Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Jail Commissary Fund, Part III: Need Money to Buy Plaques or Attend a Fundraiser? Just Dip Into the Jail Commissary Fund

Today marks the third installment of my review of Marion County Sheriff Frank Anderson's use of the jail commissary fund. During my review of the last 2 1/2 years of expenditures, I ran across some interesting expenditures by the Sheriff. First the Sheriff likes to give out awards, though he apparently doesn't want to personally pay or budget for them. $9,441.93 was paid out of the commissary fund to Presenta Plaque Corporation for what is often labeled as "employee plaques," $909.83 was paid to Flying W Awards for "plaques, "awards," and a "retirement plaque." He paid The Trophy House $875 for an "award."

Want to attend a nice fundraising dinner? No use shelling the money out of your own pocket when you can make the inmates pay the bill. The Sheriff paid $1,800 for the Center for Leadership Development for an "awards dinner" and a "minority achievers dinner." He paid $1500 to Crossroads of America Council for a table. The Sheriff paid Fairbanks Circle of Hope $2500 for a "sponsorship dinner" and then made two contributions of $1500 apiece from the commissary fund. $4,775 was paid to Julian Center, including $2,000 for a fundraising table and $1,500 to attend a "gala celebration."

The Sheriff paid $2000 out of the commissary to attend three Fire Police Deputy Sheriff's luncheons. He paid $2,100 to the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee for "luncheon tables." Indiana Black Expo received $8,600 out of the commissary fund for a luncheon and booth fees. The Indiana Black Legislative Caucus received $200 from the Sheriff's commissary fund for a fundraiser. The Sheriff's Association received $6,520 from the Sheriff's commissary fund for conference seminars and dues. $600 was paid from the commissary fund to the Indianapolis PAL Athletic Club for a "table of ten dinner." $1000 was spent out of the commissary fund for the "Special Olympics Torch Run." $350 was paid to the "Ancient Order of Hiberians" for two newspaper ads.

Some interesting non-charitable expenditures: $120.96 to Long Bakery for "APC Event Donuts," $1,350 to the Marion County Prosecutor's Office for "criminal code books" and my personal favorite, $3,330 paid out of the inmate's commissary fund for "ammunition."

All of these expenditures might be well be legitimate and, with regard to the charitable expenditures, commendable. But the problem is that most if not all are not expenditures that can be legally made out of the commissary fund under IC 36-8-10-21. The expenditures need to be properly budgeted. As far as the charitable causes, it would not hurt our Sheriff, who occupies one of the most lucrative offices in the State of Indiana and whose pay is in the hundreds of thousands, to pay charitable expenses out of his own pocket rather than from the inmate commissary fund.

1 comment:

Leslie Sourwine said...


The commissary fund belongs to the inmates not the sheriff. Unless Indiana has different laws than Iowa does. Here the commissary fund is used strictly for items used by the inmates. The wardens and sheriffs do not use it for their own personal agendas. Do you know if this is being investigated? Isn't Anderson coming up for re-election? Hasn't there been a shadow over Anderson's time in office for awhile? Why is he still there?