Would a county CEO be a king?

December 12, 2007
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A centerpiece of the sweeping proposal rolled out yesterday by the Commission on Local Government Reform involves consolidating many county offices under one elected official.

A county chief executive would appoint the assessor, auditor, coroner, recorder, surveyor, treasurer and even the sheriff. The prosecutor still would be elected.

Officials who would be affected by the idea didnâ??t wait long to launch a barrage of criticism. Hamilton County council member at-large Brad Beaver told the Star that he likened a chief executiveâ??s authority to that of a king.

Most of us are used to working under a CEOâ??s authority, and governors and the U.S. president are empowered with a roughly similar structure.

The commission co-chairmen, former Gov. Joe Kernan and Chief Justice Randall Shepard, say the state needs major change to make local government operate well.

Are you comfortable with bringing nearly all of county government under one person?
  • Yes, it will provide more accountability and focus on providing better results.... City and county governments are too spread out which allows elected officials to deflect blame or accountability for their efforts. A CEO of a county will drive results that are accountable AND measurable.
  • I like everything about the idea except the appointed sheriff. An independently elected sheriff could retain some level of checks and balances.
  • It is no different then a mayor appointing people or a city manager. Why do people think one elected official running a county is such a big deal?
  • Let's hope that IBJ does more anaylsis of these plans that the daily newspaper. First, while there are many counties in the US that have County Executives as a county's CEO, virtually NO counties in the country have a system like the one proposed where virtually every elected officeholder in a county is eliminated. First, where are the cost savings. Someone still has to run a surveyors office, a cornors office, be a sheriff, etc. If you want more qualified persons you'll be paying more in salary and benefits than you do now. So, now savings in the personell area.
    One other major issue. Indianapolis already has a County Executive. A Mayor. That person is already in charge of running city/county departments (streets, zoning, parks, Public Works).Now you're adding to that the powers of the countywide elected officials. AND townships. And additional appointments to boards and commissions currently handled by County Commissioners. That's more power than the Kernan/Shepard Commission would give Indiana's other 91 counties.
    And would make the Indy mayor more powerful than the Governor and far more powerful than any Mayor in the country (including NYC). Is that really what Hoosiers want?
  • Can someone answer this question: What effect does this proposal have say in Hamilton County where you have mayors in Carmel and Noblesville and a Town Council president in Fishers. Will this county CEO have authority over these areas or only for the unincorporated sections?
  • They would not have control over incorporated towns and cities except as county assessors, and treasurers would. The mayor would still run his town.

    For the most part this is a good idea. Do you realize the Marion County Surveyor is a former nun who has no surveying knowledge or experience? Did you know that Marion County has a coroner who does not have the stomach to watch an autopsy? Did you know you can be a treasurer or auditor and not have a high school degree? Does this worry people? It should.
  • The Marion County Surveyor's Office has basically ceased to function.

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  1. Hiking blocks to an office after fighting traffic is not logical. Having office buildings around the loop, 465 and in cities in surrounding counties is logical. In other words, counties around Indianapolis need office buildings like Keystone, Meridian, Michigan Road/College Park and then no need to go downtown. Financial, legal, professional businesses don't need the downtown when Carmel, Fishers, North Indy are building their own central office buildings close to the professionals. The more Hamilton, Boone county attract professionals, the less downtown is relevant. Highrises have no meaning if they don't have adequate parking for professionals and clients. Great for show, but not exactly downtown Chicago, no lakefront, no river to speak of, and no view from highrises of lake Michigan and the magnificent mile. Indianapolis has no view.

  2. "The car count, THE SERIES, THE RACING, THE RATINGS, THE ATTENDANCE< AND THE MANAGEMENT, EVERY season is sub-par." ______________ You're welcome!

  3. that it actually looked a lot like Sato v Franchitti @Houston. And judging from Dario's marble mouthed presentation providing "color", I'd say that he still suffers from his Dallara inflicted head injury._______Considering that the Formula E cars weren't going that quickly at that exact moment, that was impressive air time. But I guess we shouldn't be surprised, as Dallara is the only car builder that needs an FAA certification for their cars. But flying Dallaras aren't new. Just ask Dan Wheldon.

  4. Does anyone know how and where I can get involved and included?

  5. While the data supporting the success of educating our preschoolers is significant, the method of reaching this age group should be multi-faceted. Getting business involved in support of early childhood education is needed. But the ways for businesses to be involved are not just giving money to programs and services. Corporations and businesses educating their own workforce in the importance of sending a child to kindergarten prepared to learn is an alternative way that needs to be addressed. Helping parents prepare their children for school and be involved is a proven method for success. However, many parents are not sure how to help their children. The public is often led to think that preschool education happens only in schools, daycare, or learning centers but parents and other family members along with pediatricians, librarians, museums, etc. are valuable resources in educating our youngsters. When parents are informed through work lunch hour workshops in educating a young child, website exposure to exceptional teaching ideas that illustrate how to encourage learning for fun, media input, and directed community focus on early childhood that is when a difference will be seen. As a society we all need to look outside the normal paths of educating and reaching preschoolers. It is when methods of involving the most important adult in a child's life - a parent, that real success in educating our future workers will occur. The website www.ifnotyouwho.org is free and illustrates activities that are research-based, easy to follow and fun! Businesses should be encouraging their workers to tackle this issue and this website makes it easy for parents to be involved. The focus of preschool education should be to inspire all the adults in a preschooler's life to be aware of what they can do to prepare a child for their future life. Fortunately we now know best practices to prepare a child for a successful start to school. Is the business community ready to be involved in educating preschoolers when it becomes more than a donation but a challenge to their own workers?