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Indiana

Larry Riley, MSD meeting, etc.

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I admit I’m now addicted to watching the meetings of the Muncie Sanitary District online as they are live-streamed. I used to go to the meetings in person for years, then when the city newspaper decided to jettison me, I stopped. Since the FBI investigation of the district continues to find defendants, and since a new city administration has been elected and appears willing to fight the aberrant MSD, I’m more interested.
* * * * *
Everyone knows the basics, I mean the *calamitous* basics: the current MSD board has seen two of its top executives federally indicted for fraud, bid-rigging, and kickbacks, along with three top contractors indicted on the same charges, and yet the board has done nothing to investigate or take any action to assure taxpayers and ratepayers are protected. Oh, and the former Muncie mayor who appointed these guys has been indicted, too, for collecting a payoff from an MSD contractor. Every cent the FBI says was used in kickbacks was approved by these three MSD members.
* * * * *
Yet these guys cling to power. Years ago, the indicted former mayor demanded his city engineer appointment get placed on the MSD board, which happened. This month, his successor, Dan Ridenour, asked for his own city engineer to join the board, but no, the current board said the old engineer would not resign, not would any MSD member. So the city sued MSD to force the change. Taxpayers and ratepayers will pay the attorneys to sort it all out. Yet any MSD board member with any sense of honor at all would simply resign, as they all should. As should their attorney, the former county prosecutor who lost his law license for several months over drug forfeitures that lined his pocket and cost him his re-election. (Oh,
and his own campaign manager, former Drug Task Force police officer, got raided by the FBI. He had some property dealings with MSD.)
* * * * *
So, come back to this week’s MSD meeting: it lasted 8 minutes. Claims of $1 million plus were paid, all existing officers (Bill Smith president, Mike Cline, vice, Joe Evans, secretary) were re-elected (their having done such outstanding work), a change order approved. Then Smith announced that they’ve been sued by the city and their attorney advised them not to answer any more question, or even continue the meeting, which was abruptly ended without a vote to adjourn.
* * * * *
The entire board is now an official embarrassment. Unequivocally. Irretrievably. Implacably. Lots of citizens on hand got left in the lurch, including some, like Anitra Davis, City Council member who wanted to address an unrelated topic about Whitely. Four other City Council members witnessed the spectacle. They’re scheduled to vote final passage of an ordinance expanding MSD’s board next week, but the lawsuit may interfere.
* * * * *
What else do we not know? One of the meeting agenda items got inexplicably removed, a contract with Blackhawk Security Services, LLC, reportedly to provide security at MSD’s new downtown headquarters-to-be seven blocks from City Hall. The Muncie firm got incorporated last May and lists Joe Winkle as a principal. Joe Winkle was the last police chief under the Tyler administration. Don’t know why the board didn’t address the agenda item.
* * * * *
Nor am I sure what’s going on with the proposed new $16 million pole barn on MLK Boulevard north of Centennial. (WOW, put that in all caps, a pole barn in which to park sanitation trucks for $16 million: what would a kickback on that look like?) A lot of work was done on site and now the equipment seems gone and the site is idle. I’ve heard people question whether MSD had necessary Army Corps of Engineers and Ind. Dept. of Natural Resources permits to build so close to or even in a flood plain. The land straddles Muncie Creek.
* * * * *
I’ve heard even more, but I’m still checking. Meanwhile, the beat goes on. The beating goes on

MSD Board, statutes and what is truth?

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MSD Meeting

Timeline

  • June 2012 Board of Public Works hires city engineer
  • July 2012 Mayor Tyler demands MSD board member resign
  • July 2012 City attorney informs MSD board they are violating a statute
  • January 2020 Mayor Ridenour appoints city engineer
  • January 2020 Mayor Ridenour demands an MSD board member resign
  • January 2020 MSD attorney reports there is no city engineer on the MSD board
  • January 2020 MSD attorney will review the statute.

