Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Mayor's Office Employee Takes Job With ACS--Working On Parking Meters

I predicted when the Ballard administration awarded its one-sided parking meter privatization deal to ACS, a politically-connected company that is represented by Barnes & Thornburg, we could expect to see officials of the Ballard administration land jobs with the private contractor. Sure enough, a employee from the mayor's own office has taken a job with ACS. As reported by the Urban Times, Mayor Greg Ballard's neighborhood liaison for the Downtown Center East Region, Tonja Beeler, has taken a job with ACS. "Beeler is now working with ACS as an analyst in the ParkIndy program to upgrade the city's parking meter system," the Urban Times reported in the March edition. As Ballard's neighborhood liaison, Beeler fielded questions and promoted the parking meter deal to residents affected by the parking meter deal in the eastern downtown area while the administration was promoting the project last year. When I e-mailed Ballard's communications director Marc Lotter asking for confirmation of Beeler's new employment, he indicated he was forwarding my request to city legal because I was an attorney and he wasn't familiar with my publication. Nice. As if I don't know he and other members of his press staff read this blog regularly.

The Ballard administration recently announced ACS would begin installing new electronic meters this month. During the first phase, 1,250 meters in downtown and Broad Ripple are expected to be replaced by the end of march with single-space meter heads. Rates will jump from .75 cents an hour to $1.00 an hour as of March 28 and metered hours will be extended from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., along with meter enforcement on Saturdays. The initial single-space meter heads will be replaced later this year with multi-space boxes. Rates will increase again in January to $1.50 an hour, resulting in a doubling of the rates in a period of less than one year. Meter enforcement in the areas outside the heart of downtown and Broad Ripple will be enforced from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. All 3,600 metered spaces will be enforced with the new parking meters by year's end.

The Ballard administration claims the 50-year deal with ACS will net the City between $363 to $600 million over the life of the lease agreement, including a $20 million upfront payment. However, other municipalities have installed similar electronic meters as those being installed by ACS for a few million dollars without turning over 50-years' worth of profits to a private contractor, allowing those cities to reap all of the enhanced revenue benefits from having electronic meters. Any revenues derived by the city from the deal will not be enjoyed city-wide because those revenues will be dedicated to projects within downtown and Broad Ripple, even though those areas of the city are already siphoning off hundreds of millions of dollars in property tax revenues from TIF districts.


Bradley said...

Marc Lotter will probably lie to you out of both sides of his mouth, anyways. While he was at DWD, he was adept at stretching the truth -- even lying about the Unemployment Modernization program by saying it is an ongoing process; he also lied about the costs. In reality, DWD contracted with Haverstick to be completed in April 2008 at a cost of $23.9 million, period, with no additional costs to the state. Now DWD is paying Haverstick over $35.8 million and the modernization is still not completed. That's not an ongoing project as Marc said -- that's a bungled job that's costing a lot of money. Lotter lied.

So I imagine he and the others check the blogs like yours regularly for people like me who speak-out against all the people who speak against their company line and people like you who do the same. I know DWD likes to follow what I say online because one time one of them attacked what they thought was me on the Star's website (it was a friend of mine) by stating both my name and why they thought I was fired from DWD and that I needed to get a life (fair enough, maybe I do!) They also accused me of spreading lies online, which is a lie because I back-up my information with facts. They do not when they talk.

So good luck getting any information from Governor Daniels' former press guy Marc Lotter (who earned over $81,000 from the state at DWD and now earns about $95,000 under Ballard) about an improper relationship between an employee and a contractor who has failed Indiana taxpayers in many ways and who has connections with a major law firm that runs Indianapolis and...well that paragraph could go on quite a while.

And hello to Marc as he reads this; tell your friends at DWD my friends and I are not through exposing DWD's billions (of dollars) of problems.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Lotter makes $95K? Why in the world would the city pay a press person $95K? That is completely unnecessary. You could go around to the PR firm around the city and pick a ton of quallity press people who would do it for half the price.

Advance Indiana said...

It's absurd how many people work in the mayor's press office. Add to that the fact that each city agency thinks they have to have their own press person. It's just a way of handing out patronage jobs to political hacks.

Julie K. said...

Bradley...very interested in your comments! Are you a former DWD employee? If so, I would like to speak with you ASAP! I'm a journalist, and a former DWD employee (very recent, very short stint), and I have many questions - working a story related to UI program in Indiana, and a possible link between Indiana's debt to Feds, and the LOW quality of UI claim adjudication. Please contact me!


Julie K. said...

Bradley! Please contact me RE: DWD issues!