Friday, April 26, 2013

SB 621 - Additional Changes, and, Interesting Questions Arise About the MDC

SB 621, which tries to extend the life of Republican rule over Marion County, has passed out of the Conference Committee changed from the form it had when entering that body.  The body itself was changed, substituting Republican Senator Waltz for Democrat Senator Breaux, and Republican Representative Speedy for Democrat Representative Bartlett.  Having shed any semblance of bipartisanship, the all Republican group passed their version of a 'compromise' piece of legislation.

All sections of the bill now clearly apply only to Marion County.  As we all expected, the 4 At-Large Council seats are again to be eliminated.  The Controller can now 'only' change the budgets of all Departments and Offices if the revenues drop from the levels expected when the budget was passed and 'only' twice a year.  The County Commissioners still lose their two appointees to the Metropolitan Development Commission, but one is shifted to the Mayor and one to the Council, giving the Mayor 5 and the Council 4 appointments.  Lake and Allen Counties are struck from the burden of having to count all absentee ballots at a central location - now only Marion County must do so.  And, Marion County's Township Boards drop from 7 members to 5 at the next election.

Interestingly enough is the question of when the MDC appointments shift.  According to state law, the term of these appointments may be from 1 to 3 years, as determined by the appointing body.  Here is the law, with the MDC portion highlighted:
IC 36-7-4-218
Membership of commission; terms and removal of citizen members
Sec. 218. (a) When an initial term of office of a citizen member expires, each new appointment of a citizen member is:
(1) for a term of four (4) years (in the case of a municipal, county, or area plan commission);
(2) for a term of three (3) years (in the case of a metropolitan plan commission); or

(3) for a term of one (1), two (2), or three (3) years, as designated by the appointing authority (in the case of the metropolitan development commission). 
A member serves until his successor is appointed and qualified. A member is eligible for reappointment.

So, one outstanding question is, when the Marion County Commissioners appointed Cornelius Brown and Ed Mahern, for what term did they appoint them?

The new section regarding the appointing bodies takes effect on July 1, 2013.  But at what time would the Mayor and the Council get to begin taking over those two appointments?

The shift of MDC appointments has always been the worst of the Republican power grab, and will leave Indianapolis and it Citizens even more at the mercy of Mayor Vaughn and his rapacious appetite for giving away taxpayer money to favored developers, regardless of how many employee contracts he has to gut or how many cops and firefighters he has to lay off to afford doing so.

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