Thursday, September 24, 2009

Perry Township Trustee "Moonlights" With Full-Time Position With City

Previously on this blog, I wrote about Henry (Hank) Bosworth, who is probably best known for his work as a high-ranking official in the Marion County Sheriff's Department, but who has two other jobs.

This morning, I present the case of Gary Coons, the elected Perry Township Trustee. In that role, he make $51,520, not counting benefits. Recently, he has taken a second job with the city administration, as public safety liaison with the Department of Public Safety. In that role, he is expected to work 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., 40 hours a week minimum. Translation: It is a full-time job. He is now a salaried city employee, making $64,000 with benefits.

How is Coons going to do his work as a well-paid, elected township trustee when he is a full-time city employee? We Republicans rightly screamed about Monroe Gray's questionable work with the Indianapolis Fire Department during the 2007 campaign. How is what Bosworth and Coons doing any different? Why didn't the City officials require Coons to resign as trustee if he were going to take a full time job with the city? Has anyone read the ghost employment statutes over at City Legal?


Ed Coleman said...

I would read the ethics proposal of last year. If I am correct in my recollection that an elected official in this county can not take a job as a city employee. I believe that wording was to apply to all elected officials and not just the council.

Downtown Indy said...

Gary is endorsed by the likes of:

Bob Grand
Tom John
Brent Waltz

Gary Coons is on a 'pensioned on disability' due to some injury while a firefighter.

Gary Coons has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, same as Scott Newman (who also endorsed Coons for Trustee). Gary Coons trains at Rock Steady, a facility owned by Scott Newman.

Yet Gary Coons is able to hold two, count em, TWO jobs.

Gary Coons on Facebook

Gary Coons also solicits donations to an organization he and his wife operate:

which, oddly, makes no mention of being a charitable or tax-exempt organization like one would expect from a 'dot org.' So it may well be another for-profit venture of his.

Correction, Gary Coons apparently holds THREE jobs.

Dan said...

Double Dipping (holding elected office and civil service jobs at the same time) is expressly permitted in Indiana. Whether that should be is up for debate.

However, this situation is far different than Gray's, where Gray was never questioned for double dipping. Instead, it was questionable whether Gray ever did his civil service job. In Coons case, your accusation is whether he is tending to his trustee position. One could argue how much time is needed to devote as Township trustee in a Township with no fire service? The Position is antiquated and should have been consolidated.

jabberdoodle said...

The Center Township Assessor works for the County Assessor, I do believe. There are at least a couple of Councillors who work for either IMPD or IFD.

As for ghost employment, I think a legitimate question for Perry Township residents to ask is how he can oversee the work of his Township employees and thereby earn his salary as Trustee. The Township gig may have a salary that looks full time, but it is considered a part time job, for some reason I don't understand.

The whole thing coughs up the question: is this job payback for rolling the Perry Township Fire Department into IFD? Especially since Mr. Coons already has a job that has far fewer duties come 2010,but maintains the same pay to do.

When are the Township Trustee elections, anyway?

Wilson46201 said...

Nowhere does The Law require elected officials to have stated work hours or to work a given number of hours a week. It merely requires the elected official to do the requirements of the elective position. An elected official is free to use his "spare time" in whatever way he wishes: bowling, church, family, outside employment.

Most Township Trustees are part-time jobs with a commensurate rate of pay. Coons is interesting in that he gets a decent salary at Perry while also getting a nice sinecure with the City.

Downtown Indy said...

Wilson is right. That's why we find the Center Twp clerk's office is open for a total of 8hrs a week, 3 days a week, for as little as an hour and 1/2.

Well, the part about 'the requirements of the elective position' is highly debatable what with all the poor folk in CT and tens of millions of property and cash being held onto.

But I guess minimal office hours DOES have the advantage of keeping people away and thus avoiding the problem with folks coming in and creating more work for the staff.

Wilson46201 said...

Center Township clerks office???? What the heck is that??? there's no such a place and those hours are totally fabricated. Stop that bullshit!

Center Township Trustee hours to accept applications for "township assistance" are Monday thru Fridays, 7:30am to 3pm.

Indy Student said...

Article II, Section 9 of the IN Constitution states that you can't hold more than one state office or a state and federal office, or more exactly, a "lucrative position." Is there any constitutional arguments that this can also be applied to the counties/towns/cities, or do they pretty much get to make up their own ethics in this area?

