Monday, January 31, 2011

Are Women On the Council An Endangered Species?

Paul Ogden has posted his predictions for the coming elections - for both Mayor and Council. Let me mention up front as a disclaimer - I am a candidate for one of the 4 At-Large positions on the Democratic side.

I am not good at making predictions, so I'll leave that arena to Paul and others. But, I can count.

Currently there are 12 women who hold Council seats. Six are D's and six are R's. There are 25 district seats and 4 At-Large seats.

Not running again are Jackie Nytes and Doris Minton-McNeil, both D's. Men only, have signed up to run for those seats.

Ogden is predicting that Barb Malone (R) will not win her re-election bid.

Of the 5 most vulnerable district seats, according to Odgen's analysis, 4 are held by women (Janice McHenry, Marilyn Pfisterer, Susie Day, and Christine Scales). Mike McQuillen, who currently occupies the most vulnerable district seat, does have a woman opponent in Regina Marsh.

Unless the two parties put forth a huge effort in recruiting and backing viable women candidates, it is possible that the new Council could have as few as 5 or 6 women in it. This would be an especially poor result in an historic year where we elect Melina Kennedy as our first woman Mayor for the City of Indianapolis.

No-So and Library Funding on Committee Agendas This Week

There are a goodly number of City-County Council committee meetings this week - click here for list and links to individual public notices. Of particular note are meetings for the Economic Development committee and the Municipal Corporations committee. Neither committee has a regularly scheduled meeting this week, making both meetings specially called. The full Council meets next Monday, February 7.

The Economic Development committee will meet this Wednesday night, February 2, beginning at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City-County Building. Prop 292, 2010, which would allow $98 million in bonds to be floated and loaned to the developer of North of South, is the lone item on the agenda. This development could not find any financial institution that was willing to back it. Why the property taxes of the City of Indianapolis are being put at risk is beyond me. (for more details on how horrendously bad this deal is, see previous posts "MDC To Vote On No-So Deal Today", and "North of South - Details of the Proposed Deal")

On Thursday night, February 3, beginning at 5:30 pm in the Public Assembly Room, the Municipal Corporations committee will meet. The sole item on their agenda is Prop 18, 2011. This is a Council resolution urging the General Assembly to enable the use of County Option Income Tax revenues as a source of Library funding.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Three Monday Morning Meetings for Decatur School Board

A public notice has been posted on the MSD Decatur Township website, announcing three meetings Monday morning, January 31.

Beginning at 11 am, the Board will meet as a 'Board of Finance' - no topic or agenda item is mentioned in the notice. This continues the district's policy of letting the public know as little as possible about what the Superintendent and Board are up to.

Immediately following that meeting, the Board will take public testimony on the probationary status of the Gold Academy. The notice states:
In accordance with I.C.20-31-9-2 “The school corporation will hold a public hearing in which public testimony is received concerning the lack of improvement.”
And, finally, the Board will go into executive session to supposedly discuss
In accordance with I.C.5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(9) “To discuss a job performance evaluation of an individual employee.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

We Simply Must Deal With the Violence

Our City reels with the news that Officer David Moore will not recover from injuries he sustained when he pulled a car over for a routine traffic stop on Sunday. Officer Moore, by all accounts exemplified all that is right with IMPD, a great friend, and all round nice person. His generosity of spirit continues with the donation of his organs, so that others might live.

As a City, as a community, we simply must deal with the violence that plagues us. We are 26 days into this new year and already have seen 9 homicides. Officer Moore will be our tenth.

Perhaps Officer Moore can do us one more favor, and serve as the catalyst for turning the tide that besets us.

My condolences to Officer Moore's family, friends, those he protected, and those with whom he served.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Council to Meet Tonight

Tonight's meeting of the City-County Council will take up one piece of the North of South deal and referenda for Franklin Township and Perry Township Schools will be introduced. A new proposal regarding library funding, will also be introduced and voted on tonight. The agenda is posted here.

Prop 247, 2010, would refinance the existing Harding Street TIF bonds, increasing their principle in order to repay an old loan from Eli Lilly that now amounts to about $15 million. This money has been part of the larger North of South deal. If that deal goes forward, Lilly would give the $15 million to the developer.

