Wobbly on township government

February 12, 2009
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State legislators seem to be looking for excuses to dodge the recommendation in the Kernan-Shepard report to eliminate township-level government.

This wasnâ??t unexpected. Township officials often are close friends and political allies of legislators, so the legislators donâ??t want to send them to unemployment lines.

Whatâ??s curious is why voters havenâ??t demanded more from their senators and representatives. Most Hoosiers are hunkered down and trying to save money, so why wouldnâ??t legislators get ear-fulls about government doing its part to streamline?

Have voters decided theyâ??re willing to pay more for government rather than risk a government they fear would become too centralized?
  • I doubt that many Hoosiers are even aware of the tremendous waste that goes on with our current system, let alone know that our legislators have been presented with a clear plan to start fixing it. The Kernan-Shepard report's recommendations would strengthen our state's financial position, and legislators worried that a few cronies might lose their do-nothing jobs is ridiculous. We all need to be better about contacting our representatives and telling them what we the people want, instead of just living with the result of legislative inaction and self-interest.
  • The only reason I can think of is people must think that because everyone is tightening their family budget in the current economic recession, that the legislature might actually do somehting to help the taxpayer. Or maybe they think the legislature will do something stupid no matter what we try to tell them.
  • Which came first, the Government or the people?

    in other words, is Government a result of the joining of the people or are the people the result of the government's rule?
  • What nonsense.

    Kernan Shepard is NOT a panacea for all situations. Take a little county like Martin county with 10k residents. Well, hell yes it makes sense to eliminate township governement there, but not in say - Marion or Allen or Lake....with hundreds of thousands of dollars and millions of dollars at stake.

    Besides, all it would offer in large counties is FAR more power in one persons hand. Take the Assesors Office in Marion County it will now be .... County Wide Assesor Greg Bowes! Have you met this guy? He couldn't even run his own solo practice as a lawyer, now he is in charge of ALL assesoring in Marion County?! Now the word on the street is that he wants to run for Prosecutor? This is scary stuff people. don't be reeled in by the PROMISE of cutting governement spending and raising efficiency.

    If you have a problem with township officials now, then GET IN THEIR FACE and do something about it! Kernan Shepard will do nothing in the way of savings. If it will - show me where!
  • Da Hooey:

    I know this will shock you, but I agree with you 99%! The 1% is only the wishful thinking that this strategy would actually work. We only have to look at the concentration of power in DC and how it will now get worse to see what we can lead ourselves into. Let's not let local government get any more out of control than it already is.

    As for DC, take the Washington Insiders, the Congressional Minions, and the Elected Elite and put them all together - what do you end up with - (to borrow a musical act title) - INSANE CLOWN POSSE!
  • Dang! :eek:

    Now, brother berwick, you DO understand that the D's are the ones against township consolidation, right? Are you telling me you are a D?
  • Hooey,

    Doesn't really matter anymore, Elephant or Jackass. Both parties have managed to assume the personality and focus of the latter. I used to be a Rep through and through, but I can't see the future in either any more. For any politician to say they have our best interests at heart (see Obama) for example, I'm instantly skeptical. You talk a lot about our Mayor. If I had been forced to make a guess, I would have said he was an honest man without a clue. Then again the former Mayor had a clue, but I don't think he was an honest man. Is there really any degree of integrity left in politicians? I've grown weary of trying to find one.

    And when we face elections, especially at the national level, look at the choices we have to make: Bush/Gore (oh boy, I could hardly wait to vote), Bush/Kerry (the Dems had a true opportunity to unseat George and the best they could come up with was Kerry?), Obama/McCain (I voted for McCain only because no one else had a chance against Obama and I could NEVER trust the O, EVER!!! We'll find out soon enough.

    Local politics, sheesh, mini examples of holding onto power. Am I a D, no call me a Libertarian if you want and if we, the people, don't find a way to corral the evil and corrupt that rules Washington and soon, we're toast! Let's start with Frank and Dodd. Those two have no excuse for their oversights.
  • So, let me get this right? You want 3 layers of local government (township, city and county) yet you don't want big government? So you would rather have more government instead?

    And give me a break... there are many larger cities across the US that are bigger than Indianapolis that only have city and county government levels... since you feel that it wouldn't work in large counties like Marion, Allen and Lake.

