Saturday, May 02, 2015

Public Access Counselor Walks Back Approval Of Electric Car Lease Redactions

A red-faced Public Access Counselor had to walk back initial approval he gave to Indianapolis officials to redact large parts of the controversial 7-year, $32 million electric car lease agreement between the City of Indianapolis' Department of Public Works and Vision Fleet. The company agreed to allow a release of the entire contract despite its claims it contained protected trade secrets after an explosive meeting of the Public Safety & Criminal Justice Committee earlier this week. Anyone with any knowledge of the law would laugh at the suggestion any of the information contained in the contract was protected from disclosure, except the City of Indianapolis' corporation counsel's office and Luke Britt, the state's Public Access Counselor.

In an interview with the Star following the release of the full contract, Britt admits agreeing with city officials that parts of the contract he considered to contain "trade secrets and financial information" could be withheld from public disclosure, but he had to acknowledge the city redacted more than what he believed fell within state law exceptions. For example, even the contact information for Vision Fleet was redacted. Britt says he wouldn't have signed off on something like that. Yet he continued to maintain that the formula the contract provided for calculating the amounts paid by the city to lease the vehicles was a trade secret. Where did this guy go to law school? The Corporation Counsel's Andrew Seiwert attributed the over-redacting to "human error," while Samantha DeWester defended the redactions as being "done under the letter of the law."

DPW's Director Jeremiah Shirk complained that council members were offered an opportunity to view the full version of the contract as long as they signed a confidentiality/non-disclosure agreement, which several refused to do, including Councilor Joe Simpson since it involved the expenditure of taxpayer money. The Star still seems disinterested in the folks behind this shady deal. I guess that's their way of saying, "Nothing to see here folks, move along." That's pretty much the tact the newspaper takes on every major public corruption scandal other than the ones they manufacture and spin to the public for ulterior motives other than the public good. As a sense of what The Star considers newsworthy, its top 5 picks of the day for its readers are stories involving:
  • The Colts NFL draft choices;
  • Coed Hannah Wilson's alleged killer's violent past;
  • A college basketball story about Purdue and IU;
  • A look at a mansion owned by radio personality Bill Shirk that is for sale; and
  • A happy story about a new state law that will allow microbreweries to sell more beer.


Anonymous said...

What an embarrassment to the Pence administration.

This Britt makes Pence look dirty.

Pence should fire Britt, immediately, and jettison this baggage well in advance of his reelection.

Anonymous said...

I am a Republican who has never been a fan of Aaron Freeman's allegiance to the corrupt David Brooks and Co. but I have to give the guy credit in his performance at the 4/29 Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee of the Indianapolis City-County Council. Freeman proved his mayor and the "public access" people to be the liars we overtaxed Marion County residents have known for quite some time.

Jian Xin said...

once this mess, what place