Sunday, March 16, 2008

An Appointment That Should Have Never Happened

I had the opportunity to speak to Mayor Ballard on election night about a number of issues. It was a very pleasant conversation despite some of the differences I've had with some of his appointments. Perhaps no appointment is more disturbing to me, though, than the one he officially announced this weekend to head up his abandoned home initiative. A couple of weeks ago Public Safety Director Scott Newman nearly let the name of this appointee slip out during the Mayor's press conference on the reorganized police department before Mayor Ballard stopped him. Newman tipped us off, however, that the appointee would be a female police officer. Immediately, speculation began circulating that it was Sherron Franklin. Ballard confirmed she was his choice during my conversation with him Tuesday night. I didn't tell him what I thought of his choice, although if he's read my blog in the past he knows I'm not real fond of Franklin. It upset me so much I couldn't even bring myself to write about it before now.

WIBC's John Strauss discussed the appointment during his Sunday morning talk show today, indicating that Ballard had announced it during a MCANA meeting this weekend. I've spoken to a couple of neighborhood leaders who are furious with the appointment. Franklin, a one term councilor, is not known for her diplomacy. In fact, she has a history of being extremely rude and unprofessional to constituents and others with whom she disagrees. She infuriated Indianapolis' GLBT community with her homobigoted views in opposing the Human Rights Ordinance. Franklin scored points with some Republican council members like fellow police officer Lincoln Plowman by voting against the police merger ordinance. She was the only Democratic councilor who was regularly touted over at the now-defunct IndyUndercover blog, which a police affidavit proved was moderated by radio talk show host Abdul Hakim-Shabazz. The blog endorsed her re-election to the council last year. People are still wondering who in the police department leaked the identity of a confidential police informant in last year's rash of arson cases on the city's southeastside, which the IndyUndercover blog disclosed, placing the pregnant female informant's life in danger. Franklin headed up the investigation as an arson investigator and publicly complained that the prosecutor's office wouldn't charge the man she claimed committed the arsons.

The abandoned housing problem is a big problem facing this city. Some estimate there are now more than 10,000 abandoned homes in the city in the wake of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. I'm very pleased that Mayor Ballard is affording the problem a higher priority than his predecessor, but with all due respect Mayor Ballard, Sherron Franklin is the wrong person to do this job. This new position our mayor is creating will be a very difficult job involving a lot of complicated legal and political issues. Franklin is ill-suited to deal with the public, let alone the bureaucratic, legal red-tape she will have to confront in this job. This job is just too important to turn it over to someone who has such a poor record of performance in dealing with the public.

UPDATE: The Star's Robert Annis has a report on the appointment today. He writes:

Ballard told attendees at Saturday's Marion County Alliance of Neighborhood Associations meeting that Franklin would "wake up every day thinking about abandoned homes" . . .

I learned a long time ago to get the right person," Ballard said Saturday. "Don't be in a hurry, just get the right person."

Ballard spokesman Marcus Barlow said Franklin's focus on abandoned houses during her term on the City-County Council and her experience dealing with residents as a police officer made her the ideal candidate for the role. Franklin remains with IMPD, but her full-time duties will revolve around the abandoned homes initiative.

Franklin, who was offered the position two weeks ago, is working with Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams on the project, Barlow said. Her salary will remain the same.

Sorry, Mayor Ballard, she is not the "right person." And doesn't this sound familiar: "Franklin did not immediately respond to telephone messages left for her."


Anonymous said...

Ballard is making a pattern of appointing blacks with little or no college and few credentials, while ignoring those who do and those who supported him publicly.

Sherron smacked on "bubble gum" for 4 years during the council tacky and is very immature.

Ballard is a great disappointment and he lied when he said he was going to hire the best people for the job! Most of these appointments also have conflicts...they can't be the best because thousands of others have college education and lack conflicts and can speak properly.

What gives with this mayor, hiring people who cannot even speak properly or comprehend very well? Between her an Olgin Williams, my GOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I made my feelings known regarding this appointment to MCANA President Cathy Burton last week and have yet to receive a reply from here.
When Ballard appointed Olgen Williams in charge of Neighborhoods it came as no surprise that he has appointed Franklin as his new Abandoned Houses Czar.
We'll see just how serious Ballard is when a couple of abandoned houses get painted Detroit Orange and the next Indianapolis Abandoned Homes Tour sign has his name on it this time instead of Peterson's.
Ballard must have owed Franklin more than what's making it into the blogs but in time we'll know how she got the position. The woman has absolutely no training or experience in dealing with what is probably the most serious problam facing our city's inner neighborhoods.
Just for the record, there ARE white people that still live in these neighborhoods and some of us have sunk a lot cash in our homes only to be pissed on because our skin isn't the right color.
Mayor Ballard can take his appointment and stick it straight up his ass and twist it.
We'll see just how long Franklin can keep her political payoff of a job.
If Franklin gets in the face of the white folks in my neighborhood over abandoned houses she'll wish to hell she was back on that fluff arson job she's left. We won't put up with her attitude.
What a damn disgrace.

Anonymous said...

I take it the appointments of Plowman and Franklin confirm the Ballard administration is blocking the criminal investigation the police department had undertaken from going forward. Congrats on the free pass, Abdul.