To be introduced tonight are Prop 14, 2011, and Prop 15, 2011, which are the public questions to be included on the May ballot in Franklin and Perry Townships, respectively. Both public questions would raise taxes for extra operating funds for the school districts. Franklin Township's taxes would rise by $0.75 for each $100 of assessed value. Perry Township's taxes would rise by $0.3078 for each $100 of assessed value. Both would have to be approved by the respective electorate in May, and both would last for the next 7 years.

Perry Township school district was also talking about a referendum on new building projects. I do not know if that has been dropped, delayed, or will be introduced at the next Council meeting.

To be both introduced and voted on tonight, is Prop 18, 2011. This proposal is a Council resolution, that "urges the General Assembly to permit the City-County Council to use County Option Income Tax revenues to fund the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library".

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Decatur Township Schools Looking for New CFO

Well, once again, alert posters on this blog have shed light on what is happening in the MSD Decatur Township administration building.

Now posted on the district's website, is a job listing for Chief Financial Officer. The job is to be posted from January 21 through January 31. Robert Harris is still listed as the district's CFO on the site. The School Board held it's regular meeting on January 11 and a work session on January 13. Posters to this blog inquired after the business manager beginning on January 12.

Good job, alert poster !

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chicagoan Gets Ticket While Feeding Meter

This one is from January 3, 2011, but I just ran across it. While NBC Chicago was interviewing a man about the recent increase in meter rates to $5.00 per hour, he was ticketed. Interesting interview, to say the least.

I'd embed the video, but the station's website doesn't seem to allow it.

Reviewing a few comments on this and other Chicago stories, it seems that the parking meters are now known as "Daley boxes" and feeding them money is known as the "Daley grind". "Ballard boxes" would certainly work down here in Indy. Any further suggestions?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

No-So Goes Before Economic Development Committee Tonight

The City-County Council's Economic Development Committee will take up Prop 292 again tonight. This proposal would float $98 million in bonds, secured with property taxes generated by the consolidated downtown TIF district, and loan the proceeds to Buckingham Cos. for the development of 11 acres just north of Eli Lilly's Corporate center, called North of South.

The meeting will begin at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City-County Council.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

From the website:

Martin Luther King's Acceptance Speech, on the occasion of the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, December 10, 1964

Your Majesty, Your Royal Highness, Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen:

I accept the Nobel Prize for Peace at a moment when 22 million Negroes of the United States of America are engaged in a creative battle to end the long night of racial injustice. I accept this award on behalf of a civil rights movement which is moving with determination and a majestic scorn for risk and danger to establish a reign of freedom and a rule of justice. I am mindful that only yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, our children, crying out for brotherhood, were answered with fire hoses, snarling dogs and even death. I am mindful that only yesterday in Philadelphia, Mississippi, young people seeking to secure the right to vote were brutalized and murdered. And only yesterday more than 40 houses of worship in the State of Mississippi alone were bombed or burned because they offered a sanctuary to those who would not accept segregation. I am mindful that debilitating and grinding poverty afflicts my people and chains them to the lowest rung of the economic ladder.

Therefore, I must ask why this prize is awarded to a movement which is beleaguered and committed to unrelenting struggle; to a movement which has not won the very peace and brotherhood which is the essence of the Nobel Prize.

After contemplation, I conclude that this award which I receive on behalf of that movement is a profound recognition that nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral question of our time - the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence and oppression. Civilization and violence are antithetical concepts. Negroes of the United States, following the people of India, have demonstrated that nonviolence is not sterile passivity, but a powerful moral force which makes for social transformation. Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace, and thereby transform this pending cosmic elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. If this is to be achieved, man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

The tortuous road which has led from Montgomery, Alabama to Oslo bears witness to this truth. This is a road over which millions of Negroes are travelling to find a new sense of dignity. This same road has opened for all Americans a new era of progress and hope. It has led to a new Civil Rights Bill, and it will, I am convinced, be widened and lengthened into a super highway of justice as Negro and white men in increasing numbers create alliances to overcome their common problems.

I accept this award today with an abiding faith in America and an audacious faith in the future of mankind. I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities of history. I refuse to accept the idea that the "isness" of man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal "oughtness" that forever confronts him. I refuse to accept the idea that man is mere flotsom and jetsom in the river of life, unable to influence the unfolding events which surround him. I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.

