Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let’s NOT Give Them Something to Talk About


Let’s NOT Give Them Something to Talk About
reprinted from Register Publications Guest Column Nov 7th edition.

Conflict of interest is one of the biggest criticisms that politicians get from the public. What is so obvious from the back row of the meetings is apparently not so obvious to the seasoned politicians running the meetings.

A recent article in the Indy Star regarding former State Rep Bischoff, State Senator Nugent, and State Rep McMillin exposed some information about the internal workings of our Riverboat Revenue grants. The sad fact is that this is not news to any of the private or public watchdogs of the county.

Shortly after the article appeared, Commissioner McHenry took several minutes at the end of the commissioners’ morning meeting to vent his frustrations, saying that he was disappointed in the Indy Star article. The gist of his entire comment was that it was holding 50,000 county people hostage while others use the gambling money for their own political fighting. He thinks that people in Indy are looking to take the revenue and people here feeding the information are potentially harming the county’s reputation and revenue source.

Point taken- but while blaming others for leaking our dirty little process, perhaps we should also look inward and see how much of the blame we bear as well. They can’t talk about you in Indy, and now reprinted in Cincinnati, if you don’t give them something to talk about.

 Eagle Radio later carried comments from two of the Republicans (Nugent and McMillin) mentioned in the article. Bischoff did not return the call for comment. As usual we get deflection rather than introspection, reflection, remorse, and improvement. They essentially say: Don’t look at them. Look at the bigger boogey man- the rest of the state that covets our money.

The state did not commission that article. It grew from the things we have allowed to happen here. It grew from the tacit deals of politicians and backing business people who are involved in the process and afraid to rock the boat for fear of losing their positions or grants or business.

The conflicts of interest mentioned in the article in detail should serve as a reminder to all elected and appointed officials that they need to be more mindful of ethics in their deals. Our Redevelopment and Economic Development procedures must be looked at carefully as well. There are numerous areas of concern there.

 Are the goals of each grant donation clear?

 Do we measure the effects of the expenditure of county money on these companies?

 Are we fairly apportioning the work?

 Are county businesses able to bid on these projects or are we hand picking and inviting bidders?

 Do we write up the agreements to stress hiring county workers if possible?

 Are certain businesses controlling the county?

Have any of those businesses shown their appreciation by supporting political candidates?

Are the Boards awarding the grants neutral?

Do Board members know how to deal with a conflict of interest?

We need to think about what we do and how it looks to the PUBLIC when it shows up in print.

Clean up our towns, cities, and county.

 Let’s NOT give them something to talk about.


Christine Brauer Mueller writes for www.dearborncounty.blogspot.com and has regularly attended county meetings since 1995. She is also a member of the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Board.


Alan S. Freemond, Sr. said...

A well composed and logical piece by Chis Mueller. Apparently it is the people in Indianapolis who made possible the use of river boat income to aid in the purchase of Johnny Nugent's tractor store and rewarded him with 3000 dollars a month rent. Apparently it was the people in Indianapolis who decided that Brookville needs an entity called Destination Brookville partially funded by river boat revenue We are very thankful that Jud McMillin has said that he has no personal interest in this concept Destination Brookville. . I have mercifully forgotten what Bischoff didn't do with riverboat gambling revenues.

I think one of the most interesting aspects of these people two of whom are in the local republican party is how hard the local republican party worked to destroy the political career of Republican Ralph Thompson and individual who is an engineer. He can actually read and write add and subtract.

The local politicians got an apparent multimillionaires the wife of a radio star to write a nasty hit piece for the local newspaper about Ralph Thompson.

Actually I am indebted to this crowd in that I no longer support Republicans running for state and local office. I am saving money.

Down in Florida we had three commissioner in jail all at the same time. It was wonderful. One lovely woman had her priest beg the judge to let her go, she was such a very good woman civic minded loves children, dogs, cats and the unfortunates. At the conclusion of the priest's appeal to the judge the judge simply said FIVE YEARS!

So pay attention Nugent, Bischoff and McMillin why is the FBI looking at all of this?

Anonymous said...

We need Ralph Thompson back. I hope he runs for commissioner.

Anonymous said...

Why didn't the Indy Star look into how the new jail came to be. That was truly a slick bit of business. Talk about conflict of interest.

taxpayer said...

1. Thompson was commissioner when Bischoff/Linkmeyer started all the dirt moving. He did not protest.
2. Jail was separated from Courthouse Campus- now we are doing courthouse. County spent a bunch of Riverboat $$s on the jail. WHO is financing the courthouse expansion?
3. If these were left as one project- they would have had to go to the voters???

Anonymous said...

This discussion has predictably turned into a launch of Ralph Thompson's campaign, which has been whispered about for some time now.
Ralph was defeated because of legitimate differences of opinion about the future of the county and county policies. Not saying that either side was necessarily right or wrong, but it was more about local issues than a so-called "hit piece" in the paper.
Yes, being an engineer is a good and useful qualification to have as a local elected official, but that doesn't mean that folks who do other things aren't as competent, as implied by the first comment. It was that kind of elitist, "we're-better-than-you-hicks" attitude of Ralph and his torch-bearers that helped defeat him as well.
2014 is shaping up to be an interesting election year.
I say: Bring it on.

Anonymous said...

Bring it on, sounds like George Bush wrote that.