Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why Does the Public Safety Director Need Bodyguards?; Time to Eliminate the Public Safety Director Position

Jon Murray of the Indianapolis Star pens an article this morning suggesting the shortfall in the public safety originally pegged at $10 million is now over $15 million.  That's a shocking figure since we're only a few months into the new budget year.
Public Safety Director Frank Straub

One though has to be careful of any claimed deficit.  I remember the Capital Improvement Board a few years ago claiming publicly that it faced a terrible deficit.  It turns out that the the CIB all along had a private set of books that showed the organization was in much better shape financially than what appeared in the set of books they were using for the public.  The CIB claim of an overwhelming deficit was simply a ruse to increases its revenue by getting the legislature and council to approve additional tax increases.

Could the claim of a deficit could be a ruse by Public Safety Director Frank Straub and others to get their hands on that big pile of cash still sitting in the bank from the utility sale?  If that were the case it would be a shame.  That one time infusion of money, which was paid by a publicly-owned Citizen's Energy borrowing, a loan we the public will have to pay back, certainly should not be used to fund ongoing operating expenses. 

Apparently though things are not just bad in public safety.  Murray reported yesterday that the City is in 2013 is facing a preliminary deficit of $50 million to $70 million across all agencies.  Of course, this isn't news if you've been following Pat Andrews' blog "Had Enough Indy" or Gary Welsh's blog "Advance Indiana."  Both bloggers have been frequently taken Mayor Ballard to task for dishonest budgeting that appears now to come back to haunt the Mayor...conveniently after the Election.

With regard to public safety, it is time for Mayor Ballard to take drastic action and finally reign in big spending by Mr. Straub.  While Straub was shorting IMPD such necessities as toilet paper, he had no problem engaging in reckless spending in his own office.   Straub spent hundres of thousands of dollars to renovate his office.  He added several high level, high paying staff jobs to the public safety payroll.  He routinely spends thousands on out-of-town consultants to render reports on such issues as which fire stations in Indianapolis should be closed, an issue one would think better suited to the local folks who actually know the city.

Most appalling though is that Director Straub feels he needs to bill the tax payers for two bodyguards.    Nobody who has been convicted of a crime is going to target the public safety director for revenge.  That person may go after the judge, the prosecutor, even the police officer...but the public safety director?  Absolutely not.   As far as being so famous that he needs a bodyguard to protect him from the crazies, well someone needs to break the news to Mr. Straub - he is not that well-known.  Mayor Ballard is a prominent person, as is the Prosecutor Terry Curry and Sheriff John Layton.  The public safety director position, which is appointed by the Mayor, amounts to inside baseball.  I bet 90% of the people on the street couldn't identify Frank Straub if presented with his photograph.

Mayor Ballard adopted a good idea from challenger Melanie Kennedy when he recently appointed a Deputy Mayor of Education.  Mayor Ballard needs to adopt another Kennedy idea that was right on the mark - the elimination of the position of Public Safety Director and his lavishly furnished office.  It is a needless layer of bureaucracy for a City that can't afford it.


Cato said...

With $4.00 gas, or any gas over $1.00, why are cops using taxpayer cars as their personal vehicles, having the public pick up the tab for expensive cars and expensive gas?

Hondas, Toyotas and Subarus are made right here in Indiana. Put the cops in economical four-cylinder cars, and cancel take-home cars.

Taxpayers, many unemployed, are being soaked to pay for outrageous perks for public employees.

Cato said...

But I thought the Super Bowl was supposed to be such a windfall that we would be flush with cash?

What happened?

Anonymous said...

Same day guaranteed payday loans are convenient for the borrower in every way, beginning right from the loan application till the cash transfer to the borrower's account.

Sheila Kennedy said...

A shortfall of this magnitude is incomprehensible to anyone who has been in city hall and participated in the budgeting process. Either you are correct that this is a bogus 'crisis,' or the budget presented to the council last year was intentionally dishonest. It did list a large amount of anticipated "grant revenue"--hard to believe that wasn't a "plug" number, manufactured to make the budget balance in an election year.

This whole situation is evidence of one of two things: incredible incompetence, or outright dishonesty.

guy77money said...

Maybe he needs them to protect him from his own organization! The people who really dislike like him are the cops, I would like to say it's humorous but it really isn't.

Unknown said...

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