I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of thermonuclear destruction. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant. I believe that even amid today's mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow. I believe that wounded justice, lying prostrate on the blood-flowing streets of our nations, can be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men. I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality and freedom for their spirits. I believe that what self-centered men have torn down men other-centered can build up. I still believe that one day mankind will bow before the altars of God and be crowned triumphant over war and bloodshed, and nonviolent redemptive good will proclaim the rule of the land. "And the lion and the lamb shall lie down together and every man shall sit under his own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid." I still believe that We Shall overcome!

This faith can give us courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds and our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, we will know that we are living in the creative turmoil of a genuine civilization struggling to be born.

Today I come to Oslo as a trustee, inspired and with renewed dedication to humanity. I accept this prize on behalf of all men who love peace and brotherhood. I say I come as a trustee, for in the depths of my heart I am aware that this prize is much more than an honor to me personally.

Every time I take a flight, I am always mindful of the many people who make a successful journey possible - the known pilots and the unknown ground crew.

So you honor the dedicated pilots of our struggle who have sat at the controls as the freedom movement soared into orbit. You honor, once again, Chief Lutuli of South Africa, whose struggles with and for his people, are still met with the most brutal expression of man's inhumanity to man. You honor the ground crew without whose labor and sacrifices the jet flights to freedom could never have left the earth. Most of these people will never make the headline and their names will not appear in Who's Who. Yet when years have rolled past and when the blazing light of truth is focused on this marvellous age in which we live - men and women will know and children will be taught that we have a finer land, a better people, a more noble civilization - because these humble children of God were willing to suffer for righteousness' sake.

I think Alfred Nobel would know what I mean when I say that I accept this award in the spirit of a curator of some precious heirloom which he holds in trust for its true owners - all those to whom beauty is truth and truth beauty - and in whose eyes the beauty of genuine brotherhood and peace is more precious than diamonds or silver or gold.

From Les Prix Nobel en 1964, Editor Göran Liljestrand, [Nobel Foundation], Stockholm, 1965

Friday, January 14, 2011

Following the State Legislature From Your Living Room

If you'd like to keep up with what is happening in the 2011 General Assembly, there are options you have to do so from your living room and with a schedule that fits yours.

First, the General Assembly's website offers streaming media from both chambers when they are in session, and from key committee hearings. There are also archives of past broadcasts. All are accessible from .

A list of all bills is available by topic (click here).

A list of all bills still alive by number is also available (click here).

When you see a bill whose topic interests you from either of the two lists, click on the link and you can get tons of information on that particular bill. This information includes the latest version of the bill, its progress through the session and how folks voted along the way, and all amendments offered. What I have found to be most useful are 'fiscal impact statements', which are put together by the Legislative Services Agency. The LSA summarizes the key elements of each bill and analyzes the costs and/or revenues to state and local government for each element. I very often find that their summary makes the bill itself far more understandable, and it certainly points out key elements you might otherwise miss by trying to scan the bill itself. They will update their analysis as each bill is amended, so always pick the latest version of the fiscal impact statement.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Decatur School Superintendent Gets Light Penalty For Drunk Driving

The Decatur School Board met last night and gave Superintendent a very light penalty for his drunk driving arrest in mid-December. WRTV's Kara Kenney covered the meeting and filed her report, entitled "Board Tweaks Policies After Superintendent's DUI Arrest".

Kenney reports:
Board members decided that Stinson will have to undergo an alcohol and drug assessment at his expense, in addition to community service, with a focus on making good decisions and no automatic renewal of his contract. Any further alcohol incidents will result in automatic termination.
Wiseman also said the board is looking at morality clauses for employees.

"We're working on putting that in our board policy and with the school, as well as all the administration and the teachers," said Wiseman.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Indianapolis Business Journal Hits a Grand Slam

If you enjoy thoughtful and thought-provoking discussions on important topics, and you do not ordinarily get the Indianapolis Business Journal, I would suggest you run to your local newspaper retailer and get yourself a copy of the latest issue - today.

The IBJ didn't just hit a home run, they hit a grand slam. With 18 separate editorials on government, education, economic development, and more, the IBJ has elevated the discourse. If only we could discuss the facts and philosophies all the time, without devolving into partisan sniping, so much more could be accomplished in our City, State, and Country.