MSD 5-minute meeting with the president, Bill Smith voicing his opinion about the letter, Mayor Ridenour presented to the Sanitation Board.  He called it unprofessional and mused why Ridenour would quit a well-paying job to be mayor.  (Rolling eyes)

In the July 18th, 2012 Star Press edition an article appeared “Tyler moves to flush Sanitary board member” The article goes on to say Tyler demanded board member Theresa Ford resign no later than Monday.  John Quirk, city attorney, cited a statute that required the city engineer to sit on the board.    In June 2012 the Board of Public Works (BOW) hired Mike Cline of Indianapolis consulting firm HWC to fill the role of an engineer.  John Quirk was a member of the BOW.

That was then and this is now.

The meeting starts with Bill Smith receiving a letter “demanding” one of the board members resign.  Mr. Smith is somewhat displeased and he hands the meeting to the MSD attorney Mark McKinney.    Mr. McKinney says the letter reads “the commissioner (name unknown) needs to resign because of the city hiring an engineer who will replace the unknown commissioner”.

Approximately 50 seconds into the video, Attorney Mark McKinney says Cline is not on the board as an engineer.  He was appointed by Mayor Dennis Tyler to sit on the board.  McKinney said he would look into the statute.  The same statute John Quirk used to remove Ford.

There seems to be a conflict.  In June 2012 Cline was hired as the city engineer.  In July 2012 John Quirk said the board was in violation of the statute requiring the city engineer to sit on the MSD board.   Quirk demanded Ford resign.  To our knowledge, Cline has been on the board ever since.  We believed he was the city engineer during Tyler’s administration.  Guess we were wrong.

McKinney said he would look into the statute.  We don’t know when Cline stopped being a city engineer but certainly, the MSD is in violation of the 2012 statute as was the previous board.

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Copied this statute from the City’s Facebook page.  It was posted as a comment:

City Engineer must be a member of the Board as required under 36-9-25-3 (b)(3) because the district was established under 36-9-25-1(b)

.IC 36-9-25-1 Application of chapter Sec. 1. (a) This chapter applies to the following: (1) A second class city located in a county having a population of more than one hundred eleven thousand (111,000) but less than one hundred fifteen thousand (115,000). (2) Each municipality in a county having a population of more than four hundred thousand (400,000) but less than seven hundred thousand (700,000) in which the legislative body has adopted this chapter by ordinance. (b) This chapter also applies to each second class city not in such a county in which the legislative body has adopted this chapter by ordinance. (c) In addition, in a consolidated city, sections 9 through 38 of this chapter apply to the department of public works and the board of public works, subject to IC 36-3-4-23. [Pre-Local Government Recodification Citations: subsection (a) formerly 19-2-27-1 part; 19-2-27-3; subsection (b) formerly 19-2-14-32part; 19-2-28-1 part; 19-2-28-6; 19-2-28.5-1; 19-2-28.5-3 part; subsection (c) formerly 18-4-2-9(a) part.] As added by Acts 1981, P.L.309, SEC.98. Amended by P.L.12-1992, SEC.179; P.L.80-1997,

 

 

 

Insiders & Outsiders – Race for Mayor

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inside outside

We are just weeks away from the primary and it looks to be ramping up.  Early voting has begun and some of us have done the deed.  Others are still undecided.

Today, we’re going to talk about the Democrat mayoral candidates.  They have five on the ticket.     A current city employee, former law enforcement officer, businessman, perennial candidate and one citizen (not sure of his occupation).

The BSU Democrat student organization sponsored their debate.  Hats off to the students for their hard work.  Below is the audio of the debate.

April 9, 2019, Democrat Debate

If you want to get a well-rounded view of the election, we would recommend you listen to all the candidates.  This is often a political blog,  and in case you didn’t know, there is an election on the horizon.  We follow all of the candidates.  We visit social media to get our fingers on the pulse of citizens’ thoughts on the candidates.  We carry on conversations with the people and sometimes we even interact with the candidates.   If they have a history, we review it, too.

