Thursday, February 1, 2018

Clay's Leadership Continues to Draw Fire in Council Controversy

Pastor Stephen Clay
Pastor Stephen Clay's role as President of the City-County Council has gone from problem to embarrassment for his City-County Councillor colleagues. On February 19, the Council will get another chance to elect someone else President and perhaps some semblance of normalcy will return to our city-county legislative body.

After Democrats voted Monday to reconsider Clay's election to the Council's highest leadership role, Clay continued his uneven leadership on Tuesday firing Council Clerk NaTrina DeBow and Council Attorney Fred Biesecker. Reportedly, the two were escorted out of the building by deputies from the Marion County Sheriff's Office. According to local leaders and legal experts, these firings are more than questionable under state law, and they may ultimately cost the city in legal fees.

Now, as reported by the Indy Star, it seems that Clay may have tried to undercut the Republican leaders that delivered him the President's seat. James Briggs writes that Clay attempted to restore Democrats to council committee chair seats given to Republican Councillors last month.

All of this craziness has seemingly galvanized Clay's Democratic caucus against him. The court of public opinion has apparently turned against him, too. Ninety-five percent of respondents in a WTHR poll stated that the firings were not justified. The Council situation has gotten so bad that it dominated talk at my work lunch table today. We rarely discuss City-County Council politics, so the fact that people are aware of the story means that it may have hit another level of recognition with the community.

All of this couldn't come at a worse time here in Indy. With violence continuing and potholes popping up like fireflies across Indy roads, Clay's wacky turn as President, as many have pointed out, comes at a time when Indianapolis is trying to woo Amazon build it's new headquarters and invest right here in Indianapolis. This certainly can't be helping.

Depending on what happens, Clay could continue to lash out and be a desperate politician with a lot of power. That's why everyone is wondering what's next. It's really not like we didn't see this coming when Clay was elected. Again, thank LaKeishia Jackson, Monroe Gray, Joe Simpson, Duke Oliver and Mike McQuillen's GOP caucus (minus Brian Mowery and Jeff Miller) for making all of this possible. You elected a person who was clearly unready to lead.

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