If you have time to read only one, I would suggest Aaron Renn's piece, "Indianapolis must reinvent itself -- again". (link will only work if you have a subscription to the IBJ)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Flurry of City County Council Committee Meetings

This week will be a full one for committees of the City-County Council. The public notices can be found here.

The Metropolitan Development Committee meets Monday night at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City County Building. On their agenda is Prop 298, which would do a couple of things. It would move the business of towing of vehicles to the Department of Code Enforcement to contract out, and authorize the Code Enforcement Officers of that Department to have vehicles declared a public nuisance and be towed. Currently, only Police Officers are authorized to do so. The language of the proposed ordinance seems to imply that instead of multiple towing companies, each contracted for its services within specific geographic 'zones', there would be only one towing company awarded the contract for the entire City.

The Rules Committee meets Tuesday night - same time, same place. Their agenda has two particular proposals that caught my eye. First is Prop 225, introduced back in August. It would require that contracts for all construction projects over $250,000 for the City or any of its agencies and Municipal Corporations, be awarded only to companies that meet certain criteria. Among those criteria is the requirement that 67% of their workforce be Marion County residents, and 60% of the subcontractors must have businesses that are owned and based in Marion County. The companies must also have 15% of its workforce from an apprentice or training program, all of whom must be City and County residents. After that is Prop 377, which would allow donations to the City at the same time as taxpayers pay their property taxes. The Committee will also get updated on the fiscal impact of the Police and Fire contracts.

The Committee on Committees meets right after the Rules Committee, in the President's Conference Room. The agenda only mentions 'Committee Assignments'.

On Wednesday night, the North of South deal comes before the Economic Development Committee. This committee will meet at 5:30 pm, in room 260 of the City-County Building. Curiously enough, Prop 247 has been moved from the Admin & Finance Committee, where it was originally assigned. This proposal would refinance the 1991 Harding Street TIF bonds and increase the principle enough to repay Lilly for an associated loan of $15 million. The total new principle would become $45 million (the original principle back in 1991 was $35 million). This is part of the North of South deal, in that this money has been earmarked for Lilly to give to the developer as part of their financing. Prop 292, which contains the meat of the North of South deal, is noted to be "For purposes of public testimony only. No vote is expected at this meeting.". This proposal would allow the City to float $98 million in bonds, secured by property tax revenues from the consolidated downtown TIF district. This money would be 'loaned' to the No-So developer. All property taxes derived from the development, would be applied to the repayment of the loan - resulting in a 10 year 100% abatement for the developer. You will recall that no bank found this development sound enough for a loan. The City would become a first mortgage holder on the project and assume the risk. The developer only has to come up with $6 million cash for a project that is claimed to be valued at over $155 million.

Thursday night, the Public Works Committee rounds out the week, with Prop 393, an interlocal agreement with the Town of Fishers for road work within Marion County, at our mutual border. Among other things, Fishers would be authorized to use eminent domain within Marion County, only to acquire right of way for improvements to the intersection of 96th Street and Allisonville Road. This committee will meet at 5:30 pm in room 260 of the City-County Building.

Decatur School Board To Meet Tuesday & Thursday Nights

The MSD Decatur Township School Board will meet this Tuesday, January 11, first in Executive Session at 5:30 pm, followed by the regular meeting at 7:00 pm. The usual, uninformative, agenda can be found here. The Mooresville Decatur Times has indicated that the Executive Session will include discussion of Superintendent Don Stinson's DUI and possible penalties.

The Board has also scheduled a work session for Thursday night, beginning at 6:30 pm. An equally uninformative agenda (here) states only one item, "1. Facility Rental".

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Goldsmith Called Before NY City Council To Explain Himself

A friend of mine circulated a New York Times article involving Indy's former Mayor, Stephen Goldsmith that I found quite interesting. The article by reporter David Chen is titled "Hands-On Job Has Deputy Mayor Taking His Lumps". It begins:

When Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith announced the demotion of about 100 senior city officials last fall, he emphasized that he would not involve himself in the fine details of how the personnel changes were carried out.

A reporter, incredulous, asked him, “They report to you, don’t they?”

Mr. Goldsmith described his role differently: “I’m their liaison.”

