained by performers such as trumpeter Chris Botti, singers Cheyenne Jackson and Dionne Warwick and Grammy-nominated pianist Michael Feinstein.
Callahan and the trustee board members should each have to cough up the money to reimburse taxpayers for their expensive night of cocktails and dinner at the gala. There is absolutely no legitimate government purpose in them using government funds for their personal entertainment. Sikich's article mentions Mayor James Brainard purchased a $15,000 table at the gala for his family and friends for "personal reasons." Other city officials were given four tables to attend the lavish event. Carmel has already had to spend $2 million for the operating expenses of the Palladium this year because the funds weren't there to operate it. Hopefully, Indiana lawmakers will be wise enough to finally enact legislation to permanently do away with township governments so we can put a permanent end to the nonstop waste of our tax dollars by them.

UPDATE: State auditors will likely ask the township officials to repay the funds used for the gala according to a report from WRTV's Joanna Massee:

Deputy State Examiner Paul Joyce told 6News auditors would likely ask township officials to pay back the money used for the tickets.

"If it was me, I would rather reimburse that fund back prior to me coming in and telling you that you will now be charged for it," Joyce said.

Township funds are usually relied on for assisting the poor and fire protection.


Concerned Taxpayer said...

Almost as bad as Wayne Township in Marion County.
Weekly ads in all township newspapers advertising "free stuff" from the trustee. Cost - $$Thousands a month of TAXPAYER DOLLARS.
Uniforms for office staff! (As if clients didn't realize that the persons behind the counter were the employees!) Cost - $$Hundreds of TAXPAYERS DOLLARS.
Hiring campaign manager as "assistant trustee (ONLY ONE IN INDIANA!) Cost - $over $100,000 TAX DOLLARS a year.
Hiring ex-bosses son as "Media Relations Specialist!" For WHAT? (ONLY ONE IN INDIANA!) Cost - $over $100,000 TAX DOLLARS a year.
Business as usual!

Gary R. Welsh said...

And both the Wayne Township and Clay Township trustees are Republicans. They practice none of the principles of the Republican Party. I get criticized by Republicans for criticizing other Republicans, but I would just like for one elected Republican to occasionally practice what the party preaches.

Indy4U2C said...

Townships MUST be eliminated! They are foundations of political corruption and TAX & SPEND waste!

The township governments forget that the money that they tax is OUR money...EARNED. They instead waste on extravagant wasteful riches, that many of us cannot afford....

The WORST example is the Center Twp, Marion County:

A 16 MILLION Dollar Massachusetts AV facility is one of many the township owns...and why????

It owns parking lots and residential plots...It owns the corrupt Carson Center. This was a THREE MILLION DOLLAR deal that bought the former Standard Life Insurance building on Fall Creek Parkway and now houses a BAR with a negative reputation and known for shoot-outs!!!

It costs more to administer the corruption in Center Twp than the relief it gives....think that is a problem?

Who appointed township governments as landlords? Why does a township government house a bar known for its shoot-outs and neighborhood complaints?

Eliminate township government!

Pete Boggs said...

Township mis-trustee?

Wilson46201 said...

Those tickets were NOT bought with poor-relief funds. Every township has at least two separate funds: poor-relief & general. Spending on poor-relief is definitely limited to obvious poor-relief expenditures. The general fund may be used for cemeteries, libraries, meeting halls, golf-courses, Small Claims Courts or whatever the Township Board approves via the Budget.
I'll grant that the $10K table was politically unwise but it's not illegal.

Sara Wood said...

The Township Trustee form of government is archaic and stems from the Eliizabethan era of government which was transported to this county when it was first begun. It no longer is able to serve the purpose it was intended to serve, the Township Trustees have no way of knowing the poor in their community.
Untrue no one is trying to throw the Trustees to the dogs they are just trying to bring Indiana into the 21st century. Thanks Sara Wood