Friday, August 28, 2009

City of Indianapolis and Sheriff Frank Anderson Budget $4.5 Million Extra For Private Jail Company While Shortchanging Retired Sheriff Deputies

Over at Advance Indiana, Gary Welsh picked up on excellent story from Jack Rinehart of WRTV in which he reveals that the City has decided to withhold paying $3 million to the pension funds of retired Marion County deputy sheriffs in order to help balance the budget. Previously the City's unfunded pension liability for public safety officers had risen to $400 million last year before it was wiped out last year when the state agreed to assume responsibility for that debt. Now, with a clean slate courtesy of the state, the City is beginning to run up the pension debt again.

The irony is that while the $3 million is not being paid into the pension fund, the City and the Sheriff's Department has decided to give a private company, Corrections Corporation of America, an extra $4.5 million next year on the duibious claim that the Sheriff's Department is now three months behind paying on the CCA contract to run Jail #2. Not coincidentally CCA has made thousands in campaign contributions to both the Sheriff and the Mayor. If that's not enough, CCA is represented by Barnes & Thornburg, the law firm which practically runs the 25th floor and whose partner, Joe Loftus, is also paid counsel and advisor to the Mayor.

The $4.5 million arrearage claim is highly questionable given how payments are made under the CCA contract and that the deficit supposedly existed since 2004 and is only now being mentioned. Last fall, the Sheriff got permission to pay CCA nearly a quarter of a million dollars. The claim the Sheriff's representative made to the Public Safety Committee at that time was that the money was for an inflation adjustment CCA decided to take and the money was needed for inmate meals. As I pointed out in a previous post, the Sheriff's claim was phony. The inflation adjustment in the CCA contract is automatic and inmate meals are included in the per diem paid to CCA. The Sheriff does not pay separately for inmate meals at Jail #2.

Retired Marion County Sheriff Deputies need to be demanding answers as to why their pension is not being funded so that the City and the Sheriff can pay millions more to a private company. The Council needs to be asking for concrete financial documentation showing the $4.5 million arrearage owed to CCA before agreeing to pay the bill. To demand any less is to do a disservice to the good men and women who have served the Sheriff's Department and are now depending on the City to properly fund their pensions.


Downtown Indy said...

I think Uncle Frank could save a few bucks on his annual budget by better managing the 'wagon' drivers.

I arrived at the Kerasotes 16 at Southern Plaza this evening at 7pm, and saw one of the MCSD vans pull in. Out hopped the driver, 20-ish and wearing shorts and a tie-dye style shirt and one passenger. They headed into the theater, bought their tickets and entered.

The license # was 2965.

Now I can see NO good reason to (a) be driving a paddy wagon off duty, (b) HAVE a paddy wagon as a 'take home car or (c) having taxpayers provide transportation for the Sheriff's workforce to and from movies.

I have on numerous occasions seen one of these vans parked in the theater lot, going back more than a year. This happens to be the first time I saw the driver.

I had previously assumed whomever it was was providing off-duty security (although I was never pleased the van being used for that). Clearly that wasn't the case tonight.

Paul K. Ogden said...


Maybe he was taking an inmate to the movies? Of course since Anderson won't let inmates go to funerals of their parents even with court orders directing the Sheriff to do so, my guess is that wasn't the case.

Leslie Sourwine said...


If the court orders Anderson to do something and he doesn't why isn't he held in contempt? Indianapolis sure has a funny justice system. Judges who refuse to follow court rules and state law, sheriffs who refuse to follow orders of the court, and prosecutors who refuse to prosecute white collar crime. From what I've seen about the only people punished are the everyday citizens.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Leslie, the problem is that when a court issues an order that someone in jail be allowed to attend a family funeral, and Sheriff Anderson doesn't follow that order, by the time the issue can be raised again with the court, the funeral is over and the ssue is moot. Plus the inmate would have had to go through through the grievance process when he is denied the right to go to the funeral. By the time the grievance process played out, the funeral would be over. Again, the issue is moot.

This is not exactly the first time that Sheriff Anderson has thumbed his nose at Marion County judges.