Mr. Goldsmith, 64, occupies perhaps the most hands-on job at City Hall: deputy mayor for operations, with responsibility for police, fire, sanitation and nearly a dozen other agencies that provide the services most visible to ordinary New Yorkers. But he has often seemed quite distant.

During the Christmastime blizzard, he was at his Washington town house, uninvolved in the critical conversations about whether to declare a snow emergency, and writing “Good snow work by sanitation” on Twitter the evening of Dec. 26.

On Monday, most New Yorkers will get their first look at the still obscure deputy mayor, when he is called before the City Council to explain what went wrong during the blizzard. But some current and former city officials are already suggesting that Mr. Goldsmith, who was the mayor of Indianapolis in the 1990s and until last year had never lived or worked in New York, is the wrong man for his high-pressure position. His immediate predecessor, Edward Skyler, was so maniacal about making the city work he was called “Batman” and once tackled a would-be mugger in Midtown Manhattan.

Bill de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, said Mr. Goldsmith reminded him of an outside management consultant.

“I think he’s very intelligent and very steeped in the work of government,” Mr. de Blasio said. “But this seems to be an abstract enterprise for him: it’s not his city, and he’ll be here as long as he wants to be here. There’s something about City Hall that’s supposed to be more than a job. It’s supposed to be a lifestyle and a total commitment.”
Goldsmith's name is often tied with Mayor Ballard's deals that enrich the well connected at the expense of the public. Goldsmith not only has counseled Ballard on Indianapolis matters, but, if the rumors are true, made huge sums of money off Ballard's bad deals at the same time.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Monkey Business With Stinson's Contracts - Why?

There were two contracts for Decatur Schools Superintendent Don Stinson for last school year. One was provided to the Indianapolis Star and published by them as part of their Superintendent compensation database. I downloaded that file and I have reposted it here. The Star database continues to contain their summary of each of the contracts, but the links to the actual contracts no longer work. The summary page for Stinson's contract, shows a base salary of $189,287.41, and scrolling down, it shows an annuity of $40,000. This is also what is contained in the contract I downloaded from a year ago.

The school district, however, is now supplying reporters with a different contract from last year. WRTV posts the first page here. It shows a base salary of $302,433.41 and an annuity (VALIC) of $55,500. The contract also states that he will be paid in 24 pays of $12,601.39, which adds up to $302,433.36 -- within pennies of the stated base pay, not that amount minus the cost of the annuity.

The district now claims that the number listed as Stinson's base pay, is in fact more than just the base pay. They are claiming the following items go into that figure.

base pay -- $189,287.41
health insurance -- $19,812.00
disability insurance -- $834.00
vehicle allowance -- $12,000.00
bonus -- $20,000.00
incentive pay -- $5,000.00
annuity -- $55,500.00

Several questions arise. Why were there two contracts for last year? Why is the annuity different in them? Why would you report, on one version of the contract, a base pay that is inflated? Which figure was supplied to the Teacher Retirement Fund? (salary is the dominant component for calculating retirement benefits from the Fund) How much did the district pay into the Teacher Retirement Fund to purchase the two years of service also required by his contract? (this is about 15% of salary, so it is a significant amount of money) How much did Stinson take home every payday? Was he being paid monthly for a bonus he had not yet earned? Was he receiving money in his paycheck that duplicated the amount the district was paying into an annuity for him, as the figures on the newly release contract imply?

Now, on to the new contract, which you can view here. The District is claiming that new contract is patterned after the newly release version of the old contract. Thus, they say, while the contract states that his base pay is $275,539.41, it is really not his base pay. His base pay, they claim, is $189,287.41, unchanged from last year. They claim that $275,539.41 is composed of these items:

base pay -- $189,287.41
health insurance -- $19,812.00
disability insurance -- $834.00
vehicle allowance -- $12,000.00
bonus -- $20,000.00
incentive pay -- $6,500.00
annuity -- $27,106.00

More questions arise. Why put in a contract, an inflated number for base pay? Is the contract legally binding as written, or is it legally binding as claimed? The 2nd and 3rd page of this contract shows all of these items except base pay, plus other items like the purchase of additional years of service for Stinson from the Teacher Retirement Fund. These pages are the addendum to the contract. This addendum begins:
The Board of Education of the MSD of Decatur Township and Donald H. Stinson has entered into a Regular Teacher's Contract for the employment of Donald H.
Stinson as the Superintendent of Schools for the MSD of Decatur Township.

