City Agency Re-Appointments and Musings from the Always Entertaining Vernon Brown

Last night, the City-County Council voted on what normally is the mundane, routine re-appointments of city agency directors.  The Mayor appoints the agency directors, but the Council votes to approve them.  The vote is merely symbolic however, as the Council has no authority to remove an appointee from their job – the appointee would serve until a replacement is nominated by the Mayor and approved by the Council.  Channel 16 viewers learned this after Councillor Vernon Brown (D) noted that the Mayor could “appoint Satan and we wouldn’t have any authority to get rid of him.”  Councilor Brown, we heard Bart Peterson tried it and that’s part of why he lost re-election.  Okay, okay—that may have had something more to do with income taxes. 

Back to the point. For the last few weeks, the FOP has tried to derail the re-appointment of Public Safety Director Frank Straub.  The FOP was all over the news in the days leading up to the committee vote trying to rile the public up against Straub.  They were unsuccessful in preventing his re-appointment from passing out of committee…perhaps because the FOP voted just days before the committee hearing to pay for Bisard’s legal representation, the public didn’t take them seriously?

Despite the FOP’s attempts to foil Straub’s reforms of IMPD by booting him out of office, the Council voted 16-13 to re-appoint him in last night’s full Council meeting.   Democrats Brown, Mansfield and Nytes voted in support of Straub’s re-appointment, and Republicans McHenry and Scales voted against it.  While the FOP was hoping Straub would go down in flames he didn’t – and according to Brown, even Satan couldn’t go down in flames anyway.

Brown himself was on fire last night.  Councillor Ed Coleman (L after being elected as an R with R support) opened discussion on Straub’s re-appointment noting that he was the only Councillor to oppose Straub’s initial appointment 11 months ago.  Brown reminded Coleman that since the Council had no real authority to remove appointed directors, that “if you don’t like Straub, don’t vote for Mayor Ballard again.”  We here at WSP chuckled at Brown reminding Coleman how he got his seat on the Council in the first place.


About Washington Street Politics
Covering policy and politics from end to end of Washington Street in Indianapolis

8 Responses to City Agency Re-Appointments and Musings from the Always Entertaining Vernon Brown

  1. Please tell me you’re not bragging about a public safety director having the support of 16 of the 29 counciors. 12 people who supported him have now turned against Straub. Ballard should cut his political losses now and fire Straub.

  2. Ogden, we don’t have anything to do with getting the councilors to vote one way or another and we wouldn’t brag about it even if it was our job. We wrote a post on the council meeting. The Straub vote was the main event.

    The fact is that the FOP has been stomping around trying to scare councilors with threats of primary battles and the like and it didn’t work. Reformers don’t usually get a unanimous vote of confidence.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WSP, Straub’s problem is hardly that he’s a “reformer.” His problem is that he’s an egomaniac, a guy who has major personality problems. I think the vast majority of people believe someone needs to shake up IMPD. But by now it’s clear that person is not Frank Straub. Ballard should cut his losses and fire that guy because he’s going to drag down several Republican councilors come November.

  4. Slick says:

    “The fact is that the FOP has been stomping around trying to scare councilors with threats of primary battles and the like and it didn’t work. Reformers don’t usually get a unanimous vote of confidence.”

    Or how about Straub stomping around demanding that civilians stand up when he comjes in a room.Or jumping the gun on demotions.

    I can understand why you support Straub,your paycheck depends on the Mayor,but how can anyone with half a brain believe that Straub is good for this city.

    The IMPD needs reform,badly.But Straubs style is counter-productive to say the least.Would you have worked for the Mayor if he was yelling at you and belittling you all of the time? Straub will cost the Mayor the election above anything else.. I thought that the CCC would do the right thing last night,but evidently,they dont want to make the Mayor mad. It’s really too bad, the Mayor is a great man,but someone has sold him a bill of goods and he cannot see it.

  5. Matt Stone says:

    Will Straub, specifically, cost the Mayor election? It’s very doubtful. Most of Straub’s antics are something the political class pay attention to, if at all. It’s harder to put why Straub is a problem in 2 paragraphs or a 60 secnd news report.

    But what he has almost guaranteed is that the FOP won’t be endorsing Ballard. That could alienate some of his supporters from 2007.

    The problem with Straub is that he has a much different view of what a DPS direcotr does than Scott Newman. Newman basically handled budget issues and made sure all the departments worked and communicated with eachother, and that’s about it.

    While it might not be entirely factual, the perception is that Straub is micromanaging the police department to the perception that the actual chief seems to have little to no ideas that are independently his own.

    Not everything Straub has done has been harmful. The LGBT liason to IMPD was long overdue. But to the best of my knowledge, only DPS and Get Equal were involved in that decision. IMPD didn’t have a seat at that table, and they should’ve at least had a seat, or taken the lead entirely.

    So even when he does something good, he does it so that he undercuts IMPD so that they have no say in the matter at all.

  6. Matt, we agree with you that Straub won’t cost the mayor the election. In fact, he likely won’t factor in at all. Yes, it has kept the FOP from endorsing. That said, we cannot imagine that the FOP will endrose Melina Kennedy. She’s the same as Peterson and they HATED Peterson.

    Slick, we’re not sure how many times we can say this but we DON’T work for the Mayor. And as for if we would work for someone if they yelled at us, we’d say welcome to the real world. If part of our job requirement was to police and self-police the group of folks we worked with, we hope to God that someone would yell at us with the ridiculous incidents that have been going on within IMPD.

    We haven’t always been the biggest fans of Straub. He could use some pointers on style and trying not to make people angry when not necessary since he has some big battles to fight. That said, we don’t want someone fighting the culture of IMPD that is worried about people liking him. People were never going to like Straub because of the things he is trying to do.

  7. Bleeding Blue says:

    WSP “People were never going to like Straub because of the things he is trying to do.”

    Not true at all. There are many in the general ranks of the IMPD that feel changes need to be made.However,there is a right and wrong way to address the problem.Straub chose the NYC bulldog style,which will not fly here in Indy.Changes do need to be made,no doubt.But he is notthe man to do it.He is causeing more problems than he is solving.

    BTW,I really do enjoy your bog

    Evil man

  8. There are some in IMPD that believe there should be changes, however, there are many who like things the way they are and don’t want anything to change. Reformers always have more critics than those who are content with the status quo.

    And we’re not sure if we are happy you like the blog or not since you think we are evil!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: