Friday, March 12, 2010

City's Revolving Door Continues to Spin; Two Ballard Administration Officials Take Positions With City Contractors


The last several months, readers of the Indianapolis Star have been inundated with stories and editorials regarding the legislative/lobbyist revolving door. Readers of this blog know that I have been critical of the Star's ignoring an even worse revolving door between the the Indianapolis Mayor's Office and businesses that do business with the City. For example, I pointed out that Mayor Greg Ballard's Chief of Staff Paul Okeson left the Mayor's Office to immediately go to work for Keystone Construction, a major city contractor which had given the Mayor $25,000 in campaign contributions this year.

Yet other examples of the city revolving door appeared in the news today. The Indianapolis Business Journal reported today that Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Nick Weber is taking a position with the law firm Baker & Daniels, a frequent city contractor. According to the IBJ, Weber will be "engaged in government relations, strategic communications and economic development" at the Indianapolis law firm.

Let me translate that for you: Baker & Daniels is hoping that by hiring Weber, who is not even an attorney, the firm can get legal work from the city. How exactly is this good for taxpayers?

The IBJ also reported that Indianapolis Bond Bank Executive Director Kevin Taylor will be leaving the Ballard administration to take a job with City Securities, a private investment firm that gets millions in municipal investment from, you guessed it, the Bond Bank.

Earlier on this blog I reported how then President of the Bond Bank Board, John Dillon, in 2003 received a contract from the Bond Bank Board to provide part-time consulting services for the Bond Bank with regard to the plans for the new convention center. In less than a two year period, Dillon submitted invoices to the Bond Bank Board he chaired for over $354,000 for this consulting work (pretty sweet "part-time" job, eh?), which invoices reflected Dillon did little more than attend numerous, vague, non-descript "meetings." The minutes do not reflect that the Dillon-lead Bond Bank Board ever questioned the legitimacy of the Dillon invoices.

Where did Dillon go to work after leaving the Bond Bank? Well, after a brief stint as Chief Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff for then Mayor Bart Peterson, Dillon left to become a highly-paid executive with ...drum roll please...City Securities. Of course, City Securities was doing business with the Bond Bank during Dillon's tenure and continues to do business with the Bond Bank. Now with another President of the Bond Bank on the payroll, City Securities knows the municipal money train will keep on coming.

The City's revolving door continues to spin.

1 comment:

timb said...

Paul, read the Wrecking Crew by Thomas Franks for a national view of this local problem.

Simply put, idealists like you are the foot soldiers of the conservative movement. The officers of the movement snicker at you, since, like Dick Cheney, they are only interested in enriching themselves through back-door deals like this.

Surely you knew this is how the powers that be would treat the know-nothing mayor, swept into power by a bunch of idiots who can't understand why they have to pay property taxes at 2007 rates, rather than 1989 rates.

Meridian-Kessler made this happen and they are--surprise--enriching their own.

It's how you become wealthy in this country....leverage government experience into a lavish government contract. Or, get your kid into Goldman-Sachs.

PS If you would like to suggest a reason the Dem leaders use idealists like me, I'd be glad to see it.