Political Notebook

  • GOP treasurer candidate leaving state post
    Republican State Treasurer candidate Kelly Mitchell is leaving her position Friday as director of TrustINdiana in order to focus more time on her campaign.
  • GOP finds Bayh, Hogsett, unrecognizable
    Indiana Republicans recently sent their intern out to have a little fun with the possible candidacies of Democrats Joe Hogsett for Indianapolis mayor and Evan Bayh for governor.
  • Hamilton honored by ex-Congress group
    Lee Hamilton recently received the 2014 Distinguished Service Award of the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress.
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FSSA blasts activist's e-mail

Letter to workers improper, it says

INDIANAPOLIS – Political activist Beryl Cohen must be getting under the skin of the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration.

Why else would it respond to a four-sentence e-mail that Cohen – a former FSSA executive – sent to the agency’s employees last week?

The e-mail talked about the state’s $1 billion modernization contract with a private, for-profit, out-of-state company to run the eligibility services for welfare and other benefits.

“A group of concerned citizens has created a website, called Concerned Hoosiers, to ensure that the most vulnerable members of our communities are not harmed or forgotten in the midst of this significant outsourcing,” the e-mail said. “Please help us do that by sharing your stories about how the transition is going. You can do so anonymously at www.concernedhoosiers.org.”

The FSSA responded quickly by sending Cohen a formal letter about her “spam.”

It said she should have considered the state guidelines governing the use of state resources during working hours for personal use.

“In the future I hope you will consider those state employees and their responsibilities to serve the taxpayers that hired us before you inundate their email addresses with spam solicitations.”

Even more interestingly, the FSSA put out a news release on the little war of words.

FSSA Communications Director Marcus Barlow said neither Cohen, nor Concerned Hoosiers, has ever spoken directly with the agency about their concerns.

“They only communicate with us through the media,” he said. “She chose the playing field.”

Rokita reconfigures staff

Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita announced several key second-term staff transitions last week, including a new securities commissioner and chief of staff.

Matt Tusing, formerly of the attorney general’s office and the House Republican communications staff, will take over Paul Okeson’s job as deputy secretary of state and chief of staff.

Chris Naylor, lead attorney for Rokita’s prosecution assistance unit, will become Indiana’s securities commissioner, replacing O. Wayne Davis.

And Allison Fore, who used to work for the Illinois state treasurer, will become communications director, replacing Jen Fanger.

‘City-County Call-in’

Fort Wayne City Councilman Don Schmidt, R-2nd, and Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters will resume their monthly public-access TV program this week.

The officials took a break over the summer, but “City-County Call-in” begins again Wednesday at 7 p.m. on City TV.

Schmidt and Peters will discuss a variety of topics, including property tax reform, economic development, budgets and government efficiencies. People who wish to ask a question during the live one-hour program should call 422-8708.

Allen judge on panel

Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, recently appointed Allen Circuit Court Judge Thomas Felts to the Indiana Commission on Courts for a four-year term. The commission reviews and reports to the Indiana General Assembly on all requests for new courts, changes in jurisdiction of existing courts, and all other matters relating to court administration.

Felts is president of the Indiana Judges Association and a member of the Indiana Forensic Diversion Task Force.

To reach Political Notebook via e-mail, contact Benjamin Lanka at blanka@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. To discuss this entry of Political Notebook or others, go to the Political Notebook topic of “The Board” at www.journalgazette.net.

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