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Conflicts of Interest

On Monday the full City-County Council will vote on whether to raise the County Option Income Tax to help pay for public safety; raises for police and firefighters, 100 new police officers, pensions, crime prevention programs etc. While I still have my doubts about whether the votes are there to pass it, I do believe there are some members of the Council who should not vote on this measure.

There are several members of the Council who would get a direct benefit from the tax increase. Democrats Monroe Gray, Vernon Brown, Sherron Franklin, Mary Moriarty Adams and Republicans Ike Randolph, Lance Langsford, Lincoln Plowman and Marilyn Pfisterer. All eight members of the Council should abstain from voting because they all have a conflict of interest.

Randolph, Plowman, Langsford and Franklin are either police officers or firefighters and they would get a 12-percent raise (over the next four years) if the tax were implemented because it is the funding source for their contract’s salary increases. Moriarty Adams is married to a police so she would get a direct benefit. Pfisterer is married to a retired firefighter who gets a direct benefit in the form of a stable pension. And Gray and Brown are department chiefs, and although their salaries are not determined by the contract, they are in policy making positions in the department and should abstain from voting.

I asked Mayor Bart Peterson yesterday whether public safety officials on the Council should abstain from voting, his reply was that since the ordinance doesn’t specifically require revenue be spent on raises, there is no conflict. With all due respect, that’s a load of “you-know-what” because we all know what the money will be used for, otherwise there’s no point in raising the tax.

I am not the first person to write about this. Both the Star and Advance Indiana have brought this up. We should have the tax debate, but it should be honest and above reproach. I begrudgingly accept the fact Indiana allows public employees to serve on the Councils and Boards which govern their agencies, but doesn’t help when elected officials are voting for their own pay raises or have a personal stake in the outcome.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed, Abdul. It’s called “ethics”.

    We’ll see on Monday if any of these eight individuals have any.

  • WCC

    Word

  • Bill Brown

    I would think the counselors with conflict of interest’s would refrain from voting out of respect for the citizens of Indianapolis. but, I’m sure the Democrats will vote out of greed and corruption.

  • Wilson46201

    I wonder how the IndyU clique feels about Republicans hollering against LEOs voting and about the GOP opposing the needed COIT increase to pay for better funded public safety. Why do Republicans want firefighters to fight blazes but then dont want them to get the promised pensions? Why does the GOP oppose LEOs getting raises?

  • just do it

    Why should the councilors abstain from voting? If they do that is not fair representation for the constiuents, besides the people that voted them in need to know what kind of person they elected, one that will do what’s right and be fiscally reponsible, or one that caves into the pressure of thier party, or other influences.

  • giter’done

    That’s right we voters need to know, it ain’t like we didn’t know what thier jobs were when we elected them. That’s part of the reason they got elected because of their jobs, we thought they would be a little more responsible.
    Giter’done

  • Jason

    Wilson I can tell you exactly why. The administration has absolutely and irrevocably lost the confidence of their constituent employees in the public safety sector. You couldn’t even begin to count the # of times that the politicians who run this city have lied, cheated, used their status to sway on-scene decisions, and used tactics like intimidation to do the wrong thing.

    There is an unofficial vote of no-confidence going on right now. If you loan someone a dollar and he swears he’s going to pay you back and doesn’t, would you give him $50 if he asked again?

    What you need to do is think beyond your party lines. There are GOP people who are going to vote in line with the Democrats on this issue, all you have to do is connect the political dots and you can guess who those people are. Police and Fire would love to have a dedicated tax for once, but to paraphrase Bill Cosby, when you serve me that steak dinner on a trash can lid what am I supposed to say? I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue if you would please present the other side of the debate.

  • Anonymous

    Wilson goes to show that he drank the last batch of Kool-aid the mayor made, in fact, went back for seconds.

    The mayor needs to provide line items details on where the money goes. At Friday nights meetings questions were asked on WHERE IS THE MONEY? And all there saw bobbing and weaving like the great Ali. The only difference is Ali delivered on what he said.

  • Bill Brown

    Abdul,
    Sweetpea and Vern benefit from the contract for IFD if the council approves the tax increase. They both will get 12 % raise over 4 years.
    So assuming they both make around 85,000 a year. After 4 years they will be making an additional 10,200 a year which will being their salaries up to $ 97,200.00 per year for 2 individuals that don’t even have a job description. Now, Hizzonor wants to cut spending! Here is a perfect starting point!

  • Anonymous

    Q: Conflict of interest for some CCC members to be voting on Monday night re: tax increase?

    A: Yes.

    Q: Will they still vote?

    A: Yes. Because they have no morals and no ethics.

  • Muckraker

    Tax and Spend.

    -No debate necessary if The Democrat Machine is in control!

  • Anonymous

    Abdul, Bill is right!

    Monroe Gray & Vern Brown make outrageous salaries at TAXpayer expense, yet perform no duty for the Fire Dept, and have no meaningful responsibility.

    Can the Prosecutor step in and get them for Ghost Employment, or does that have to be a Fed?

    Why can they vote their own raises? -It’s sickening!

  • Wilson46201

    “Ghost employment” is a local crime so the elected Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi (Republican) would handle it IF he could prove any crime was indeed committed. Just because political operatives holler loudly doesnt make it so! Smearing folk anonymously is no way to build a legal case in America…

  • Anonymous

    This isn’t a Indy problem – talk to some folks in Muncie.

  • Lincoln Plowman

    This proposal is sweeping in what it covers. It does not just cover saleries, pensions, etc., but taxes too. I voted against it in committee and I will vote for it in the full CCC meeting on Monday.

    When the Police Budget comes in front of me, I will abstain, like I have done EVERY year.

    Believe it or not there are ethical individuals on the Council.

  • Anonymous

    Go ahead an abstain. That’s the responsible position to take. Unfortunately, it isn’t a mandate.

    Cops and firemen shouldn’t be allowed to hold public office.

  • LEO

    Let me be the first to say Wilson. LEOS have been screwed by the mayor for so long we could care less about the raise. We would rather see them all voted out than get a raise. If he cared so much about giving us a raise why didn’t he do it over the last 3 yrs we haven’t had one. Don’t try and pin this BS on LEOS. It’s not a raise anyway when you keep driving up the health insurance with every raise. LEOS are against the tax increase too.

  • varangianguard

    Any job in the administration with the word “Deputy…” in it is “ghost” employment. Reading the WSJ all morning is not “work” in my opinion.

    More Taxes are Revolting! Maybe we should be too.

  • Pike Voter

    Wilson speaks a grain of truth – Just because political operatives holler loudly doesn’t make it so! – not knowing he was talking about himself !

    :)

  • Doctr

    I voted against it in committee and I will vote for it in the full CCC meeting on Monday.

    Looky here! Lincoln Plowman has turned in to our own litte John Kerry!

  • Jason

    Wilson! Why did you ignore me? I really want to hear the other side on my previous post. Help me out here man. I thought you’d at least be fair about it. Daggum. If you’re just going to show up and make bad jokes go to jokes.com. Daggum.

  • Lincoln Plowman

    No John Kerry here.

    I voted against the tax hike!