Embattled Indianapolis City-County Council President Stephen Clay on Tuesday morning called for an operational and fiscal audit of the council, alleging that former staff members were improperly given large raises and documents were improperly shredded.
Clay, who is facing removal from office at next month’s council meeting by his fellow Democrats shortly after being elevated to the top position with the help of Republicans, said during a press conference that he discovered one former staff member was given a 24 percent pay raise and another was given an 18 percent pay raise in 2016.
Clay alleged the raises doled out by former president Maggie Lewis weren't compliant with city code, in that the council wasn't properly notified.
Lewis' spokeswoman, Denise Herd, said Tuesday she would get back to IBJ with a statement about Clay's allegations after reviewing them.
Clay also said that after he terminated two council employees on Jan. 31, he was informed the next morning that staff discovered an open file cabinet and that “several years of files had been removed” and shredded. The two fired employees are former council lawyer Fred Biesecker and council clerk NaTrina DeBow.
He said he was calling for the audit “as a result of these findings and other questionable practices.”
Although Clay called for transparency because “this is the people’s house, this is taxpayer’s dollars,” he kept some important details close to the vest.
Clay wouldn’t tell reporters which employees received the large raises, and he wouldn’t say who was giving him legal advice about council matters.
He said he had access to “several attorneys on several matters” who were doing pro bono work for him in his capacity as council president, because “there still remains goodwill in our community.”
But when asked to reveal who was providing legal advice, he said, “We don’t need to do that,” and, “That’s not germane.”
Council Vice President Zach Adamson told IBJ Clay’s allegations “seem to be a distraction.”
“He of all people should know that passing out accusations is no indication of a crime or wrongdoing having been committed,” Adamson, a fellow Democrat, said, referring to the allegations against Clay that he sexually assaulted a minor more than a decade ago.