I somehow missed this reporting from FOX 59 WXIN that shows that Mayor Greg Ballard (R) personally signed off on bringing in an out of state buddy of Frank Straub's to look over the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's entire professional standards division and the citizen review board. Straub, the director of the Department of Public Safety, makes it sound like this was requested by the Fraternal Order of Police, but the FOP disputes that, saying they wanted a neutral investigator for one specific incident, not a broad sweep.
I bring this up because I often hear the sentiment, among law enforcement officers and supporters of law enforcement, that they would gladly vote for Ballard for re-election if he ditched Straub. But Straub isn't just some power hungry person who is doing his own bidding behind Ballard's back. He is doing it out in the open with the full support of Ballard. Regardless of Ballard's past record, this is his record now and this is how he truly believes our law enforcement officers should be treated.
In other Straub news:
I last reported on the Animal Care & Control budget hearing, but the second half of the meeting contained the hearings for the rest of the Department of Public Safety as well (sans the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, which will be heard this week). I wasn't paying as close attention to this section of the budget talks, mainly because I'm less knowledgeable about this, but hey, when it's still the Good Doctor Director Frank Straub doing the presentation, you just kind of have to watch the train wreck.
During this part of the hearing, Straub tries to refute the notion that his personal DPS administration is somehow top heavy and points out every single minor position that he has let go unfilled, as if it's some HUGE strain on his part not to have some Assistant Secretary of the Interior and that increases his other assistants' workloads by oh-so-much. He also mentions how about five positions will have to be eliminated, but they're still working on finding out which grant moneys will no longer be available so they can't identify which positions will be eliminated at this time. A few questions are asked by councilors asking if these grant moneys were lost due to Indianapolis specifically not being awarded it, and Straub gives the assurance that these lost grant moneys were lost to cities across the board.
He also mentions that, as a last hope, the push by President Barack Obama for a so-called jobs bill might help restore some funding for various positions in DPS and the various departments under DPS, so he's cautiously optimistic that, if passed, these positions might not need to be eliminated.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't think we should be relying on unreliable federal or not-for-profit grant funding for purposes in municipal government that we might consider vital. If they're that important, we need to find a way to fund them ourselves. And if they aren't important, then why are we wasting time to lobby for outside money?
One observant reader commented to me that Straub seems to intentionally make his answers extremely long and confusing as a strategy so that, as the meeting gets later into the night, councilors will feel a sense of urgency and won't ask follow up questions or will shorten their period of questioning. After watching this entire budget meeting, I fully agree. It's not uncommon for men like Straub, who have spent large portions of their adult life in the halls of academia, to be horrible communicators and often "talk down" to others who they see as lesser people.