The Board and Superintendent now desire to supplement the provisions contained in the contract and agree to the addendum as follows:

The items listed in the addendum SUPPLEMENT the contract. If the District's claims are true, then they have a contract that first inflates the base pay, and then adds all of those extra items in yet again. What would a court enforce as payment to Stinson? What are the taxpayers on the hook for? What is the real size of Stinson's paychecks?

Of all of these questions - the most important are:

Why were there two very different contracts for last school year?
If their claims are true, why are they inflating the value of the base pay on the contract?
What are the taxpayers on the hook for - what the contract says, or what the district claims the contract really says?

No Morals Clause in Stinson's Contract

WRTV reporter, Kara Kenney, had a piece last night about Decatur Schools Superintendent, Don Stinson, and his contract.

Her report centered on Stinson's $1000 per month and free gasoline portion of his contract. She starts with:
Some are questioning why a superintendent who had his license suspended after a DUI arrest is still getting a vehicle allowance from the district.
She also notes that there is no morals clause in Stinson's contract, unlike contracts with other Superintendents in the area. This means that the Board can not fire him for cause, no matter what.
But some in the community have questioned Stinson's compensation and why his contract did not include a morality clause, protecting the district if officials break the law.
She also reports that he did take a salary cut, but only 9%, not the promised 15%.

Last year, Decatur Township Schools grappled with a $5 million budget deficit, prompting Stinson to take a 15 percent cut to his base salary.

However, when factoring in his total income from salary and benefits, Stinson's compensation was cut more like 9 percent from $302,433 to $275,539, according to records provided to 6News.

District spokesman Robin Gregory said the cut came out of Stinson's annuities, which is the district's contribution to his retirement.

Multiple contracts and funny business with them has led to the difference between Kenney's report and my last post "Another Lie From Decatur School District - This Time Its a Whopper !"

More on that in my next post.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Another Lie From Decatur School District - This Time its a Whopper !

Faithful readers of this blog will remember the ''fiscal restructuring" that MSD Decatur Township went through this past spring. Teachers laid off, one elementary school closed entirely, other employees let go, hours cut back, and health insurance benefits cut. You will remember the back and forth between Superintendent Don Stinson and his ever faithful rubber stamping Board of Education. Stinson said, 'please cut my salary by 20% as a sign of solidarity with our new fiscal reality'. The ever faithful Board replied, 'but, Don, its just too much of a reduction. Can you live with a 15% cut?' And Stinson thought about it for a second and said, 'why, yes. Yes, I think I can.'

Now if you'd like to guess what Stinson's salary reduction was and what his new base salary weighs in on, don't scroll down yet. His base for the last school year was $189,287. So, a 15% cut would amount to $28,393 for a final base salary of $160,894. When you are ready with your guess at his new base salary, scroll down.

Superintendent Don Stinson's new base salary for the 2010-2011 school year is (drum roll, please), $275,539. He didn't get any 15% pay cut. He enjoyed a whopping $86,252 INCREASE. That amounts to a 45.6% RAISE.

I have posted his old contract and new contract on GoogleDocs. If you can't access them and would like me to email you copies, please contact me at

You can fool all of the people some of the time - some of the people all of the time - but, you can't fool all of the people all of the time.

[edited to add: For those of you who are interested, Stinson's base salary alone translates into $1331 per day actually worked. That is a 260 day contract minus the holidays, personal days, vacation, etc. Its far more money in pocket when you add in the rest of the perks, like $19,812 cash instead of health insurance, a $27,106 contributed to an annuity, $12,000 vehicle allowance, $6500 incentives, and $20,000 bonus. These items alone add another $85,418 a year or $412 a day.]

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Don Welsh Leaving For Chicago

The IBJ is reporting that ICVA executive director, Don Welsh, is leaving Indy for a similar post in Chicago. Welsh came here in 2008, from Seattle. A search for his replacement is to begin immediately. Michael Browning, Chairman of the ICVA Board of Directors, is quoted as saying:

“With Indianapolis’ strong tourism product, including the expanding convention center and the coup of hosting the [2012] Super Bowl, we know this position will be extremely sought-after by numerous top-level executives both in Indianapolis and across the country,” Browning said.

