The Mayor's encouraging people to work the polls and to vote is undoubtedly okay. The problem is the emboldened language (which fails to mention that the bonds are backed by property taxes and thus taxpayers will indeed be on the hook) is nothing less than an endorsement of the referendum going out to thousands of city workers.
From: Administrator, Exchange
Sent: Thursday, October 08, 2009 11:56 AM
To: Administrator, Exchange
Subject: Please Consider Working the Polls for the Special Election on November 3
In less than 30 days, Marion County voters will go to the polls to participate in a countywide referendum election to vote on whether the Health and Hospital Corporation should improve Wishard at no cost to tax payers. Voters living in Beech Grove and Franklin and Perry Township school districts will also participate in separate referenda elections concerning funding for their schools.
Poll workers are still needed for this historic special election held on November 3, 2009. Though not a scheduled holiday, I encourage City-County employees to work the polls on Election Day. Attached is a letter outlining my poll worker program, allowing you to take the day off without using benefit leave as long as you commit to working the polls and have your supervisor’s permission. To work the polls, you must be a registered voter, live in Marion County and attend training.
Please consider being part of history this November. If you have questions about becoming a poll worker, you can reach the Marion County Election Board at (317) 327-5100.
Sincerely,Gregory A. Ballard
City of Indianapolis
P.S. If you’re looking for a more convenient way to vote, the Clerk’s Office is now open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday for early voting. You do not need a reason to vote early, but you will need to bring a valid, photo ID issued by the State of Indiana or the federal government.
You have to wonder what genius on the 25th Floor approved this email. Did any attorneys for the Mayor or City Legal look at it? Any attorney worth his or her salt should have immediately recognized that the Mayor can't use public resources, like the City's email system, to promote a particular position at the polls.
I have long said that the Mayor has surrounded himself with people who have no interest in Republicans winning the Mayor's Office or Council in 2011 and are just using their insider positions to profit personally from the Mayor's four years in office. Here someone has apparently encouraged the Mayor to use the City's email to promote passage of the Wishard referendum. I'm not sure who would have encouraged the Mayor to do this, but Attorney Joe Loftus, who is a partner at Barnes & Thornburg, is special counsel to the Mayor and a lobbyist for Health and Hospital. One can do the math.