Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sen. Mike Young Sponsors Power Grab Bill For Mayor Greg Ballard

Mayor Greg Ballard could not have chosen a better legislator to carry a bill to which the worst of motives could be ascribed. State Sen. Mike Young's SB 621 can only be described as a power-grabbing effort on behalf of Mayor Ballard. Let's see, where to begin.
  • It eliminates the four at-large city-county council members who are all currently Democratic members.
  • It strips the Democratic-controlled county commisioners of the right to appoint two members to the Metropolitan Development Commission and gives those appointments to the mayor, who will now get to pick 6 of the 9 members.
  • It removes the city-county council's power to approve the mayor's appointment of directors and deputy directors of city agencies.
  • It makes an exception in the payment-in-lieu of taxes (PILOT) statute for the Capital Improvement Board, which operates the Lucas Oil Stadium and Banker's Life Fieldhouse on which no property taxes are paid even though the facilities are used 100% for the benefit of billionaire sports team owners rent-free.
  • It expands the mayor's veto power to include the power to reduce or modify separate items in an appropriations ordinance as opposed to vetoing them. Apparently the council will simply assume an advisory role in crafting a budget; the mayor will now be able to do whatever he wants with the budget.
  • It gives the city controller more power over the budgets of elected county officials.
  • It reduces the residency requirement for a candidate for mayor from 5 years to 2 years. They must have someone living in Carmel waiting in the wings to swoop down and run for mayor in the future.
  • It reduces the residency requirement for city council candidates from 2 years to 1 year.
  • It requires the clerk of court to make available for public inspection the method and process of selecting a panel of judges who are empaneled to review the drawing of the boundaries of city-county council districts.
  • It reduces the size of township boards from 7 to 5 members.
  • It requires absentee ballots in Marion, Lake and Allen Counties to be counted at a central location unless the county elections board unanimously approves a resolution allowing them to be counted at individual precincts as is currently the practice.
Be careful what you ask for. There's no assurance a Republican will be elected mayor in 2015, and there's even less assurance that the elimination of the four at-large council districts will ensure the election of a Republican-controlled council. With all the investigations underway by the Justice Department task force, the political landscape could change considerably by the year 2015.


Had Enough Indy? said...

It also shortens early voting for everyone except military to the Saturday before the election to noon the day before. This is a naked attempt to minimize D turnout and maximize R military voters.

It may be that one more at-large election would be held it the bill went through as written. That might negate any shift in control of the Council.

Its too bad the Council has chosen not to be an independent body representing the people, as it is harder to gather any energy to fight the bill.

Citizen Kane said...

These guys are not timid. Why don't they get it over with and just draft a bill that anoints Ballard Mayor for Life / Supreme dictator.

Mary Roger Bowser said...

Why do township boards even exist in a county in which the entire county is a city (except for the separate towns)?
What is the use, except taking more tax dollars from the people?