Sunday, December 23, 2007

Library Board Vote On CEO Illegal

Advance Indiana told you about it a month ago, and the Star's Matt Tully finally got around to reporting on it today. Tully confirm that board member Peter Pizarro, who participated in a divided vote to select Laura Bramble as the new library CEO last month, had in fact moved to Ohio months earlier. Tully writes:

The latest evidence of that came out of a Library Board meeting earlier this month, when new board member Elsa Kramer asked for a statement to be read into the record. Kramer was concerned that board member Peter Pizarro had participated in a Nov. 15 vote to hire Laura Bramble as the library's chief executive.

The problem? Pizarro, who has since left the Library Board, "was no longer a resident of the library district as of at least Sept. 1," Kramer said.

While other board members kept quiet, it's hard to imagine they didn't know something was up. After all, Pizarro hadn't attended the board's September or October meetings. But he showed up in November to vote for Bramble, board President Louis Mahern's choice for CEO.

Mahern said he'd heard rumblings about Pizarro's residency before the vote. He said Pizarro told him his family had moved to Ohio, where Pizarro has a new job, but that Pizarro was sleeping at a friend's house in Indianapolis, "tying up some loose ends."

Here are a few points to consider before deciding whether that is a credible scenario:
Pizarro sold his Indianapolis home this summer. In an Aug. 1 sales disclosure form signed "under penalties of perjury," he listed his residence as Mansfield, Ohio.

The list of real estate transactions in the Sept. 23 edition of the Mansfield News Journal included Pizarro's purchase of a home in Ohio.

Pizarro, a prominent Republican who ran for City-County Council in 2003, did not vote in the hotly contested Nov. 6 Marion County elections.

The dishonorable Pizarro refused to return Tully's calls seeking clarification on his residency, and the circumstantial evidence Pizarro moved to the State of Ohio is indisputable. "The vote for Bramble as CEO was 4-2," Tully notes. As he explains, "Pizarro's replacement, Kramer, would have voted for another candidate, Jackie Nytes." "That could have resulted in a tie, making clear the importance of Pizarro's vote." The fact is that Louis Mahern, the Board's chairman, did not want Nytes to get the job and he stopped at nothing, including violating the Board's own bylaws, to make sure she didn't get the job. For his transgression, Mahern should be forced to immediately resign his seat on the Board.

Tully's article asks no questions of the Board's legal counsel in this breach of the public trust. Marion County taxpayers have paid millions in recent years to the law firm of Greg Hahn, Tabbert Hahn, to serve as counsel to the library board. It is the job of the Board's legal counsel to make sure the Board follows the law and, most certainly, its own bylaws. As I reported last month, Marion County Assessor Greg Bowes, arguing on behalf of the County Commissioners to replace Pizarro with the Commissioners' new appointee, Elsa Kramer, provided evidence before the vote that Pizarro's term on the Board had already expired. Neither Mahern nor its legal counsel were moved by the evidence Bowes tendered to the Board. As one of his first duties as Mayor, Mayor-elect Ballard should replace both Mahern and the Board's law firm. They have breached the public's trust and should suffer the consequences.


Anonymous said...

This the way the Mahern family operates.......we dont need one in the legislature now.....Dane Mahern is toast.

Wilson46201 said...

You forgot to mention that Pizarro is one of yours: a Republican appointee...

Anonymous said...

You and Tully forgot to mention that the new CEO Laura Bramble is a long time and trustworthy library employee. Well deserving of her leadership role. Maybe that is why they voted her in. Imagine that.

The same cannot be said of Ms. Nytes. Don't forget that she worked for the library in a leadership role at the very time that the recent problems faced by library originated. She should get credit for her involvement with the genesis of that fiasco. She also sat silently by while the Council careened wildly off course. A partisan hack if ever there was one. Not at all what the troubled library needs.

Maybe there could have been a better CEO candidate than Ms. Bramble, but Ms. Nytes was definitely not it.

Anonymous said...

You obviously dont know Jackie Nytes. There probably is no less partisan person on the council than Nytes....Mahern is the problem.

Gary R. Welsh said...

