Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tom Cheek's Farewell Address to Council

Fellow Council members:

First I want to publicly thank the people of Dearborn County for putting their faith and trust in me for the past twelve years to serve as their Council Representative. I would also like to extend a special thanks to some of the office holders and employees who have treated me with the respect and professionalism that anyone could ever hope for. I started this position with a clear and open mind hoping I could make a difference in our community. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for me to figure out the amount of politics that are involved. Not that I was na├»ve, but I didn’t imagine it was as wide spread as it is. I distinctly remember my first round of budget hearings. I looked out in the hallway and saw three people changing a light bulb! I thought to myself, what a waste of tax dollars!

On a more serious note, I know that everyone here knows what has to be done to make a more affordable and efficient County government. I know you are all familiar with your Governor’s opinions on streamlining local government. A lot of it is spelled out in the Kernan-Shepard Report of 2008. Although I do not agree with all the recommendations in this report, I do agree with most. For instance, establishing a single more unified legislative body for county government and expand legislative membership to insure representation to all areas of the county. Another would be to create one body to oversee all county public safety services. This would break up all the little kingdoms around the county. We should expand coordination and consolidation of services. This would strengthen the power of voters to compel consolidation. And lastly Prohibit employees of a local government unit from serving as elected officials within the same local unit. I quote directly out of the Kernan-Shepard report. “Allowing the employees of a unit of local government to serve as elected policymakers for that unit is an unacceptable practice for a number of reasons. First, it is a clear conflict of interest for public employees to benefit from their actions as elected officials. Second, it undermines the chain of command and procedures for discipline that are critical to effective public services, particularly public safety. And perhaps most important, it diminishes the faith that citizens have that local governments act in the public interest. End quote. This is part of your Governor’s platform and agenda for Indiana. I would think that this is the direction our county would want to go. With the amount of political power and the number of majority votes in this county and having control of both houses of the Indiana General Assembly in January along with the Governor’s office I am confident that some of these changes will occur. I charge both bodies of our local government to listen to your Governor and step up to the plate and be a leader in some of these reforms that he is advocating. Thanks you for this opportunity to address Council and good luck on your future council agendas. Thank you.


Tom Cheek

1 comment:

jsb said...

Council has 2 members who work for the county- Bill Ullrich and Bryan Messmore.
Commissioners will have Shane McHenry who works for the county starting January 1.
All are Republicans. Do they disagree with Mitch Daniels- the Republican governor- regarding effective- non conflictual government?