Not in the report, but true none the less - During this past year, Welsh was able to secure millions more taxpayer funding for the ICVA, even as the public library was forced to cut its budget and curtail their hours.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Council Business Light This Week

Two of the three City-County Council committee meetings scheduled this week have been cancelled. The Admin & Finance and Public Safety will not meet this week and not again until after the next full Council meeting on January 24. The Parks committee meeting will be held as scheduled.

I looked to see which proposals are pending before the first two committees. Their further postponement could be an indicator of disinterest, behind the scenes negotiations, or lack of urgency to compel a meeting.

There was one pending proposal before each committee that caught my eye.

Admin & Finance will not consider Prop 247 this week. This proposal would authorize the refinancing of the 1991 Harding Street TIF bonds. An important aim of this refinancing is to raise $15 million in new money to repay a Lilly loan to the City that was tied to this TIF district. This is part of the bigger effort to loan a private developer roughly $98 million for the North of South project. This proposal was introduced back on September 20, 2010. Its getting kind of long in the tooth - suggesting an interesting story somewhere in the City-County Building.

The other is Prop 368, introduced on December 6, 2010, and assigned to the Public Safety committee. I tried to view the committee meeting on December 8, to see what the issues were, but, the WCTY archives are not working at this time. This proposal would replace the current 11 member Crime Prevention Advisory Board with a 5 member Crime Prevention Grants Board to continue the job of issuing grants based on a competitive application process. The differences between the two appear to be the number of appointees from the Council equaling the number from the Mayor's office, the grantee list proposed to go to the Council's Public Safety committee for review (its not clear if it is binding review or not), and the job of monitoring the performance of the grantees would move under the City Controller and away from a service contracted by the Board. Not having access to the WCTY archives, I can't say if there is some hiccup with this proposal, or no urgency pushing the matter through.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Just For Fun

Taking a rest from the serious, I am going to post one just for the fun of it - to celebrate a New Year ! I copied this off a website years ago, but I don't know which one to attribute it to. There are many, many versions of this. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


1. Sit on sofa. Pick up cat and cradle it in the crook of your elbow as though you were going to give a bottle to a baby. Talk softly to it.

2. With right hand, position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. (be patient) As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow. Drop pill into mouth. Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.

3. Pick the pill up off the floor and go get the cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process. Sit on floor in kitchen, wrap arm around cat as before, drop pill in mouth. Let go of cat, noticing the direction it runs.

4. Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away. Scoot across floor to pick up pill, and go find the cat. Bring it back into the kitchen. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Drop pill into mouth. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5. Pry claws from back legs out of your arm. Go get the cat, pick up half-dissolved pill from floor and drop it into garbage can.

6. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of closet. Call spouse from backyard. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from curtain rod, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Doulton figures from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.

8. Get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9. Check label to make sure pill not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply Band-Aid to spouse's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10. Retrieve cat from neighbor's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band.

11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw T-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12. Call fire department to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take another pill from foil wrap.

13. Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed, force cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet steak. Hold head vertically and pour one cup of water down throat to wash pill down.

14. Get spouse to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call at furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15. Get last pill from bottle. Go into bathroom and get a fluffy towel. Stay in the bathroom with the cat, and close the door.

16. Sit on bathroom floor, wrap towel around kitty, leaving only his head exposed. Cradle kitty in the crook of your arm, and pick up pill off of counter.

17. Retrieve cat from top of shower door (you didn't know that cats can jump 5 feet straight up in the air, did you?), and wrap towel around it a little tighter, making sure its paws can't come out this time. With fingers at either side of its jaw, pry it open and pop pill into mouth. Quickly close mouth (his, not yours).

18. Sit on floor with cat in your lap, stroking it under the chin and talking gently to it for at least a half hour, while the pill dissolves.

19. Unwrap towel, open bathroom door. Wash off scratches in warm soapy water, comb your hair, and go find something to occupy your time for 7-1/2 hours.

20. Arrange for SPCA to get cat and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.


1. Wrap pill in bacon, cheese or peanut butter. Make him beg.

Happy New Year !

2011 -- I hope its a great year for you and your family.

Happy New Year !!!!