Hogsett to propose mayoral term limits, ethics rules

May 20, 2015

Democrat Joe Hogsett says he wants a two-term limit on the Indianapolis mayor’s office.

The term limit is one of several policy proposals that the mayoral candidate plans to announce Wednesday afternoon, according to his campaign.

“He just believe two terms is more than enough to get done what any mayor might want to do,” Hogsett campaign spokesman Thomas Cook said.

Republican candidate Chuck Brewer couldn’t be reached to comment on the proposal Wednesday morning.

Having raised $2.4 million in his bid for an open seat, Hogsett could be trying to calm fears that he would use his war chest to fund many more campaigns as an incumbent. Term limits could create more turnover in Indianapolis than in neighboring cities. Recent primary victories almost guarantee Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard will win a sixth term, Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear will win a fourth term, and Westfield Mayor Andy Cook will keep his office for a third term.

One of Hogsett’s past political opponents is Bill Hudnut, the four-term Indianapolis mayor for whom the state legislature passed the “Hudnut forever” law in 1983. Prior to that, mayors of first-class cities were limited to two terms. Hogsett beat Hudnut in the 1990 race for Secretary of State.

Hogsett also plans to announce several ethics-oriented policies on Wednesday.

He wants to impose a one-year cooling off period for city and county employees going to work in the private sector. Those who worked on a business contract or engaged with a business as a government employee would not be allowed to switch sides and work on local government matters for that business for at least a year.

Unlike state government, the city of Indianapolis has no formal cooling-off period. When former Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Deron Kintner accepted a job with real estate developer Flaherty & Collins, he pledged not to work on Indianapolis matters.

Hogsett plans to announce other proposals Wednesday that would:

— create a one-stop online portal where the public could find city contracts, campaign-finance reports and crime statistics, among other information.

— overhaul lobbyist registration and enforcement. Hogsett wants to strengthen gift-disclosure requirements and step up enforcement. The city’s lobbyist-registration database was created under outgoing Mayor Greg Ballard and is unique among Indiana municipalities.

Hogsett is also making several pledges about his own behavior, if elected, declaring he:

— would not accept traditional perks, such as free country club and gym memberships.  

— would bid out professional-service contracts whenever possible. Engineering and other contracts are typically awarded without public bidding, and thus engineers, lawyers and architects tend to be big campaign contributors.

— would not take trips that appear to mix business and pleasure and would “immediately and completely” disclose all sources of travel funding, whether public or private.

— would conduct a top-to-bottom audit of city spending

— would not accept speaking fees for speeches related to city business.


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