With this being Governor Mitch Daniels last year in office, some of the priorities he set early on in his first term have not been reached. One is Local Government Reform.
The governor appointed former governor Joe Kernan and Supreme Court Justice Randall Shepard to lead a committee to address local government issues. The work was finally consolidated into the Kernan-Shepard Report.
One of the recommendations was to get rid of township officials and to shift their responsibilities to the centralized county government. Another recommendation was the creation of a County Manager position or a single elected county official.
We asked State Senator Ed Charbonneau if he could see any proposals in the Kernan-Shepard Report being addressed in this session of the legislature.
“I’m sure there are going to be at least a couple of those that I think we can deal with and probably should this time around,” said Charbonneau. “One is the conflict of interest where you have someone on the payroll in a local unit of government that at the same time is sitting on the governing board or fiscal board that rules on things such as their pay. Nepotism is an issue that will probably be addressed.”
We asked him about the county manager proposal.
“I can’t see that in this short session. There are more contentious issues that will be dealt with. The single county executive, if it’s dealt with, might be along the lines of a referendum option if a county wants to do that.”
Because of this year’s Super Bowl, another piece of legislation that could be put on a fast track is the smoking ban. It’s almost sure to be approved this year and many legislators want it done before the Super Bowl. The ban could be passed and put in place on an emergency basis.
The legislature begins its work tomorrow afternoon at 1:30 p.m. ET.