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:
Senator Young:

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.


Christine Scales
City County Councillor, District 4

No comments: