Delaware County

Conflict of Interest and the City

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Conflict of Interest 2015
Source: Indiana Gateway for government units

W/R: Mayor Tyler’s conflict problem

Seems Mayor Tyler recently realized there may be a conflict of interest.  Stuff like that happens when the FBI comes knocking on your door

It took a handful of citizens working diligently for two or three years, investing their time and money to uncover several violations.

Within months of Craig Nichols appointment as the city’s building commissioner, his defunct business was reopened.  Shortly thereafter his company began receiving city contracts.  It took the local newspaper about nine months to report and even at that it was a lighthearted almost humorous article.

The paper is reporting Nichols had a conflict of interest statement filed in 2015.  The State of Indiana is not showing anything filed for Nichols in 2015.  The Conflict of Interest law states the form must be filed within 15 days with the State Board of Accounts and the county clerk.  (See picture).

Uodate: Newspaper responded on their story.

Keith Roysdon ·Watchdog reporter at The Star Press

In the Delaware County clerk’s office, there are separate state approved conflict of interest forms for Craig Nichols’ companies.”

Indiana Conflict of Interest law

For 2016 three council members, building commissioner and one attorney filed conflict statements.  Four of the statements were done at or near the time the investigation and Federal Lawsuit was reported to the public.

Another appearance of  conflict would be the street department superintendent and city contracts awarded to his nephew’s company.

“Obviously, I don’t see any problem with them doing work for the city because they are the best and the lowest,” said Campbell, a Democrat who is more high-profile this year because he’s running for Delaware County commissioner against incumbent James King. “They’re good guys.

“I know what people may think, but it’s all on the up-and-up,” Campbell added. “I don’t consider it a conflict. It goes by the book.” Duke Campbell, Muncie’s street superintendent

W/R: In politics, it’s all relative(s)

Not exactly sure how “goes by the book” is defined in this instance.  If the street superintendent’s nephews are awarded contracts to work on the streets one would think a conflict of interest statement submitted by Duke Campbel would be going by the book of Indiana State law.  There is no conflict statement for Campbell in 2015.

It’s not just about conflicts of interest, it’s the Federal lawsuit alleging contractors have been cut out of the bidding process in favor of friends and relatives of the Mayor and his close associates.

We will end this post with excerpts from the Muncie Star Press after the 2011 election.

“It’s not going to be a ‘good old boy’s club,'” Tyler said about the first Democratic city administration in 20 years.

At the same time, Tyler acknowledged that Democrats will now control both city and county government locally and with that control comes expectations.
“This isn’t going to be easy,” he said. “Democrats don’t have any excuses now. But I think people will be pleasantly surprised.” WALKER/ROYSDON REPORT: Tyler: No‘good old boys club’ Nov. 27, 2011

 

 

 

Delaware County Primary – A Scary Tale

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Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 7.11.16 PM

Finally, Indiana has been on the list of States to watch during this primary season.  Crazy, huh?  Trump and Sanders cleaned up and we can expect heated debates all the way to November.

Here in Delaware County ,we saw some movement, an increase in voter turnout.  Somewhere around 34%.    The Republican ticket saw more votes than the Democrat ticket.  And a relatively unknown candidate which never campaigned won the highest vote count and ousted a long-time sitting official.

We’re used to “ringer” candidates appearing on the ballot.  You can spot them immediately.  Mostly, it’s the brainchild of the local Democrat party.   How do you spot a “ringer” also known as a “ghost” candidate?

First to qualify to be a ringer candidate on the Democrat ticket, there needs to be someone running who is despised by the local Dem leadership.

Second, the ringer candidate will alway appear  before the unsupported candidate.

Third, the ringer candidate will not campaign, send out literature, rarely if ever have  any signs.  The ringer will not respond to any debate requests,  phone calls from the paper, and not well known in the community.

Fourth, the ringer will have a sparse campaign finance report.

Sometimes the act of placing a “ghost” on the ballot does exactly what it was intended to do.  Other times, it fails.  Take for instance the ’08 primary when the Democrats successfully ousted incumbent John H. Brooke using a ringer candidate.  Other candidates made it through the “ghosting” as we saw with Sue Errington in ’12 and Linda Gregory in ’15.  The practice has been applied to several other elections.

In 2010, the Democrats upped their ante by getting ghost candidates to run on the Republican ticket.  As far as we can tell, this was a first.

Polling places haunted?

If you are up to reading the scary ghost story of 2016, please check out Larry Riley’s column.

A quick look at primary surprises.

 

 

Delaware County 2016 Primary

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Delaware County Primary Election Results

Unofficial Results 

May 3, 2016

 

Delaware County Election Results Primary 2016

Please excuse the rough draft.  The results have yet to be certified, not expecting any major changes in the totals.

Muncie’s Financial Reports

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Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives. James Madison

Please take a look at Muncie’s financials.

MC900439169

DEBT

These two reports ran in January 2016 and February 2016.    The latest report shows a debt increase of $10 million.

Muncie debt 2-26-16

January 2016 debt

MC900439169

REVENUE

Muncie revenue received for the years 2011 to 2015.  The revenue sources includes property taxes, federal taxes, state taxes, local taxes, fees, donations and grants.

2015 $96,344,555.40

2014 $101,147,218.97

2013 $100,696,634.05

2012 $124,112,776.60

2011 $90,393,089.58

MC900439169

Detailed Receipts 2011 to 2015

If you would like to look at the revenue streams the reports below give details.  As you can see, property taxes have been on a decline since 2011.  This should have been the first clue.

Muncie Detailed Receipts 2015

Muncie Detailed Receipts 2014

Muncie Detailed Receipts 2013

Muncie Detailed Receipts 2012

Muncie Detailed Recepts 2011

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SUMMARY

When revenue begins to decrease while debt increases it would be wise to consider the cost of debt and what it means.  The first cost was public services which could only be fully funded with a tax increase.  The second cost is economic development and it will only partially be funded with the recent tax increase.

You do need to consider the cost. If the debt can not be met, and there are no more taxes to increase what then? Fees?  Fines?  You don’t need to be in the dark when it comes to Local and State government finances any longer.  In fact, it is imperative, for our future, to be well informed.

James Madison was a wise man giving wise advice which is still relevant today.

Source: State of Indiana Transparency Portal

 

 

Saturday rambling: Whole lot coming down the pipe

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American Dollars Falling from the SkyOn Thursday the Muncie newspaper reported on the purchase of a property by Muncie Sanitary District.  The District purchased the property for $395,000.

MSD pays 3 times assessed value of bldg. Why?

On Friday, the newspaper reported the property was appraised by unlicensed appraisers.

District didn’t use licensed appraisers

I would like to point out the quote from Mayor Tyler:

Mayor Dennis Tyler said Friday he wasn’t familiar with The Star Press report about the purchase of the flea market building in the 1700 block of East Main Street.

“All I know is that the city of Muncie and sanitary district have to get those levees recertified,” Tyler said. “It’s an expensive process they’re going through.”

In December 2014, the State of Indiana audited the District finding eight projects paying over the quoted prices.  The lowest percentage was 22% and the highest was 822%.  The total amount over the quoted prices was $300,763.  Knowing an expensive process is in the making, perhaps Mayor Tyler needs to be more cognizant of how tax money is used. Read the rest of this entry »

Saturday rambling: Filing for election

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voting imageThe deadline for filing ended on Friday.  One surprise, Democrat James King filed on the Republican ticket.  He switched parties and the Republican chair, Will Statom, gave the blessing.  Last year, Stephen Smith with a record of Democrat voting, asked to be placed on the Republican ballot for mayor.  Will Statom said no.

Not surprising is a candidate, Traci Allbee, who has been a fixture in past elections.  She has no intention of campaigning or even serving the public.  Her sole purpose is to garner votes in hopes to keep a candidate the party despises from making it through the primaries.

Every election, it’s the same old song and dance.  Most are what we call “ringers” or “ghost candidates”.  To keep things interesting, the tactics are changed slightly.  Like the 2010 primaries when the Democrats filled the Republican spots with their very own candidates.

Delaware County Voting Polls Are Haunted! (click here)

The Republicans beat the Democrats at their own game by filling nearly every spot with their candidates.  “Foul!” the DHQ cried.  That’s funny, I don’t care who you are.

In 2011, Nora Powell filed with her maiden name and showed on the ballot as Nora “Evans” Powell.  Again in 2015, she pulled out her maiden name to be listed at the top of the ballot, reverting back to Powell after the elections.

So, you say?

2011 saw another candidate who filed with her maiden name.  Unfortunately, not being  chosen by the DHQ elite, she was subjected to all manner of scrutinization.   Nora was not held to the same standard.

Of course, Powell is not a “ringer” candidate by any means.  Just one who hopes to cash in on the 7% of voters known to select the first name on the ballot.  2015 saw “ghost” candidates in an unsuccessful effort to unseat the popular Linda Gregory.

Let’s go back to 2008 when the Democrats were successful in removing an elected official by placing a “ringer” on the ballot.   Bilbrey comes before Brooke.  Bilbrey received 6,000 votes and never campaigned.  DHQ was successful in getting Brooke out and their man Dunnuck in by employing the “ghost candidate” ungolden rule.  Sidenote:  Bilbrey later sued Mayor Dennis Tyler.  Don’t know the outcome.

In addition, just a few months prior to the November ’08 election, the Democrat Headquarters went on a campaign to get Vote Centers instituted.  The Republicans were not against Vote Centers.  Just the timing and the implementation was close to the election date.

Democrats, of course, making it a political football claiming it was an effort to suppress the vote.  Funny thing, after the election, with a Democrat Clerk and a Democrat-controlled election board, they never made any move to implement Vote Centers again.

Democrats as well as Republican are successful in inciting emotional outrage where none exists as well as claiming the Voter ID law limits voters.  You need an ID to cash a check.  Surely an election should fall under the same scrutiny.  Based on unknown candidate Bilbrey’s 6,000 votes, not sure elections and its process all that important.

Simply put, placing fake candidates on the ballot is a covert manipulation of your vote.  Sincerely hope people recognize it as such and just say no.

Gotta go…see you all when I see you all…