Indianapolis City-County Council Democrats took aim at Mayor Greg Ballard for vetoing part of the city budget effecting county offices and their own service contracts accusing the Mayor of trying to “punish” the Council and being “political bully”.
The Mayor vetoed a $32 million transfer from the County General Fund to the various county offices as well a line-item for contracts in the Council budget. The Mayor’s office has said the Council’s budget was irresponsible because it used one-time revenue for multiple expenditures and increased the city’s long-term deficit. They included a graph.
The Democrats say the budget funded a police recruit class and helped pay for public safety and they say the Mayor’s move was simply retribution…
The intent to “punish” needs no further evidence than the second significant veto - to defund all service expenditures needed to operate the Council office. This means that the Council has no funds to pay its lease at the City-County Building in 2013 and must move out. It means that the Council cannot pay for any computer, telephone or network technology and thus the Council cannot communicate with constituents. It means that the Council cannot send out statutorily required meeting notices and thus cannot hold lawful meetings. It also means that the Council cannot pay any contractors whatsoever, no lawyers to draft ordinances, no postage to send mail, nothing. The Mayor’s Chief of Staff has admitted that these risky and destructive vetoes are intended to force the Council to agree to the Mayor’s demands. This is political bullying at work, not leadership.
The Mayor’s Office says a deal had been worked out last week, but the Council Democrats could not agree amongst themselves. Democrats have until Thursday to override the Mayor’s veto, however Council Republicans have made it clear they will not vote for an override. It takes 20 votes to override a veto, there are only 16 Democrats on the Council.