Harris on the Record

What impacts you and the media doesn't cover. – Art Harris

Dump Fire & Police – Hire Private Public Safety Firms

Now that the gurus on the Zionsville Town Council have canned the town’s long-time engineering firm, HNTB (2012), and dumped its’ lawyers at Krieg DeVault (Feb. 11) why not go a step further and terminate all the personnel on the police and fire departments?

The savings would be immense. No longer would the town be funding the staggering costs of pensions for personnel on the two departments, plus their health care costs, which amounts to millions annually.

But, what would the town do for police and fire protection?

Contract the public safety services to outside private firms. Where is Blackwater when we need them?

With the reduction in troops from the Mideast, and many returning servicemen and women, surely enough could be found to form private fire and police services for smaller municipalities. Think of the savings to cash-strapped towns and cities.

So, which legal firm did the council select?

At the end of the council meeting Monday night (Feb.11), what followed was seen by members of the public present as most awkward.

Former council president Tim Haak made a motion to retain Krieg DuVault, which died for lack of a second. Welcome to the Lone Ranger team Tim.

Then, Councilor Tom Schuler made a motion to table the vote, which was seconded. After several minutes of trying to explain what was happening, Schuler’s motion and the second were withdrawn and a vote was taken to hire Barnes & Thornburg, the powerhouse Indianapolis law firm.

Whoa.

Barnes & Thornburg represents the Zionsville Community Schools. Doesn’t that create the appearance of a conflict of interest? How is that firm going to represent the schools and town at the same time when an issue arises when one or the other (schools or town) needs legal representation in dealing with a situation involving both, i.e. the schools participation with the town on the DOW property?

And, if anyone is interested Councilor Elizabeth Hopper recused herself from voting on hiring Barnes & Thornburg because her husband is a member of the firm. Presumably, Councilor Hopper would not vote on any further matter involving the firm and the town.

THE FORD ROAD BRIDGE 220 SAGA CONTINUES

A new proposal for the Ford Road bridge over Eagle Creek suggests a 36-foot wide span, which would provide for four (4) lanes of traffic on a two-lane road.

Some folks are speculating that after the construction of a new bridge, efforts will be made to widen Ford Road to four lanes from Oak Street to 96th Street.

But, then where do we go? 96th Street is the Marion-Boone county line and it’s two lanes to the I-465 overpass.

And, because of the controversy about replacing the current bridge with an historic iron truss span, created largely by County Council member Gene Thompson, the $2.58 million in federal funds have been withdrawn.

My vote is we put Thompson in charge of a new bridge.

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