Monday, April 13, 2015

"Mayor Veto" Ballard Creates Controversy with Latest Veto

Mayor "Veto" Ballard
On "news dump" Friday, Mayor Greg Ballard metaphorically dumped the City-County Council's $4.7 million bipartisan plan to purchase new equipment such as police cruisers and make repairs and upgrades at training facilities for IMPD.

The reaction was swift and pointed.

City-County Council President Maggie Lewis wrote:
“I am deeply troubled by the Mayor’s sudden veto of the Council’s bi-partisan appropriation to adequately equip our police officers and make necessary repairs to IMPD facilities. I will immediately begin the preparations necessary to override this irresponsible veto. The Mayor’s veto sends exactly the wrong message to the men and women that patrol our streets and try their best to keep us all safe every day. It tells them that their work in our neighborhoods is not worth the price of having adequate vehicles or fully-functioning training facilities. This appropriation comes from available Public Safety Tax revenue that the Mayor and Council agreed to raise at the end of last year for purposes just such as these.”
Fraternal Order of Police #86 wrote:

"On Friday, 04/10/2015, our FOP membership learned of the Mayor’s veto of Proposal 47 which had been passed by the Indianapolis City County Council with overwhelming bipartisan support with a vote of 24 – 4 on March 30, 2015. The proposal appropriated $4.7 million to provide equipment to police officers and make needed infrastructure improvements at the training facilities of the IMPD. Our membership of police officers and their families are deeply disappointed by the decision of the Mayor to veto critically needed funding for the IMPD. We believe it is the expectation of Indianapolis tax payers to have public safety tax dollars spent on public safety needs. We collectively have concerns about these public safety tax dollars being shifted to unrestricted funds where they can be spent on other projects. 
We fully support the effort of the Indianapolis City County Council President to begin the necessary steps to override the Mayor’s veto on this proposal. In the interim, we look forward to a robust public discussion in the coming days about the funding priorities of the Mayor and the management of such dollars.

We encourage our members to monitor our website for ongoing updates on this matter. As always, the FOP will remain vigilant in working to ensure our police officers have the resources they need to continue faithfully protecting the residents and visitors of Indianapolis."

For his part, Mayor Ballard said he always told the Council he would veto the measure. The Council disputes this.  Ballard also said none of this had come up during the budget process.

Anyone that has seen an IMPD cruiser lately would know that these cars are clearly passed their operational use.  The FOP says the repairs and upgrades were for the police academy to install wi-fi and refresh some areas that date back to the 1950's.

I have a hard time understanding the Mayor's objection.  After all, he chose to spend close to $6 million on a World Sports Park on Indy's Eastside.  Having now seen the facility, I doubt his wisdom on that one.

The first opportunity President Lewis could have to override the veto would be one week from today on April 20.  She needs 20 votes.

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