    Township government is out-dated and no longer needed.
  • Indy Worker:

    All I am asking is this:

    Show me how consolidation works. Does it save taxpayer money? Does it do away with corruption? Does it make government more efficient?

    show me
  • Most townships in Indiana are very small. Population less than 15,000. Many far less than that. Perhaps in counties of 20K to 100K you could consildate township government. But in Marion County, all but two townships are larger than 75,000. Five are over 100K. You combine the function of townships, especially emergency poor relief into a super agency serving 900K and tell me there will be savings? Then you elminate some county elected officials (Coroner, Deed Recorder, Surveor, Assessor, Auditor) and replace them with professional staff. You think those people will be satisfied making the low salaries those elected folks currently make? No, they'll all want 90,000 plus (what Deputy Mayor, etc get). This is a bad idea pushed not by the people but by special interests (state chamber, realators, firefighters, the major Indy corporations). No good government group (League Women Voters) is sponsorsing this. The big boys want bigger government. Is that what Indiana and Indianapolis needs more of? Do you want more power in the hands of a mayor that can't clean streets after a bog snowfall, already has a $8 million budget hole and that's before the CIB disaster?
  • Elimination of Township government works no matter the County size. Township level governments are a holdover from the 1800's when it could take half a day to ride a horse from one end of the County to the County Seat. That made sense to offer services closer by. But since there is probably not a corner of a county more than 20 minutes away from the seat of county government, and most have internet access that means you are seconds away, why hold on to them? It makes no sense even in Marion County to maintain 9 sets of offices, 9 sets of staffs and 9 different ways of doing things.

    The only County offices that should be elected are County Executive and Council. Why should we care what political party your Sheriff, Coroner or Auditor is from? I would hope a dem sheriff would uphold the law the same as a republican. We have seen what happens when you vote for a party, and not a person. Marion County gets a Coroner who is not qualified, who admits he gets sick at autopsies, and refuses to meet the minimum standards set forth by law. Want another example? How about the Marion County Surveyor. She was a former nun who admitted she had no idea what the Surveyor did. She ran to create social change.....from the Surveyors office? She had to hire people to do a job she should have known. Why did people vote for her? because she had a D after her name. Did you know there is no requirement that Sheriff have any police experience? No requirement that the Coroner be a medical professional, or that your auditor or treasurer have any math knowledge. You could get a 8th grade drop out collecting your taxes.

    How many other levels of government have multiple officials in the executive branch? A single executive works for President of the US. It works for Governor, it works for cities, large and small. Why should counties have 3 people who have to run a County? Especially 3 part timers. So if you need an answer, most likely they are at their day job. If you have a disaster like the June floods, the commissioners either have to take unpaid time off their real jobs to oversee the disaster, or they have to rely on underlings who may not be able to make decisions on their own.
  • Indyman:

    I appreciate your comments, and certainly understand your frustration.

    First, the D's are not the only party that has brought undesirable candidates into office just by riding coattails.

    Second, once again, the IDEA of consolidation SOUNDS great, but can anyone please show me how this has happened and actually showed a savings?

    The danger in all of this is the consolidation of power into one office. Can you imagine Ballard with any more power than he has allready? The guy can hardly construct a sentence, much less an origianl idea. And what if Bob Grand got more control than he already has? Watch what he does with the CIB.

    Anyways, it just sorta sucks all around, and I think we have better things to work on, like banning public smoking. Now there is something that will save us millions opf dollars a year.
  • Da Hooey,

    Didn't mean to blame only the d's, but they have some of the most over the top examples.

    I am not sure of specific examples of cost savings, but the thought of consolidating 9 offices into 1 seems to have some savings. Eliminating a layer of government would seem to have cost savings. Bringing in hired professionals would seem to provide, if not an immediate cost savings, a long term savings over elected officials.

    We put an awful lot of power in the hands of the President of the US. We put an awful lot of power in the hands of the Governor. We put a lot of power in the hands of Mayors. Be it right or wrong, the exec branch of power has always been designed for one person. A three person committee is an unwieldy proposition.
  • reguardless if it is the D's the R's the I's or any other party which has caused the current problems at hand, We just need to invest in what we feel is best for the society as a whole.

    What might work in one township might not work in another. What might work in one state, might not fly in the next. My question is, Will extra layers actually be good for the economy right now? Will Less be better? Yes, less means less spending, but what are the concequences of having less people putting their two cents in?

    This is to IndyMan - For every D's over the top example, there is an equal but (sometimes) opposite R example. Do you consider yourself a little more Right (as in party lines Right/Left) than the Democrats? Not to offend, but by your last comment, you do appear that way. Nothing is wrong with that, it is just People need to keep their mind open when viewing the Government.

    Left, Right - Liberal, Conservative - Socialist, Facist - they all draw lines and each are more hurtful than the last. Lets do what our mothers taught us when we were four and stop pointing fingers and start rebuilding our local and national economy like we build with legos. One brick at a time.
  • Ok, Random, let's see if I understand your perception.

    Conservative viewpoints, for many years, guided our society. Among them were keeping businesses (other than necessities) closed on Sundays, divorces were difficult to obtain, prohibition on abortions, prayer in schools, socially unacceptable cohabitation without marriage. These are to name a few. Now, please, all of you that read this, don't interpret that I said this was correct, I'm merely stating that these matters were either social practice or the law of the land.