This isn't about whether Jackie Nytes should have been the Library's CEO. It is about the rule of law. It is bad enough that we allow an unelected board to make a decision to build a $150 million palace and tax us into servitude to pay for it. It is simply unacceptable that a person who doesn't even live in the city is allowed to make decisions as a board member on matters which will affect the taxpayers for many years to come.

Anonymous said...

Good God, Wilson,, it makes no difference which party Pizarro is. He established an Ohio legal residence, by any reasonable definition, months before the vote.

The County Commissioners in Marion County, by statute, since Unigov, are: County Assessor Greg Bowes, County Auditor Billie Breaux, and County Treasurer Greg Rodman. Their legal entity appointed Pizarro, they wanted another to serve in his place, and they had another appointee ready to serve.

Louie Mahern disagreed. He unilaterally allowed Peter to remain on the board for that single meeting. Whom Peter voted for, is really not at issue. Every vote he made that night was improper. I've watched many library baord meetings on Ch. 16, and I doubt Mr. Pizarro, judging by past performances, had any difficulty joining Mr. Mahern iin this subversion of the commissioners' will. He really liked the sound of his own voice--a lot.

Louie Mahern subverted statutes and intent of the commissioners.

This is how the Maherns operate.

Ask anyone who knows them, and they'll tell you, Louie is probably the smartest Mahern. Brian is not slouch, but, to be fair, Dane is, well...not the brightest bulb in the chandlier. And THIS is who we are going to send to the legislature to replace the vaunted and honorable Rep. Day?

Lord help us.

I care not whether Ms. Bramble is as smart and able as Ms. Nytes. It's immaterial. I just know I'm smart enough to feel hoodwinked yet again by yet another Mahern, and I feel like I need a mental shower, again.

Off with their heads.

Anonymous said...

Right, sure this is not about Ms. Nytes being the CEO.

That was almost believable.

Anon 3:40 at the last Council meeting of the year, I watched as Nytes spoke against an amendment that would have ensured that all of the IMPD officers received their pay before the end of the year as outlined in their contract. Accordingly, Nytes voted against it.

When there was a motion for reconsideration of the same amendment, she then voted for it- without comment or explanation.

I guess if one can manage to vote both ways on the same proposal in the same night that qualifies as non-partisan. I would have to concede that Nytes by that measure is non-partisan, if somewhat indecisive.

How about an expose on Ms. Nytes tenure at the library? Sounds like a good next investigative project for Advance Indiana. Who knows what you might find with a little digging.

Anonymous said...

If you want to do some digging, dig around the Maherns. It wont take long to find something.

Anonymous said...

What you will find with the Maherns is a family that has been long committed to public service, both inside and outside electoral politics. Many times taking on righteous but controversial issues long before anyone else is willing to jump on the bandwagon.

They also work hard and win elections. Two did so this last fall, when other Demos were losing in droves. That is, those who ran in competitive districts. By the way did Ms. Nytes even have an opponent for Council?

Unfortunately, this city has recently seen a bunch of johnny-come-latelies to Marion County Demo politics who think the way you win elections is with lotsa money and slick campaigns commercials. We saw that worked real well this last election cycle.

Funny you don't see the Mayor grousing over his loss, yet Ms. Nytes' flunkies can't seem to put her lost bid for library CEO in the past. Ms. Nytes should do the right thing and publicly call for an end to all this stuff. Laura Bramble is a fine CEO and the city has so many more important things for Tully to write about. Sad, really.

Anonymous said...

I know Jackie well. I have admired her work on gay rights issues. She has been a true friend to this progressive cause. I also know that she personally really understands the impact this issue has on people lives. However, I am disappointed in the inability to move forward and put the whole library CEO thing behind. We need her on the Council to press for more gay rights. If she had become CEO could she have stayed on the Council to continue the good work? Losing is never easy, but maybe this is for the best afterall.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Again, this has nothing to do with Jackie Nytes. It has everything to do with the rule of law. The people in charge of that library board knew Pizarro no longer lived in Indianapolis. They knew our elected county commissioners had named his replacement and that, even if he hadn't moved out of the district, it appeared his term on the board expired. Nonetheless, the board refused to seat Ms. Kramer and allowed Pizarro to participate as a board member knowing he was ineligible to serve.

