“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
Monday, March 25, 2013
Republican Councilor Expresses Opposition to Senate Bill 621 Increasing Power of the Indianapolis Mayor's at Expense of Council
I have to hand it to Christine Scales who is not shy about standing up for what she thinks is right, even if it steps on her own party's toes. This letter sent to Senator Michael Young was also released to various media outlets:
Councilor Christine Scales
Democrats-councillors, residents, and other elected
officials have voiced loud opposition to Senate Bill 621 to all who would
listen. If you haven’t heard, there are Republicans serving on Council
who also do not support major portions of SB 621.
There was agreement amongst our caucus members to move
forward as a group, and with an attitude of respect, approach you privately to
share our objections to SB621. For whatever reason, there has been no
word as to whether discussions with you have been attempted or have taken
place, and if they have, what the results of such discussions were.
Today it appears that with Speaker Bosma’s blessing, your
bill greatly altering the participation and authority of elected councillors in
the governance of our city, is moving forward. I take it upon myself then, to
voice this Republican Councillor’s opposition to SB 621.
If SB 621 passes in its current form, the fundamental
commitment to a system of governmental checks and balances will be severely
eroded. The Council’s oversight and advisement of budgets and
departmental appointments and other policy decisions is already compromised by
politics. There always exists a tension between what’s good for a political
party and what comprises good governance. Votes for desired initiatives can be
bartered for with promises of political perks or threats of punishment.
This sort of vote kowtowing already offers undue leverage and control to an
executive branch of government- a tighter grip on power does not favor the
public that is served. Extra care must be taken to ensure that processes
providing accountability and transparency in government are not trampled on.
If there is a determined desire to reset the equation of
county governance, then let there be a commitment to more time and input as to
what a new city-county government model would look like and what weight voices
of elected officials would carry. It is imperative that crafting of new
policies doesn't conflict with traditional tenets of a democratic republic,
which I fear SB621 does.
I ask that at the very least, you would discuss your bill
with the Council legislative body before advancing it forward.