|Senator Mike Young|
In case you've forgotten, the bill essentially waters down the power of the City-County Council while greatly increasing the power of the Mayor of Indianapolis. It removes levels of government oversight by removing the council's ability to approve or disapprove of top mayoral appointees. It would hand the mayor more appointments to the Metropolitan Development Commission removing them from the Marion County Commissioners (currently all Democrats). The bill would chop the City-County Council down to 25 members from the current 29 after the 2015 municipal election. Currently, all four of the seats that would be removed, the At-Large seats, are held by Democrats. It would also remove the flexibility of future Mayors of Indianapolis to decide where IMPD should be in the hierarchy of city government by making it law that the mayor would always be in charge via the Public Safety Director.
According to the Indy Star's Jon Murray, the bill was stripped of a provision that would have allowed the mayor line item veto power over the budget and other proposals involving money as long as the amounts weren't changed.
Another more strange provision allows future mayoral candidates to only live in the city for two years and council candidates to live in their district for one. Currently, it's five and two.
I find this change, among many others, hard to stomach. The Mayor of Indianapolis should be intimately familiar with the city that they will lead. Having a leader that lives in the city he or she is about to represent for five years would seem to invite candidates serious about being the city's chief executive instead of carpetbaggers looking for resume items.
I'm sure this thing will pass the Senate and head to the House. The bill treats Indianapolis differently than second and third class cities across the state. This bill is so evidently a power grab that it is practically screaming.
The bill also shows a full transformation of Greg Ballard from the unassuming non-political Marine to the power-hungry typical politician. If he runs for mayor again in 2015, he can't tell us he's not political and that he's not a politician. Make no mistake, he asked for this bill...maybe not every provision...but he asked for it. Mike Young gave it to him. There was no need for government reform in Marion County. There was no ground swell for it. That makes me very suspicious.