Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Indianapolis Star Shows It Still Does Not Care About City's Revolving Door; Departing Ballard Administration Officials Use their Positions to Cash In

I remember a couple years ago, the Indianapolis Star shaming legislators who dared to accept a few thousand dollars in gifts from lobbyists.  More recently the Star criticized the IURC revolving door and, in particular Scott Storms, leaving the agency to work for Duke Energy.  Storms, a long-time IURC attorney, had been involved in enforcement actions against Duke.
David Sherman
But when it comes to the local revolving door, the Star shows its hypocrisy. While the Star is concerned about the state's revolving door, the paper's editors have no concern about the local revolving door which is far worse.  Individuals consistently shuffle from the private sector to positions in Indianapolis government and then back to the private sector, often with the very contractors they were working with when employed by the City.

Gary Welsh of Advance Indiana reports on the troubling cases of Chris Cotterill and Dave Sherman.  I agree with Gary that Sherman's new job is particularly troubling.
That Cotterill, an attorney, would take a job with a law firm comes as no surprise. It would have been worse if he had gone to work for his former employer, Barnes & Thornburg, since he steered millions of dollars in legal work to his firm while he worked for Ballard and participated in number of high-level decisions that greatly benefited several clients of the firm, including the parking meter privatization deal and the sale of the utilities to Citizens Energy. The biggest transaction undertaken while Cotterill worked for Ballard was the sale of the assets to Citizens Energy. The law firm that represented the city in that deal: Baker & Daniels. 
David Sherman's new job is particularly troubling. The folks at the Star who don't look at these things closely would have learned from its own newspaper's archive that Sherman previously worked for the City under Mayor Steve Goldsmith, who privatized the city's wastewater treatment operations. Sherman then went to work for United Water, the company that was awarded the contract to operate the sewer utilities. Now it looks like the Ballard administration is, in effect, paying Sherman's six-figure salary with his new employer through a new $160,000 contract the City is awarding it at a time the City is supposedly trying to fix a multi-million dollar hole in its current budget. ... 
To read the rest of the Advance Indiana article, click here.
I'd like to be at a meeting of the Star's editors and hear exactly what the paper's justification is for editorializing about the danger of the state's revolving door while consistently ignoring the local revolving door.


Marycatherine Barton said...

Your headline says it all, Paul. You would have made a wonderful judge, and it is a damn shame that last week, the Marion County Republican Party primary voters missed the chance to make that happen, to give ouf county that gift. Thank you so much for this report.

Paul K. Ogden said...

MCB, thanks for your kind comments. Uunfortunately without a Republican list, I couldn't communicate with the R primary voters in an effective manner. It would have also been nice to do a couple mailings...that would have evened the playing field. I don't blame Republican primary voters. I blame the corrupt slating system that is used by party bosses to ensure that they and not the voters pick the candidates. That was probably the last election with slated judges though.