Wednesday, March 28, 2012

City-County Council May Vote Against Ballard's Reappointment of Straub

Public Safety Director Frank Straub has been a flashpoint for controversy since Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard named the New Yorker to the post following Scott Newman's abrupt and unexpected departure from the position in November, 2009. Now that the Democrats are in control of the council, it appears support for his reappointment may be in doubt, and it's not just Democratic councilors who are threatening to vote against him. WTHR reports:

Indianapolis, and now he faces a possible no-confidence vote.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub's re-appointment goes before a City-County Council committee Wednesday. It's expected to move to the full council in early April.
Reappointment of the mayor's deputy directors and department heads is usually a routine rubber-stamping, but not this time.
For the first time in more than 25 years, chances are good this mayoral appointment will receive a "no vote of confidence."
Last year, Straub was approved by the Republican majority on a 16-13 vote. This year he faces opposition from both sides of the aisle.
Democrat Mary Moriarity Adams said, "There's a great deal of frustration with Straub and his management of IMPD."
"It's not so much about the changes he's made within IMPD but the spending in his budget," she explained.
Adams, who's spent time sifting through public safety's budget, points to the $15 million deficit.
"Yet we have a contract with Emmis Communications for $50,000 to improve the image of IMPD. I guess that calls into question whether we're spending money in the proper fashion if we don't actually have money," she said.
Adams also wonders why administrative salaries for staff went from $204,000 a year under previous director Scott Newman to $471,000 under Straub.
"That's over a 50-percent increase in just salaries," she said, noting that Newman made nearly $98,000 his last year on the job while Straub has a base salary of $125,000.
The mayor, by comparison, makes $95,000.
Republican Aaron Freeman, who reluctantly backed Straub last year, says he won't be doing so this year. He noted it will be his "first disagreement with the mayor."
Freeman said he hasn't seen Straub deliver on the changes promised. He said many of his Republican colleagues feel the same way.
Democrat Monroe Gray is one of the councilors speaking on Straub's behalf.
Gray said, "I'm supportive because he's done a good job... one of the best things is reorganization... he derailed the good ole boy system and put people in places where they need to be because of merit."
Gray noted anytime "you try to change tradition, you face resistance." . . .
It looks like there may be at least three Republican councilors who will vote against Straub's reappointment. Gray's support of Straub is perplexing. The Mayor's office tells WTHR that Straub will remain in the position regardless of how the council votes. I'm not sure why council approval of mayoral appointees is required if it's vote is non-binding. The council, of course, could simply pull funding for Straub's position out of Public Safety's budget if the mayor refuses to get rid of him if the council fails to reappoint him to the post.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Even if Mayor Ballard opposes the Council vote, I doubt very much that the Council will block Straub's position out of the budget

Indy4u2c said...

Mismanagment of the budget, outright lies and falsifications, increasing the personal staff like this is New York, instead of hiring police he hires east coast cronies, canceling all outside training for police, failing to pay utility bills, using race-based promotions of incompetents (someone ask IDI about that Downtown commander), remodeling his office at a cost of more than most homes in our city....and how does he justify that shower he had built in his office?

Cronyism just doesn't work.

Jedna Vira said...

Straub's management of the police department is even worse than his management of the budget. His management by "crime" numbers approach called CompStat, is a dangerous management style. Read the book "The Crime Numbers Game: Management by Manipulation" if you don't believe me.