Friday, October 25, 2013

Council ROC Review Committee Includes District Councillor and Original Lease Proposal Co-Author, Ben Hunter

The Council has taken on the task of investigating the lease agreement for the Regional Operations Center.  Unfortunately, they include on the ten member committee, Councillor Ben Hunter, a co-author of the Council Proposal that authorized the lease and the home Councillor of the ROC itself.

The others appointed are: Councillors Freeman, Gray, Hickman, Mansfield, Miller, Osili, Pfisterer, Sandlin and Simpson.

The announcement, put out on behalf of the Council and listing Simpson as the media contact is as follows:
Indianapolis– On Monday, October 14, 2013, the City-County Council unanimously passed a resolution establishing a special investigating committee regarding the lease for the Regional Operations Center (ROC), located at 401 North Shadeland Avenue (the old Eastgate Consumer Mall facility), entered into by the Department of Public Safety (DPS).  Council Resolution No. 63, 2013 (Proposal No. 332, 2013) calls for an investigation to be conducted examining why DPS entered into an allegedly unfavorable long-term lease, whether or not the information provided to the Council with regard to the lease was complete and accurate, whether there are other such leases with unfavorable terms entered into by DPS or other departments and agencies, and whether the City has made other formal or informal commitments relating to the ROC lease that have not yet been disclosed. 
Earlier this year, it came to the Council’s attention that the Office of Corporation Counsel and the City Controller both allegedly refused to sign the original lease, which contains many unusual provisions that are highly unfavorable to the City.  The current Director of DPS, Troy Riggs, recently ordered the evacuation of the facility due to allegedly unsafe conditions, and there are reports that the drawings of the facility originally submitted to the Council are substantially different from the facility the owner was told to build, and that DPS may have entered into additional “confidential agreements” with the owners. 
Following passage of the resolution, the Council appointed a ten-member bi-partisan committee made up of the following members of the Council:  Aaron Freeman, Monroe Gray, Jr., Pamela Hickman, Benjamin Hunter, Angela Mansfield, Jeff Miller, Vop Osili, Marilyn Pfisterer, Jack Sandlin, and Joseph Simpson.  Councillor Joseph Simpson, who was designated by the President of the Council to serve as committee chair, stated, “This committee process provides an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding about how the ROC lease was put into place; and, more importantly, to understand how City business practices and related legislative policies can be strengthened to avoid a similar situation in the future.” 
The committee will hold its first meeting on Monday, November 4, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 260 on the second floor of the City-County Building, 200 E. Washington Street. 

8 comments:

Society of Socrates said...

I believe that Mr. Hunter will be fair and objective on this committee.

Had Enough Indy? said...

The committee should not include any of those involved in setting up the lease - including Hunter.

Anonymous said...

Heck, maybe it shouldn't include anyone on the Council...

Had Enough Indy? said...

I agree with you Anon. I'd rather the Prosecutor's office handled the investigation. The Council was involved, the Mayor was involved - this needs to be a clean investigation that doesn't muddy the waters so as to poison an indictment - should an indictment be warranted.

Anonymous said...

The problem with that is that if you assume a crime was committed, you want a special prosecutor, not a democratic elected prosecutor, to avoid partisan politics. If you assume a crime wasn't committed, of simply don't know, which is more likely, you leave it to the council to start the ball rolling, and assume the two sides are more than capable of crating a record on what happened, which may end up getting you to a special prosecutor anyway.

Had Enough Indy? said...

The Council cannot investigate itself. They can very easily compromise an independent investigation. Certainly, having one of the authors of the Council proposal on the need for the lease, sit on the committee says all you need to say about the independence of this group.

Anonymous said...

Public servants must not only avoid conflicts of interest. They are also obligated to avoid any appearance of any such conflicts. The present makeup of this committee totally ignores that concept. No result of this investigation should ever be acceptable if the makeup of the committee remains intact.

Had Enough Indy? said...

Very well said.