    What I would ask, Random, were these positions, in your interpretation, hurtful? Perhaps to many people they were, since they were all changed. However, I would suggest that many of these positions were taken in order to foster an orderly society and were patterened after God's laws. Ask yourself, are we better off today as a society because we have more individual rights? Tough call, don't you think?

    I believe many people misinterpret the intent of strictness as mean spirited and unfair. Perhaps unfair, but that's life. Mean spirited, only if one thinks their needs are more important than the society as a whole.

    The crux of the issue in America is how we've lost our way, socially and economically. Too many people have gone too far with it's my life, I'll live it the way I want, and nobody can tell me what to do! In a perfect world, I couldn't agree more. But it seems that this world and our society no longer exercise enough reasonable control over our children, let alone our own freedoms. It's a tough issue, because if you ask for help, then the government gets involved and that ain't ever good.

    We all need to take our own responsibilities to heart and love our familiies and take care of our children as God and society intended. Too many Americans could care less where their children are, let alone worry about loving and nurturing them. That is a recipe for disaster and a society falling apart.

    Just to say, that we sometimes have to point fingers at true problems that exist. You pointed at people drawing lines that are hurtful. Here's one for you: Take away the giving of money and benefits to young women FOR the purpose of having children out of marriage (sometimes today's incentive). Would it be hurtful? Sure, but it's the right thing to do. Just look at the mess that formula created. But you see, Random, in order to do the right thing, you have to draw a line somewhere, sometime.
  • BerwickGuy, You are right, taking responsability for one's self (and family) is important. Even if parent(s) doesn't believe in God, they do have the responsability to take care of their children and be involved in their (childrens) lives. I was just gettting at the point in my last post is that the fact that we should stop the blame game and pointing fingers of Dems/Repub/Indep parties and we should focus the issues at hand.

    It is a tough call when it comes to the individual rights you mentioned. I will agree on some of your viewpoints there, but not all. See, it is impossible to draw the line of right/wrong and it be the same line tomorrow, next week, next month, next year, 10 years from now... or from family to family (execpt for the general rights and wrong). It (the gray areas of right/wrong) is a constant moving target and is most likely the social practice or the law of the land that you mentioned. I am very sorry if I interpered your comments wrong, I tend to do that unintentionally, but I am glad you brought up your points because they did make me stop and think about where I stand.
  • Random,

    Another good post, being honest! I talked to my son today about my oldest granddaughter, just turning 10. She is getting to the point of disrespect and it is tough for them to deal with, most of it coming from public education. My son is a Marine Major and my daughter-in-law a child psychology major. There is very, very little gray are in their household as you can imagine. One of the greatest problems our current society endures today is the collapse of our public education system. And I do mean collapse. There used to be lines in the sand that weren't crossed. Now, administrations do very little enforcing of rules that may offend someone for fear of getting sued. Consequently, there is little, if any, strict enforcement of anything laid down in schools, and it gets worse as the children get older (oh, unless they point their finger like a gun at someone in jest and then they are jettisoned from the ranks of school - HOW RIDICULOUS and we let this go on under our noses. My nephew got expelled from school in his Senior Year. He was getting out of his car and a hunting knife fell from his door - he is an avid hunter - no common sense allowed here, just throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    So, what we have to do is restore the lines in the sand, with strict enforecement in the right places not with the administrative chicken crap approach that is going on now. And we better do it quick or we lose more generations of kids and ultimately our society.

    Take the case of the Assessors office in Marion Cty. Do you really think we will see savings? What about the consolidation of IMPD? did THAT save money? How about Frie Depts consolidating - did THAT save money?

    The answers are no!
  • BerwickGuy,

    I whole hardely agree with you on education. I have quite a few family members who use to be certified teachers actually teaching in our school systems (this was upto early 2000's). The have since left the education system because they were given little order and respect (that they deserve as teachers) and could not get through many lessons plans, if that was possible.

    Within most households I doubt that there is a whole lot of grey area if any at all. The Gray Areas come from outside the home. No law or law maker can be isolated in pure black and white results without subjected to gray area. Yes I do believe that most if not all will agree with certain laws (ie: to not kill, or steal (correct sp?)), but the punishment may vary from person to person, level of crime to level of crime.

    But back to the subject Norm posted at hand. This next part goes out to everyone:
    This is where grey area comes into play. How do we clean up Local/State Government (and that goes for all who are paid by the government, including IMPD, IMFD, etc) to ensure the lowest cost and the maximum results without infringing on the laws of too much or too little government? What might be ok for you, might not be ok for someone else.

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