Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Star Columnist Tully Says ACS Deal "Makes Sense" Really?

This morning Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully pens a lackluster column saying that the parking deal "makes sense." Really, Matt? I was curious as to which of the following "makes sense."
  • That we are agreeing to give a 50 year contract to ACS, a company involved in a multi-million dollar screw up of privatization of Medicaid here in Indiana and which screwed up a seven year parking meter deal in Washington, D.C.
  • A 50 year deal that mortgages the future for $20 million in upfront cash.
  • That the 50 year contract ties the hands of the next 12 mayors and councils elected in this City.
  • The termination provision in the ACS contract which prohibits the City from contracting out with another vendor for 2 years after the termination provision is exercised.
  • The termination provision that requires the new vendor to accept whatever money ACS made in the year 2010 (which may well be nothing), while the City is not allowed any revenue if the City tries to contract out during the two year cooling off period.
  • The provision which prohibits the City from borrowing the money to pay ACS's termination fee.
  • The provision which prohibits the City from reviewing ACS's books to ensure the City is actually receiving the money the City is entitled to under the contract.
  • A promise for 200 jobs from ACS that the company refuses to put into the contract to make it legally enforceable.
  • The provision that allows Ice Miller (whose attorneys on the deal included Marion County GOP Chairman Tom John) to be paid $500,000 in legal fees even if the ACS contract was not approved by the Council.
  • That the Barnes & Thornburg Partner Joe Loftus is a paid lobbyist for the Mayor and also lobbies for ACS. See any conflict there, Matt?
  • President of the Council Ryan Vaughn works for Barnes & Thornburg which represents ACS and Vaughn himself was identified in state records as an ACS lobbyist. Yet Vaughn not only won't recuse himself, as presiding officer he controls the debate and pushes the Council to give the 50 year no bid contract to his law firm's client.
  • That the City refused to ask for bids from other companies after making substantial changes to the contract terms.
  • That Republican councilors who didn't want to support the deal had their arms twisted and were threatened by Vaughn and others. One councilor lost her position on a key committee when she wouldn't support the deal.
  • The promise for 200 jobs does not require the jobs be full-time and the promise is not even legally enforceable because it wasn't included in the contract.
  • That it is too "risky" for the City to spend $8 million to buy new meters and keep 100% of the profits, but it's not risky for the City on the very same day to propose floating a $98 million bond to help private developer Buckingham Companies fund a project deemed too risky by every lender that reviewed it. Of course, Buckingham's lobbyist to the Mayor's Office is none other than GOP Chairman Tom John, someone who Tully regularly praises as leading a (non-existent) revival of the GOP in Marion County.

Matt, can you tell me which of the above "makes sense?"


Unigov said...

Tully became the Star's new whore, after Ketzenberger left.

Cato said...

There is no Tully. He is whatever he's told to be, and he says what he's told to to say. In exchange for sacrificing his professionalism, he gets to keep his job.

He's placed in the system the same as Vaughn is placed in the system.

If the choice is between getting a regular well placed column or a Council presidency, or, on the other side, journalistic obscurity or slogging away as a new lawyer, many would take the quicker and easier route to accomplishment by playing ball with the establishment.

Jon E. Easter said...

I like Matt Tully, and I really do think he's a great writer. He seems all to willing to just let things go by unquestioned though when it comes to Mayor Ballard and this administration.

Seems to me the bigger story here is less about the deal and more about the deal behind the deal. Why Ryan Vaughn pushed it so hard from the President's Chair in apparent violation of Robert's Rules...the questions you raised about Bob Lutz...Paul Bateman's vote...etc.

I hate the idea that the Democrats didn't have a plan. They DID! The plan was to do it on our own and for the city to keep the entire profit instead of siphoning it off to a third party.

It's definitely frustrating, Paul. Tully is too good of a writer to let this stuff go.

Hoosier in the Heartland said...

Of course, this is the same guy who thinks the TSA's "enhanced" pat-down procedure also makes sense!

For a better look at this newest chapter in security theater, see this:

As Schneier notes, TSA screening is an "extra-Constitutional area, so there's no clear redress mechanism for those subjected to too-intimate patdowns".

kate said...

The mob mentality blocks all of this rational thought. And it ignores realities.
The flaws in Affiliated Computer Services report range from misleading to outright falsehoods. Whistle while you work is going to be the new motto.
IBM will have enough documents and testimony to lay on the table that Affiliated Computer Services will not know what hit them.
Pandora’s Box needs closed for ever and sent back to the depths of hell.