Outsourcing the Mayor

Per yesterday’s Indianapolis Star, we learn that

The Republican administration of Mayor Greg Ballard has launched a full scale public relations and lobbying campaign to seek support from residents and the City-County Council for a proposed $400 million criminal justice complex.

The surge is spearheaded by a government relations consultant and former Ballard aide who landed a $750,000 contract from the city to see that the project gets approved.

This is unbelievable.

The obscene amount of the contract is indefensible, of course, but even more stunning is the implicit admission: here is a man who has been Mayor for seven years, yet still doesn’t know how to work with the City-County Council, or sell his own administration’s programs or projects to the public.

Councilors on both sides of the aisle confirm that Ballard has largely been missing in action, that he has consistently failed to consult with the city’s legislative branch, not only refusing to communicate but resisting even reasonable requests for information.

And activists concerned about Indianapolis’ failure to deal with our mounting crime problem have pointed to the Mayor’s absence from community events and even press conferences called to address the issue.

Still–who’d have thought he hated his job so much, he’d be willing to spend $750,000 to avoid doing it?

I knew Ballard had adopted Goldsmith’s penchant for privatizing and contracting–but this is ridiculous; he’s contracting out performance of his own job. 

Ballard’s base salary is $95,000. I think We the People are entitled to a refund.


  1. And Goldsmith contracted out overseeing all City departments to Oscar Robertson/Smoot; a consulting firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, with two one-year contracts at $3 million each year. They sat around and watched (consulted) City employees do their jobs but didn’t even know how to properly process a contract to legalize their positions. The first year there was not one legal contract between the Mayor, City Department heads and Oscar Robertson/Smoot to be found because each of them signed their own copy, returned to their offices and filed it. Took me almost a year to figure this one out because it was too stupid to consider initially. As Records Secretary for the Metropolitan Development Commission it wasn’t my responsibility to root out the problem but I did so hoping to protect the City (and being just plain nosey). After explaining the problem to Deputy Mayor Nancy Silvers I returned to my office and was stopped by the Chief Financial Officer of Department of Metropolitan Development, Ali Khan, to ask me HOW to get a legal contract. This man had a Masters Degree in Personnel Development from the University of India. The following year all copies of the 2nd contract (another $3 million of our tax dollars) were returned to me after the MDC meeting; I filed them away and waited. A few weeks later one of the vice-presidents of Oscar Robertson/Smoot came from Cincinnati, Ohio, he was brought to my desk by their on-site consultant to ask if I knew where the contracts were. I explained to the VP that, after the problem the previous year, I had safely put the contracts in the MDC files. He, of course, was unaware of the problem the previous year and asked for an explanation – from me, not his consultant. Has Ballard’s administration been this ignorant or did they learn from Goldsmith’s covered up mistakes and are doing things differently or…are they too afraid of Ballard as one long-time City-County Councilor was of Goldsmith, to look into discrepancies and useless spending of our tax dollars or to uncover his lies. Is it fear of Ballard and his cronies that has the City-County Council continuing to waste OUR money seeking contracts to waste more tax dollars on frivolous ventures? Such as the aborted attempt to bring the Super Bowl here for a second round of losing money – admitted by this administration it was not as much as they thought the City would lose. And now another wasted $750,000, to what end?

  2. You forgot to mention the name of that entity which employs the former Ballard aide. It’s Bose Political Affairs Group, which also employs your favorite former mayor, Bill Hudnut, and your son is a partner at the law firm with which it is affiliated, Bose McKinney & Evans, which just hired Joe Hogsett as a partner. Hogsett will be paid a large salary bill few, if any hours, while he campaigns full-time for mayor as the purchase price for owning the mayor’s office for at least the next four years. As I see it, the $750,000 of our taxpayer dollars that Ballard is paying to Bose Public Affairs Group should be just about what it will take to reimburse the costs of Joe’s salary, benefits and that of his executive assistant. Yeah, Hudnut had to leave town after he left the mayor’s office supposedly because Goldsmith threatened retribution against anyone in town who hired him. Now it comes full circle and everyone is working for the same team. Whose brainchild was it to outsource the construction, operation and maintenance of a criminal justice center that will be owned by a foreign consortium. That would be Steve Goldsmith. I can only guess how much money will get kicked backed to him. Word on the street was that he got a $750,000 kickback from ACS for arranging the privatization of the City’s parking meter assets as his undisclosed consulting fee.

  3. As the kids say…. Gary, you just got owned by Sheila. Way to try to make it about her and completely losing what might have been a somewhat objective argument.

  4. There is no institution that will take care of we, the people. Not government, not business, not the church. It’s up to us.

    Democracy works because hiring and firing mistakes are temporary. And decisions are made on the basis of the average opinion, not the extremes.

    We have the numbers, and we vote, buy, and invest.