Wilson46201 said...

"Lucrative position" is understood to mean "elected official". For example, Township Board members are elected but the Board meets rarely. It'd be nonsensical to prohibit them from being farmers or employees (if only to provide a living wage).

In other words, you can hold only one elective office at any one time.

Downtown Indy said...

Hmmm, well it wasn't 'fabricated' the time I went there mid-day, weekday and some goof standing near the door - as I headed towards it - asked me in an unmistakably, unfriendly way 'Where you think you're going?' and the hours on the door told the tale. I was turned away.

And yes, it is true, that building is the 'Trustees' office, not the 'Clerks' office. The former is the one with the Corvette parking garage in rear. The latter is tucked away in one basement of the CCB, on the same corridor perps are walked to/from court, not far from the probationer drug-testing room. Keeps the family together doing it that way, I suppose.

Wilson46201 said...

What a load of bollocks, "downtown indy" ! You are still a fount of misinformation and ignorance. Anybody can easily check the hours of operation of Center Township and you're flat-out lying.

The Center Township operation in the basement of the CCB is the Small Claims Court (a civil court). It has absolutely no powers about criminality or drugs.

Although I had total access to all rooms of Center Township operations until 2004, at no time did I ever see any Corvettes stored anywhere on the premises. That's an urban myth started by a losing candidate for Trustee.

Paul K. Ogden said...

At some point the Marion County township trustee jobs evolved (devolved?) into jobs that pay full-time salaries, if not full-time work.

I think it's really tough to pay someone $53,000 as an elected official, but have the time responsibilities so limited that the person can have a full-time 8-5job. It doesn't make any sense. I'm not sure why a Democrat would defend the practice. Or perhaps I'm misreading Wilson's comments.

Wilson46201 said...

It's strictly up to the Township Board (which sets the Trustee's pay) and the township voters to determine if the Trustee's performance and pay are satisfactory.

If Coons is a workaholic, he can probably handle both jobs. A good Chief Deputy actually running the shop makes life easier for a Trustee. I dunno how well Coons delegates...

Paul K. Ogden said...

So, Wilson, you think he can do the entire job at Trustee at night...that he won't be making calls during the day and doing other trustee job during working hours when he's on the other job?

You're looking at it from the wrong angle. The problem is the city job, not the trustee job. That's where he can get into big trouble. That's like a trial attorney practicing law supposedly at night while employed with the state during the day. Inevitably things come up during the day as an attorney that require your attention. It's the same with trustee.

I cannot believe you're defending this.

Wilson46201 said...

You're correct in that a Trustee at least needs some work-hours connection to his staff. Can Coons handle that? Dunno.

The main point I'm trying to make is that it's not illegal for a Trustee to have a 2nd (or 3rd) job.

jabberdoodle said...

I've heard of a number of Township Trustees with another job. The ones I have heard of, though, have flexible hours. So, they could still conduct Trustee duties during the day, as required.

Why should the taxpayers of any Township pay their Trustee one dime, if the Deputy is actually going to do the bulk of the work?

Again, does anyone know which year the Trustees go back on the ballot?

Downtown Indy said...

Well, wilson, I just wasn't welcome for some reason. Maybe I didn't look 'center township-ish' enough. Maybe I was merely being discriminated against by someone who could have passed for Carl Drummer (although I had no idea what he looked like at the time). Maybe they were open and the thug outside the front door was just being, well, a thug. It's not clear whether this was a member of the staff or one of their clients, but it was made quite clear I was not supposed to approach the front door and I could NOT go inside at 11 am on a weekday. Apparently it was not my day for either a 'hand up' or a 'hand out.' Or maybe he just neglected to mention the waiting room was full of people being helped and I should come back in a little while. Or they were closed.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Jabber, I'm almost positive it's 2010 that trustees are on the ballot.

Paul K. Ogden said...


If anyone has a $53,000 a job with benefits that I can do in my spare time, could you contact me? Thanks.

Wilson46201 said...

"downtown indy" : YOU LIE

People can check the hours themselves by calling 633-3610 during normal business hours or in person at 863 Massachusetts Ave.

The main door for clients is at the side of the building. The door directly on Mass Ave is for administrative visitors. This is clearly marked.

Wilson46201 said...

No problem, Paul. Just run for that office and get yourself elected! Anybody over 18 and not convicted of a felony is eligible to run if you reside there. It costs nothing to file to get your name on the ballot...

