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Letter: Clear bureaucracy out of city relationships

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Note: The statements, views, and opinions contained in this letter to the editor are those of the author and are not endorsed by, nor do they necessarily reflect, the opinions of The Republic.

From: C. Dean Smith


To the editor:

Instead of each side hiring additional legal counsel in the ongoing flap between the mayor and City Council, which will bring us predictable results and solve nothing, why not look at the bigger picture? We need a courageous Indiana legislative study committee not looking to the next election to articulate the relationships between the mayor and the various boards and commissions that comprise local government. This group would revisit the issues the Legislature failed to solve in the first place.

Logically, the mayor appoints the board members, and they appoint the director. This allows a bit of professionalism unless the mayor unseats the entire board. The City Council usually has some ex-officio board members.

Having spent most of my working life in local government, I am still not clear about this mass of contradictions. I recall visiting one of the drafters of the relevant statutes with these questions. He laughed and said something like, “We had to leave something for you to do.”

What are the mayor’s relationships with the Park Board, Utilities Board, Redevelopment Commission, Plan Commission, Aviation Commission, etc.? In many cases it boils down to professionalism versus patronage. What do we want?

We need to clear the maze rather than solicit more attorneys’ opinions.

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