    Let’s do our job and save our country

  5. JoAnn, Democrats on the City County Council are not frightened of the Ballard Administration. They have been bought off by the Administration with TIF trifles, Colts and Pacers tickets, sidewalks and grants from the City to non-profits run by councilors. And now Council Democrats are lining up to oppose each other in next year’s primary.

  6. I should add that Steve Goldsmith was a partner at Faegre Baker Daniels for a period after leaving the mayor’s office as well. It’s a constant game of musical chairs among all of these insiders so it’s hard to keep track of their current whereabouts. Suffice it to say, they’re all working towards a common goal. If I’m not mistaken, Melina Kennedy worked at Faegre Baker Daniels while she was running for mayor before going to work for Cummins. Ballard’s former chief of staff, Chris Cotterill, also landed at Faegre Baker Daniels when he left the mayor’s office.

  7. Goldsmith is a former Marion County Prosecutor; in 1995 while he was Mayor, the Prosecutor’s Office destroyed all evidence from the 1971 torture, murder of three Indianapolis businessmen. These horrific murders remain unsolved today so why was all evidence destroyed and what part did Mayor Goldsmith, former Prosecutor Goldsmith, play in this destruction and WHY? Nothing happened in this city during his years as Mayor that he did not instigate or approve. Google the LaSalle Street Murders – or read the books by Carol Sissom – for the full story. What connection did Goldsmith have with police and prosecutors in 1971 and did it continue through 1995? Some of his questionable values are alive and active today due to his long reach and the current Republican administration using his clones to continue them.

    I moved to Florida in 1994; when I returned in 2001, businesses that had been hard fought for by Mayor Hudnut, Dept. of Metropolitan Development and city planners to bring to this city were gone. The Hoosier Dome, a centerpiece of civic pride, was the RCA Dome. The approximately 4,500 abandoned buildings has risen to approximately 10,000 today; Goldsmith stopped the good start we had on resolving this ugly problem begun at Mayor Hudnut’s request in 1991. The economy in many areas has not yet recovered from his reign over this city, many once middle class neighborhoods are slum areas or bordering on being slums. This man still walks on the dark side of life and gets rich doing so. It gave me a huge laugh when he “resigned” as Deputy Mayor of NYC after his true nature was publicized and his lies uncovered; wonder what plans he had for that city? What changes (improvements) have occured under Ballard – other than pro sports teams, fields and arenas? What is the dropout rate in schools due to the abundance of voucher students, what is the murder rate and the crime rate in general at this time, what improvements have been made in public safety? It is long past time for a change; the current GOP is not going to change as long as the money keeps rolling in. WE have to force change and we can only do that by voting; this November can be a good beginning but only if Democrats go to the polls and vote. I was an Independent voter till about 10 years ago; I deeply resent being forced by the current privately owned Republican party to no longer be able to pick and choose my candidates based on their stand on issues. We are currently in a financial, medical, civil and human rights, life-or-death situation that will only be resolved when the current city administration is voted out…and Congress returns to sanity at the federal level.

  8. What I find profoundly sad is that Institutional Memories of Indianapolis Political History, and the Present as observed in the above comments is lacking in our Mega-Media. Well perhaps I should re-boot that observation. Memory is not lacking as in , ” I do not Know.” The Mega-Media does not want to reveal the the octopus tentacles of a system that would reveal Crony-Capitalism and Crony Patronage.

    If someone is somehow caught in a net of corruption it will be low level bottom feeder, not one of the Apex Predators of our Political System. We will then have the Story Line from the Mega-Media of the “One Bad Apple.”

  9. Sheila’s son certainly doesn’t need defending by anyone. He is an honest, caring person who stands for individual rights and, might I add, is a good Democrat. It is quite unfair to attack him. Sounds as though Gary is jealous that he can’t get a job at Bose, McKinney and Evans.

  10. I would like to inject a bit of humor into my mental stroll down Goldsmith memory lane. It was one appointment years ahead of its time for the GOP but would be accepted without question today. Goldsmith was too smart to outright fire Stu Reller, Administrator of Planning and Zoning, who was dying of brain cancer but fully functional in his position. Instead, he demoted Stu to Deputy Administrator and brought in a beautiful, intelligent woman, Leslie Ruben as Administrator. Leslie was the former Director of the Male Infertility Clinic at IU Medical Center; at that time there were many questions as to her experience in city planning and zoning. With the GOP now controling women’s medical care and birth control, this would be accepted as the normal course of events. One of the male planners, after asking me where she came from, wanted to know if he had to give a sperm sample. Sorry folks, this was too good not to share:)

  11. Gary: I don’t know you… I certainly haven’t said or done anything to attack you. In the interest of correcting your misstatements about me, I left Bose almost exactly one year ago, so I am neither a partner at Bose, nor did I “just leave” the firm. Since we don’t know each other, I should mention that I’m not one for conspiracy theories and ad hominem attack, so I don’t find the implied “connections” particularly persuasive rebuttal to the point of my mom’s blog post. If anything, my mom’s willingness to share her opinions on matters of public policy, whether or not it casts a negative shadow (in your mind) on her son’s firm, would seem to be a point in favor of her independence and willingness to speak out on matters she deems of interest and importance to the public. Have a nice day.