After introductions, the candidates went into corruption.  Oh, boy, do we have it.  How many of those candidates voted for Dennis Tyler?  How many knew the history of Tyler and his cohort Nichols and still chose to place the corruption in the main seat of Muncie governance?    Until they need your vote, they stand silently by.  The opportunity was there in 2015 to get the city under control. That primary saw only two city council districts up for grabs.  District  2 (R) Conatser vs. Ridenour and District 6 (D) Anderson vs. Ivy.   Both parties fell short that year.  The corruption was just beginning to come to light.  It was going to be messy.  Thoughts on the lack of candidates…for another time.

Just a brief history.  In 2003, Dennis Tyler ran for mayor.  One of the biggest concerns was how much involvement would Phil Nichols have in Tyler’s administration?  Tyler said none.   However, after Tyler lost it was believed he and Nichols joined forces and set their sights on dismantling Center Township Fire Department and behind manipulating the 911 call center.    Some of the old-timers would remember. Not unlike what we are seeing from the Tyler administration today.  A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

Tyler and Nichols have been joined at the hip since birth.   In 2012 Tyler immediately appointed Craig Nichols as the Building Commissioner.  Well, we know the rest of the story.  Phil Nichols was privy to the private meetings with Mayor Tyler and others as they schemed to hide the crimes committed.

Oops, I digress…

One area of this debate centered on blight.  The interesting part of this is the previous mayor, Sharon McShurley, also campaigned on the blight.  She addressed the blight head on, looking for monies and the newspaper did “Blight Watch” keeping the people informed of the status and the challenges of the blighted community.    That all ended when Tyler took office. Why?

We wrote about the Hardest Hit Fund program.  When Muncie received notice we were selected, the city sat on the funds.  Mayor Tyler claimed the requirements were so stringent the city had a hard time implementing it.  Most of us believe Tyler was trying to find a way to funnel the monies to Nichols’ companies, et al.  Other communities were well into the program demolishing properties, and Muncie was not.  Everyone was on a level playing field yet Tyler’s administration just couldn’t get the program going.  Hmmmm.

That being said, here is our synopsis of the candidates:

Dale: Maybe the best of the bunch if being well spoken was a prerequisite for mayor.  He was involved in city government during the McShurly administration.  Not sure if he continued the same involvement under the Tyler administration.  He was part of the UNISON group which wanted to engage Commissioner President Todd Donati and the Commissioners as part of the Tuhey Pool plan in 2010.   Fortunately, that went nowhere.  Would he continue the MRC with Donati as president?

D. Smith: Focused on corruption.  Yes, this administration is filled with corruption and there are two Tyler appointed department heads on the ballot.  The first step in ridding the city of corruption would be to never place any person affiliated with Tyler in a position of power.   Mayor or council both would still be governed from 214 N. Walnut.

Bailey: Appointed to the Community Development office by Tyler.  In charge of the Hardest Hit Funds.  Consider looking at Larry Riley’s FB post and at the State Board of Accounts audits. Bailey said she did the duties of the deputy mayor with no added pay.   Bailey is the only mayoral candidate that has a history with the current administration and would be privy to the inner workings of this administration.

Riley: Saul is someone you would like as a neighbor, but not for mayor.

Davenport:  Was vacationing in Urbana, Il and couldn’t make the debate.  (just kiddin’)

In closing:  Not much dialog on the current public safety issues or how they would address the issue once in office.  No mention of the debt.  Or how they would improve upon the paving.   Candidates are fluffy nowadays.  They have lots of words but no concrete solutions.

 

 

Not an April Fool’s Day Joke

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black and white dog
Are you pulling my tail? Photo by Helena Lopes

 

Do you all remember Hank the Dog?  If not, here’s a synopsis.  Once upon a time, there was a dog named Hank.  Hank was notorious for being picked-up by city animal control.  You might go as far as to say he was targeted.  The owner was summoned to city court, and although the details are a little murky, one thing we do know, the City of Muncie violated their own animal control ordinances.  You see, there was nothing about the number of times an animal could be picked up and nothing about an owner having to appear in court.    Later they did change the ordinance after they violated it.

Dennis Tyler hired a local attorney firm to represent the City of Muncie. (We’ll leave out Tylers Indy firm for now.)

First, we need to ask, “Why are we paying for their services?”   Did the law firm not read city ordinances pertaining to Hank the Dog?  Did they not know about the Indiana law from 2013? Mayor Tyler and his administration are surrounded by attorneys. Think about this for just a minute.

Funny, how the city’s attorney could find an ordinance that was decades old. Suddenly, the elected officials are concerned because they aren’t following this ordinance. City Code 32.33.

Sec. 32.33. Time and place for regular meetings.
The first regular meeting of the council shall be
held on the first Monday in January after the
general election of the members-elect of the council, at 7:30 p.m. as provided by IC 18-1-3-2. All
regular meetings shall be held on the first Monday evening of each month at 7:30 p.m. and may
be adjourned at the pleasure of the council. Adjourned meetings shall have all the force and
effect of regular meetings. Meetings shall be held
in the council chamber, unless otherwise determined by the president and designated on the
agenda.
(Code 1968, § 31.14; Ord. No. 620-80, 10-10-80)

The city council has been in violation of this for years.  So, what’s to stop them from violating a 2013 Indiana State law?  Or any law, for that matter?    As you can see, absolutely nothing.  Ah ha. Let’s have a meeting on January 1, 2018. Surely no one would show. And, and,  and we’ll be following an ordinance we have never observed.

As the City-run EMS began to heat up, the elected officials, who are supposed to represent the people were hoping to find a something that would weaken the DCEMS supporters on council turnouts.  Wrong on Muncie City Proper’s part.

Demolishing empty lots?  No problem.  We’ll change the addresses.   Who said anything about bid rigging?  Did you hear anything about bid rigging?

This has to be the most poorly run administration to date.  Or at least it comes close.  With all of the history and many of the old-timers would remember days gone by, there was quite a bit of action.  Have talked with a few and the stories they would tell.  Sadly, many have passed from this earth.  Oral history is most effective.

So just for fun, and possibly to jog a few memories, here is a clipping from the local newspaper dated February 21, 1993.  You would think the cost of corruption would be enough to throw these characters out on their ear.  Nope.  They are like a bad penny…just keep showing up again and again.  Most have been replaced with the younger generation.  Make no mistake they learn from their elders.

How do you define insanity?  Well, yes, it’s doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Mayor Tyler – Just won’t quit

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Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.03.53 PMGood morning to all of you fine people.  Much to be grateful today as the Polar Vortex train has left the station.  Good riddance, say we!

On to more pressing news.  Mayor Dennis Tyler announced he would not run for mayor of Muncie again.   However, it has not stopped him from keeping his beloved dream of a city-run EMS program alive.  It appears Dennis Tyler will do as much damage to this city and county as he can before we say “Adios Amigo” come December 31, 2019.

But, you never know if the FBI will come knocking on his door.  After all, he was privy to the meetings where the elite of City Government schemed to cover Craig Nichols’ crimes.   Tyler was an eye-witness, a willing participant in protecting Nichols’ rear.

Exactly how is Dennis Tyler going to pay for his dream?  Why it’s simple.  Rumor has it he will be tapping into the $400,000 Center Township pays the city for Muncie fire protection.  What, say ye?  Center Township is one of the many taxings entities the City of Muncie supports with property taxes.  (Check your bill.)   So, we’re assisting Center Township with city property taxes to provide fire service.