Anonymous said...

This appointment was based 100% on race and I'm not real happy about it.
In case Ballard hasn't noticed, Marion County is nearly 70% white and some even have college degrees and the experience to handle the job he just gave a away to an idiot.
Looks like the Concerned Clergy are going to get their $50 million that Bart wouldn't give them.
Odd, but I thought Franklin lived in Lawrence.

Anonymous said...

The Mayor sure kept this real quiet. Not a word from the Star.
How can the man possibly justify this appointment other than pandering to the whims of the black community.
I'm sorry, this is a race based appointment and the neighborhoods will continue to go to hell while a few blacks put taxpayer cash in their pockets.

Anonymous said...

We want to know from Mr. Ballard exactly why this appointment took place.
We also want to know what her qualifications are for this position and what plan Ballard has for dealing with this problem.
Our gut tells us that a whole lot of cash is going to be flowing into the hands of the Ghetto Mafia once again.

Vox Populi said...

Why didn't you tell the mayor what you thought, rather than grip and grin then come write about it later. Let him know in person!

For the record, I think Franklin was the worst Democrat on the council behind Monroe Gray.

Gary R. Welsh said...

Because I didn't want to ruin a pleasant conversation, Vox Populi. It was an election night party. I didn't feel it appropriate to use the time to complain. I was more interested in talking to him about the outcome of the legislative session at that point.

Unknown said...

Ballard chose Franklin because she is political chattel and 'perfect' for the job. The R's like her because of her disloyalty to Democratic values and the black community forgives her because she's one of their own and she wraps it in a cloak of religious lip-service. Plus it won't cost Ballard's budget a dime beyond her salary because she is incompetent. He's betting that not too many will complain because Franklin's 'one of theirs'. And if they do, he can say he appointed a can-do public safety person to win the 'War on Abandoned Homes'. He had to appoint someone otherwise he would be called unresponsive.
It was a very calculated appointment - proving that our 'non-political' accidental mayor knows how to duck and weave.
So watch out for more non-action!

Short Stop said...


Short Stop said...

Ballard claims to be color blind, but these appointments say different and he's picking blacks who don't possess the education or communications skills necessary for these positions. He's actually pissing off blacks and whites.

Ballard needs to realize that color 'does' matter and that whoever is evaluating and approving these black candidates over other candidates is either not too familiar with blacks; unqualifed to screen, evaluate and select candidates; or is intentionally seeking these type of blacks to exploit or hood-wink the Ballard administration.

Either way, Ballard is responsible for this and he needs to seek outside advice on how to critique black candidates. It's obvious the city spent no money nor effort to attract and locate quality candidates, there are many, black and white. Ballards needs to reassign these candidates to better suited positions, definitely 'assistants' to somebody. I don't know what planet he's been living on, but blacks have come a long way baby, and this is an insult to the discipline and initative of other better-qualified blacks. It tells black children that an education and proper diction is not necessary today and not even desirable if you're black and want to work for the Ballard Administration.

This is very harmful and race relations will continue to deteriorate in this city until it becomes a GHETTO!

Remember, Ballard is used to living within large communities of people who live at subsistance level (the military) and he's used to seeing families come and go and he could give a dam about our selling our nice homes and moving away. He'd be happy to have our city filled with poorly-educated immigrants and blacks instead who call him Mayor instead of Lt. Colonel. He's forgetting something though: This is not the military and we are not under martial law; we can sue. We have a right to open government, to participate and be treated fairly and to not have our tax dollars wasted on incompetent appointees.

This administration will be rife with discrimination lawsuits from both blacks and whites and possible those over 40's since I'm sure Ballards is age blind.

The law firms will make a killing defending the City of Indianapolis.

May God help us all, what have we done?!!!!

CircleCityScribe said...

Speaking of appointments that never should have happened:

-Why is Greeson still our Fire Chief???

**This is the guy who permitted the Monroe Gray Ghost Employment. When media reported that Gray's job description required him to provide regular reports to the Fire Chief, there was no work product and the Fire Chief said those were unaccounted "oral reports." Greeson is also the reason the city had to settle a frivilous EEO law suit for six figures, after he called a member of the public a "bull-dyke" while in uniform at an official city function.

Greeson should have been ousted at 12:01 a.m. on Jan 1, 2008 as Mayor Ballard's first official act!

Unknown said...

Geez, fella relax...Olgen may not be your cup of tea; He may not be the best public speaker, but he's a smart man who has stepped up as a leader in his community, and as a leader of a successful community center in Haughville for several years, Christamore House. Check the stats. He may not be the most polished but he is well respected in community development circles. Your mayor is not very polished either, so there you go. Maybe that is why Ballard appointed him, not for some black agenda. Maybe Ballard is not politics as usual and is an "everyman." So, he hires people with whom he can relate.

Why are you so damn insecure, Anonymous? I'm all for free speech and not being "p.c." but your comments are rather silly. If you feel so strongly against black people who dont meet your standards, step up and own it! Be a man or woman and own it, not hide behind a keyboard. Very disappointing. Instead of a real dialogue, you folks on this blog reduce everything to race. f