Stop political bullying for more mayoral control
There’s a strange smell in the air at the west end of Market Street. There are several bills, specifically SB 621 and HB 1399, making their way through the Indiana legislature that should concern every Hoosier.
A system of checks and balances within government is a cornerstone of our democracy to ensure that no single person or body can hold unchecked reign over the people and/or their resources (property, money, etc). Indianapolis already has a strong mayor system.
Even so, both the aforementioned bills seek to consolidate even greater power within the executive branch. These measures would remove the legislative oversight from many critical areas such as confirmation of department heads and allow unelected persons to spend your tax dollars as they will. If passed, they will concentrate the power of the executive over the Metropolitan Development Commission, where many of our tax dollars are spent and important zoning and development decisions are made.
Unbelievably, these bills allow the executive unchecked spending power — not only the authority to line-item veto parts of the budget, but the unprecedented ability to write in different amounts, to change spending priorities at will, deliberately circumventing the legislative branch’s historic duty as the fiscal body, thereby creating an imperial executive.
When Indianapolis and Marion County were consolidated, the mayor became the city-county executive, but we gave up our seven-member county council for four at-large city-county council members in the new city-county government. We now have three few representatives than other Indiana counties. SB621 seeks to remove those few remaining county-wide seats because demographic shifts suggest they are trending democratic; and more to the point, with a supermajority in the General Assembly, because Republicans can.
These moves are nothing more than political bullying and it’s up to you to stop it. Please call your legislators and let them know your feelings on these issues.
City-County Councilman, At-Large