Downtown Indy said...

Yeah, wilson. I just imagined the 300lb gorilla who was incapable of grunting or gesturing directions to any other door, which, if it was inside the 'gateway' off the street it was behind where said gorilla was positioned. 'Hey, where you goin'?' is not exactly putting down the welcome mat, either.

Again, I must have picked the wrong day - the day when they don't 'clearly mark' the alternate entrance.

But you say you haven't been employed there since '04 so maybe things have changed since then.

Wilson46201 said...

"gorilla" & "thug" huh? Way to go with the bigoted language, "downtown indy" ! No wonder you hide your identity online -- do you wear a white robe and hood in public?

Downtown Indy said...

Now wilson, am I going to have to google up some of the witty retorts you use when people direct ad hom's at you?

Please point me where to find the the criteria that establishes 'gorilla' and 'thug' as 'bigotted language.'

Are you telling us you have assigned these words to some subset of humanity such that they represent bigotry? Please elucidate your assertion, criteria and conclusions.

I shall meanwhile go watch a George Raft movie and attempt to find a way to make a similar connection myself. I think Mike Mazursky may have been referred to with those terms. I will check.

Paul K. Ogden said...

Let's not get out of control gentlemen. Let's just accept it as a premise that Wilson is wrong on everything he says

Wilson46201 said...

...and you wonder why the GOP can't garner more than 10% of the African-American vote? Being so tone-deaf about the usages of language cripples Republicans (especially in Marion County).

Downtown Indy said...

"Please point me where to find the the criteria that establishes 'gorilla' and 'thug' as 'bigotted language.'"

I suggest that it exists entirely inside your head, along with a considerable quantity of empty space.

I have not wondered about what percentage of the AA vote Republicans get. I suspect only the closet bigots pay attention to stuff like that - you know the folks who spend too much of their time parsing words and actively looking for some reason to pull the race card out, who seem to always be on the lookout for the most miniscule and ridiculous excuse to label someone a bigot, who always assume the worst, who apparently revel in their holier-than-thou attitude.

That is to say, the folks who keep racial tension high by their incessant toiling to inject their poisonous, divisive insinulations wherever and whenever they can.

I believe they don't WANT racial tension to go away because then they'd surely have no life at all.

And out of respect for Paul and his blog, that's all I have to say on this thread and this subject.

RespectofOthers said...

Your post is a lie and you better seek to apply an apology. Their is an angry mob brewing and raising money to try and get Gary to file a slander law suit against all those that have posted lies in an attempt hurt him.

He is one of the best public servants I have ever met. If you would have conducted your research you would have found out that he has not collected a pay check since starting with the city from Perry Township.

I hope we can get him to file, but he is too good of a person to do anything. We request a public apology and try to see if he will file. Free speech is great, but when you tell lies and hurt someone professionally you run the risk of being liable.

Why don't you look at other trustee's that take a lot of money, hire their family, and have take home cars in Marion County, then a person who is trying to better himself and serve the public the best he can. To not take pay after taking the city job is unheard of. How many CCC's do we have that both get paid by the City or County for their position and also from the CCC position?

Gary has worked hard and is fighting a disease that has limited his abilities. He continues to try and serve the public and raise kids. The blog against him is an outrage and a disgrace.

I have no idea how you can look yourself in the mirror after what you did. He probably won't do anything because he believes in doing what he calls the "right way of serving". Can you say the same? He was never promised anything nor was is part of the merger. He started merger talks back in 2007. Good luck to those of you who slandered a good man publicly with lies. Before stating lies, why don't you go and meet him and really see what kind of person he really is. If you down he would help you up, because he believe in doing what is right.

After meeting him, he really changed the way I look at life. This man is fighting for a quality of life due to Parkinson's. He stated to me he does not know how much longer he can work and what brought me to tears later was a statement he made about not knowing if would be able to dance with his daughter when she gets married later in life as this disease progresses. But ended with a statement I will never forget: For everthing this disease has taken or caused, He has been blessed with good friendships and knowledge that he surrounds himself with great public servant. He also stated that he continues to fight against this disease and bring awareness to firefighters all across this world to protect themselves and understand the battlefield they are on. The choices young firefighters may today may affect their way fo life 5, 10 and etc years later.

I feel like I should let you know who this man really is that you slandered for no reason at all.