It has been awhile since I took on any political issues, but, based on the direction it appears we are heading with the recommendations for government reform in Indiana.....I felt it was time to speak up.
Here are some key recommendations made by the blue ribbon panel to the Governor for streamlining Indiana government:
1. Getting rid of county commissioners and replacing them with one county executive
2. Having that executive appoint the county sheriff, auditor and assessor — those positions are elected now
3. Consolidating school corporations that have fewer than 2,000 students.
4. Consolidating libraries into a county-wide system.
5. Eliminating township governments altogether
Basically, while our Hoosier virtues tend to reflect Republican ideals......including local control....it appears we may be headed toward giving up local control to a consolidated, removed authority. This doesn't make any sense.......but then, inconsistency runs rampant nowadays.
1. If we replace a county commissioner board by one elected executive officer....the cost would probably be a wash and now, if you have a complaint-your representation and response will be cut by two-thirds.
2. Your single county executive appoints the sheriff, assessor and auditor.......again, removing your representation by election from the equation. Also smacks of good 'ol boy.....a scary thought especially in my county.
3. Consolidation of school corps with less than 2,000. Only one of seven school corporations in our county have over 2,000. Each community has its own identity and school pride......and again, local control of its schools.........and your going to take that away? Is this to save a few bucks (probably very few)? What about the quality of education, Mitch (smaller corps do better)? Or the value of hometown schools?
4. Consolidation of public libraries to a single county library corporation. Again, loss of control for towns who have done very well with their libraries.......the quality of which is bound to suffer and it certainly wouldn't make things cheaper.........look at the St. Joe County library system.
5. Township government elimination. Again, loss of local control........and again, won't make things cheaper. Someone will need to do the job of township assessors and trustees, so if they are consolidated under a county function additional employees will need to be hired. And those employees will not know the people of the township like local elected officials.
How unfortunate in Indiana Mitch Daniels has created an environment of knee-jerk governance that cannot be shown to benefit the state. Rather than developing the state into a place people want to live or invest financially, we seem to be rushing to initiate reform that does neither. Unless the Governor can prove that these reforms will make the Hoosier State a better place to raise a family-he ought to just leave things alone and worry about quality of life & marketing our state.