Anonymous said...

If Dane Mahern is so committed to public service, why did he start running for State Representative before his victory for city council was even officially certified?

If Louie Mahern is so committed to public service why did he knowingly subvert the law and let an Ohio citizen remain on the library board until he completed a vote he wished to manipulate. The man had lived in Ohio for months.

If Eddie Mahern is so devoted to public service, why did he lose for state rep in an overwhelmingly Democratic district? Sounds like he wasn't serving his constituents?

Why did Dane Mahern break the tie in the Democratic caucus by voting for Monroe Gray and foisting that crooked uneducated fool on us for president of the council?

Anonymous said...

This has everything to do with Ms. Nytes and nothing to do with the Maherns. There were two other individuals who voted for Ms. Bramble besides Mr. Pizzario and Mr. Mahern. Why is there nothing said of their actions and motivations. The sad fact is that Ms. Nytes simply lost out to a qualified and worthy candidate in Ms. Bramble. Ms. Nytes and her friends need to move on or risk continuing to look like sore losers. One other thing, if Mr. Pizzario moved months before as alleged, why didn't the County Commissioners replace him months earlier?

Anonymous said...

This vote is not anything but politic as usual in Indianapolis.
Remember when the councilman resigned his post because he did not live in the distinct he represented? His vote stood on the Marion county income tax increase. Then all of sudden his name was replaced by Carson on the election ballet AFTER the filing date. I even ask a few high ranking republicans about this and I was told “not to worry about it”. You can read more of local goverment at

Anonymous said...

Didn't Jackie also lose for Auditor a few years ago. Maybe you should check to make sure there weren't any improprieties in that race. For all we know, she has actually been Auditor this whole time. Quick before we lose anymore time. Interesting, if that is the case she could not have voted to nominate herself for the CEO anyway. Ah, what a tangled web.

Anonymous said...

I, for one, feel sorry for Jackie. Can you put a link on your site where people can make a donation via paypal? She may need some help paying the light bill on her 7500 sq. ft. million $ house on Washington Blvd. Cry me a river.

Anonymous said...

The difference is that Louie Mahern was the chair of the Library board that refused to seat the replacement that the county commissioners had selected. It was on him....he was the Chair...plain and simple...CROOK


Anonymous said...

As I recall a motion was made to seat Elsa Kramer and there was no second to the motion from any member of the Library Board. How is that one persons fault and not the whole boards fault. Maybe the board felt that Elsa Kramer could not be seated because at that time there was not an open seat. It appears that some politicians wanted to name the new CEO by replacing a board member who's term had not ended.

Anonymous said...

His term ended at the time he declared in legal papers that he was a legal resident of Ohio. Plain and much more obvious does that have to be???

Anonymous said...

I am neither a fan of the Maherns or Ms. Nytes. I am, however, a channel 16 junkie. I have watched multiple times the County Commissioners meeting and the library board meeting.

At the time that the County Commissioners voted to seat Kramer, they cited the end of Pazzaro term, which in point of fact had not occurred. Now, the rationale is apparently that his term ended early when he allegedly changed his residence to out of the county, which he did not.

Question: If in fact he had moved several months before the vote as they now claim, why didn't the County Commissioners simply vote to replace him in closer proximity to the time when he alleged changed his residence? The answer again is quite simple they couldn't have because he had not changed his residence out of the county and his term had not ended early.

I am sure there will be no end to additional interestingly creative (but ultimately no better) reasons to undermine the outcome. But neither these nor continued ad hominem attacks on Mr. Mahern or anyone else will change the fact that the library is in good hands with Ms. Bramble at the helm. Ms. Nytes needs to move on. Really.

If Ms. Nytes is sick of being on the Council, in the minority, and the County Commissioners are so committed to helping her do "something else", maybe one of them can just resign and arrange for her to take his/her place.

Bottom line. A public library is no place for partisan politics. Period.