  12. David, Your mother seems to believe all conspiracies start and stop with the Republican Party. I, as a Republican, see both parties as equally to blame for the mess this country is in today. I don’t take offense to being called a purveyor of conspiracy theories. Federal and state prosecutors rely on conspiracy theories to prosecute a substantial number of crimes. Your mother is paid with our taxpayer dollars to teach public affairs at a state university. She has lots of opinions that she shares on this blog, some of which I agree, some of which I disagree. She doesn’t shy away from implying the worst motives of people who disagree with her views, and she’s quite capable of defending herself. I am outraged that $750,000 is being blown on this questionable expenditure. The underlying purpose of the expenditure, the outsourcing of our criminal justice center, however, is a bipartisan endeavor backed by Democrats and Republicans alike. The PR campaign wasn’t a brainchild of Ballard, who I scarcely think has ever had an original thought; it’s from a group called the Greater Indianapolis Progress Committee, which has been spearheading the effort in its role as a shadow government in this city, and which is chaired by one of your fellow partners at Faegre Baker Daniels, J. Murray Clark, Jr. When I was a student, I expected my professors to lay out the facts fully and honestly and let us draw our own opinions, not cherry-picked facts that support just one side. My biggest criticism of Ballard on this point is that he ran in 2007 criticizing Bart Peterson for spending $68 million a year on “other services”, otherwise known as no-bid contracts, to reward campaign contributors, and then turned around and engaged in the same kind of wasteful spending. As bad as the $750,000 expenditure is, it pales in comparison to the underlying notion of relying on a foreign-owned consortium to build, operate and maintain our criminal justice center, which will cost much more in the long-run than if it were built and maintained by government in the traditional manner.

  13. Gary; all Republicans claim that both parties are to blame for current conditions. not only in Indiana but nation-wide. So, why don’t you Republicans do something about improving things from your end rather than sitting around doing little more than trying to repeal or defund the ACA? As former Republicans, Sheila and I both recognize that the current GOP has lost all semblence of the once fine Republican party we both worked for. We worked with intelligent, rational, civic minded, forward moving men and women who brought improvements to Indianapolis and Marion County; we worked with and for Mayor Hudnut who cleared cronyism, nepotism, bigotry, sexism and racism out of city government. To see what a true Republican was; ask one of your older Republican friends if they have a copy of the video shown at the Hudnut Roast. You will see a fine man, a caring man, a true humanitarian and a true Republican. Look close to see if you can find any resemblence to the money hungy, control freaks claiming to be Republicans today. I am not standing up for Sheila, her son David or myself; believe it or not, I am now a Democrat standing up for the TRUE Republican part.

  14. That last word should of course be “party” not part. Your verbose pseudo Republican blathering rattled my self-editing skills.

  15. I think that local politics is , well, local. There are many hands in every pot, some from each party.

    However, Gary made this personal to Sheila’s family, and that crosses a line to me.

    All that having been said, I don’t honestly see how the national GOP is defensible. I can in no way see their actions during and since Bush as aligned with national interests in any way. They have abandoned the country in favor of their own interests.

    As a longtime registered Republican I’d love to hear some examples of how I’m wrong. Some specific GOP actions during and post Bush that clearly support the long term interests of the majority of Americans.

  16. JoAnn, I despise what the Republican Party is today, but I don’t see any redeeming value in the Democratic Party either. They are both controlled by the same individuals and corporate interests at the end of the day. It’s just a circus act they put on to make believe there is any real difference between the parties. For you, Sheila or anyone else to deny that is to deny reality. I’m sick of them all. I trust none of them. When it comes to working against the common good, neither party has a leg up over the other.

  17. Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t see much change in the traditional Democrat Party. They are stuck in a place where the game has changed from statesmanship to pure partisan politics. They didn’t create that. They are doing what has to be done though to keep the country progressing given a change that they can only react to.

    The government that people like Rush and Glenn Beck dreamed if has come to pass. In my opinion that’s come about because it’s so useful to the Koch Bros and Sheldon Adelson and Grover Norquist and Rupert Murdoch. it’s probabably not an exaggeration to say it’s worth trillions to that group.

  18. It’s not the Democrats in the country nor in Indiana who are pushing the long-past-its-sell-date “Marriage is between one man and one woman” amendment, nor are the Democrats trying to outlaw abortion and contraception.

  19. A ‘lesser of two evils’ is agreed upon and hardly needs rehashing. Still, there are degrees of evil and one would be foolish not to discriminate.

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