Kay Walker, Center Township Trustee on board with Mayor Tyler?  Is she earmarking the $400,000 for the city-run EMS when a perfectly good DCEMS is already paid with Delaware County taxes?  How will the MFD budget make up the $400,000 decrease in funds?  Talk about double taxation.  We will be paying for not one but two emergency medical services.

Does this stink to high heavens, or what?  Is it not a typical shell game of shuffling funds from here to there?  You bet it is.  Don’t think for one moment Tyler’s last-ditch effort is anything less than a political move and one which causes serious harm to the City and County.

The funding Center Township receives to pay for Muncie fire protection is from Muncie property taxes.  We shift money to Center Township and then Center Township pays the City of Muncie.   Tyler claims concern for the city in reference to being double dipped (the concern is feigned, of course).   Center Township is owned by Democrats for years.  Delaware County is controlled by Republicans and this explains Tyler’s motive in a nutshell.  Politics before People.  Always has been with this crowd.

(On a side note: this makes for a good argument to abolish township governments.  It really is just another layer of bureaucracy.)

Let’s just walk down memory lane.

In 2010 Muncie was facing a financial crisis.  Firemen were to be laid-off and other cuts were needed just to keep the city afloat.  The previous mayor Sharon McShurley and Kay Walker came to an agreement.  This is it in a nutshell:

  • The move to apply for the grant was tied to Center Township turning its firefighting force over to the city, and in turn, paying Muncie $250,000 a year through 2011 and then $400,000 a year after that for fire protection. Earlier news articles said the city would save $750,000 over the next two years and then $700,000 thereafter because of the Center Township agreement and concessions from the fire union.

Star Press 5-5-10

Dennis Tyler took office on January 1st, 2012.  With this office came an inheritance from the previous administration…a goodly sum of $8 million earmarked by McShurley to cover MFD when the SAFER grant expired.  For three years Mayor Tyler claimed enough money to support public services and would not pass LOIT.

That all changed in August 2015 when he and city council proposed the LOIT tax at the highest rate.  No one seemed to remember how or when the $8 million was spent.   The officials didn’t just pass one tax, they increased the EDIT tax, too.  A 43% increase in income taxes was passed in a mere 14 days.

Today we have Mayor Tyler working to resurrect the city-run EMS.  We’re hoping the FBI picks him up before he can create additional damage to the city and the county.  The legacy of Mayor Tyler will continue long after he is gone.    Don’t think for a moment the city will go unscathed.  It’s going to be painful to fix this topsy turvy ship.

We decided to provide a small pictorial timeline of Dennis Tyler.  We’ll begin with State Representative Tyler hightailing it to Urbana, IL.   A failed attempt to shut down Indiana government.  Then as now, he avoided the people.  Every time Tyler is placed on the hot seat he disappears.  And Urbana was no exception.   This is where the phrase “Tyler is vacationing in Urbana” began.  You may hear it said when Tyler refuses to speak or be interviewed by the press.

Next, we see candidate Tyler asking for your vote.  He won by approximately 7,000 votes.  1,000 more votes than McShurley received in 2011 and in 2007.

Picture three is Mayor Dennis Tyler with a caption addressing one of his campaign promises “For the People” and the cost of his administration a 43% income tax.  Well, the EDIT tax needed to be increased to fund Nichols’ property demolition companies.

Moving on is a meme created when Mayor Tyler first introduced his EMS project.  It is meant as humorous satire.  Although, there is nothing funny about his proposal.

 

dennis
State Rep. Dennis Tyler in Urbana, IL 2011

 

Dennis Tyler at Homecoming
Candidate Dennis Tyler 2011

 

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Mayor Dennis Tyler 2015

 

38767196_661940844173026_2766240297636593664_n
Mayor Dennis Tyler 2018

City Council Meeting

Monday, February 4th, 2019

7:30 PM Muncie City Hall

Delaware County Indiana Races 2018

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It has been brought to our attention certain devices are not working with the website.  We are looking into the issue and apologize for any inconvenience.  10-30-18

Indiana

 

Delaware County

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