Wednesday, August 27, 2014

City Council Members Lobbying Police Officers For Support Of Public Safety Tax Increase At IMPD Roll Calls

Advance Indiana has fielded numerous complaints from police officers and other concerned citizens that rank-and-file IMPD officers are being forced to listen to City-County Councilors make political speeches to them urging support of Mayor Ballard's public safety tax increase proposal at their district roll call meetings. Police officers were given no choice other than to sit and listen to the political speeches. Police officers tell Advance Indiana that it is unprecedented that political speeches in support of a particular legislative proposal are made on duty during official department meetings. Historically, such political speeches are only permitted at the FOP lodge on Shelby Street during FOP meetings while officers are not on duty. The City's ethics code bars city employees, appointees and council members from using city resources to engage in political activities, or from engaging in political activities while on city time. Some believe the actions of the councilors violates the spirit, if not the letter of the city's ethics code.

This comes within a week of IMPD's media affairs office allowing Councilor Leroy Robinson to send a department-wide e-mail using Sgt. Kendale Adams' e-mail account to members of the police department defending his and other councilors' actions in hanging "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" signs at the council members' desks during last Monday's city-county council meeting where the full council had a remembrance of the tenth anniversary of the shooting death of Officer Jack Laird. Robinson boasted of his past support from the FOP in the department-wide e-mail. Robinson's e-mail set off heated reaction in follow-up e-mails from a number of police officers responding to Robinson's comments. On Monday, Chief Rick Hite sent an e-mail instructing IMPD personnel not to comment further on the matter using the department's e-mail system in response to the heated exchange generated by Robinson's e-mail.

Meanwhile, the Public Safety Committee voted 6-4 along party lines to raise the public safety local income tax from 0.35% to 0.50%. The current local income tax rate is 1.62%. This hike will take the new rate to 1.77%., an increase of about 9.2%. The tax hike will generate another $30 million supposedly for the purpose of hiring more police officers, even though we know that it a total lie. It is a bait-and-switch just like the last 65% increase in the local income tax for public safety back in 2007. That tax increase resulted in fewer, not more police officers despite Mayor Ballard's phony promise to make public safety job one. This tax will be needed to pay for proposed pay increases in future years for public safety officers and health care costs, as well as higher future annual layouts that will be required to pay for the proposed privatized criminal justice center, which is nothing more than a big kickback scheme for political insiders that guarantees multi-million dollar payoffs to them as a benefit of having our politicians in their back pockets. Except for Councilor Christine Scales, the Republican members only voted against the proposal because it didn't also include a hike in property taxes by eliminating the homestead property tax credit to fund the mayor's pre-K education initiative, which Scales correctly argues shouldn't be paid for with city tax dollars. This clowns can't even fund basic city services, and now they want to raise taxes to fund education expenses that are the responsibility of state government and local school districts, not city government.

UPDATE: It looks like Chief Hite sent a letter to council members advising them to use an alternative venue for giving their political speeches than IMPD roll calls.


Anonymous said...

Something is really corrupt here. The Mayor is causing emails to be sent in violation of Ethics ordinance and common sense, The Mayor is ordering City Employees to be INDOCTRINATED (see "Straubification") by City-County Councilors at the workplace into their political proposal to become law.

This appears to be the NY way...brought to us by "You Know Who"

frustrated public servant said...

Ok..sooo who were the councilman Gary?

Anonymous said...

no new taxes ever, just more services - what's not to like?

Anonymous said...

Rumor has it a few of the offending councilors were ones who should have known better-Marilyn Pfister, Jack Sandlin and Jeff Miller were at least three of the accused Anyone else feel free to chime in if these are the wrong folks and if there are more perps to be named.

Anonymous said...

This is Machine Politics at its worst. We are not NYC, we are NOT Chicago.

This is Indianapolis and we need to stand up and express our outrage at the Political Bosses who want to TAX AND SPEND!

frustrated public servant said...

I think before we all gety excited, we confirm who the councilman are. Not shocked with Sandlin,but lets get specific please.