The City Council last week spent 90 minutes questioning the citys handling of its plan to spend nearly $1 million to upgrade all the elevators at Citizens Square.
The questions included topics such as the studies done on the elevators before buying the building and why the city should use tax increment money to finance the expense. The most pointed question, however, came close to the end.
Council President Tom Smith, R-1st, asked what many at the table and in the audience were thinking when he questioned whether any political considerations were involved in the timing of the announcement. The city didnt disclose the cost until early January, a few months after Mayor Tom Henry won re-election.
Absolutely not, Controller Pat Roller responded, noting she got the mayor in trouble by having the expense come out when it did. Roller said previously she was given a report on the elevators in August but decided to wait on it for a few months.
Roller also apologized to the council members for not informing them of the elevator expense before it went to the Redevelopment Commission for approval. The contract to do the repairs will go before the council for a vote.
The conclusion to the final Senate debate on the right-to-work bill got a little heated Wednesday.
Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, said he didnt appreciate some of the rhetoric used by Democrats, including talk of racism and impugning the governor.
After the vote was tallied and the Senate took a recess to let things cool down, Sen. Tom Wyss, R-Fort Wayne, confronted Sen. Greg Taylor, D-Indianapolis, at the back of the chamber.
Wyss said he didnt appreciate Taylor saying he was embarrassed to be a member of the Senate due to the process the bill took.
Taylor told Wyss to respect his vote just the same as Taylor respected his and then began to walk away. Wyss grabbed his arm, causing Taylor to say loudly, get your hands off me.
Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said later that day that both men are passionate and have moved past the incident.
Funny moments too
It hasnt all been chaos and anxiety at the Indiana General Assembly this year.
As House members worked through a long calendar last week, a few zingers flew.
At one point, Rep. David Yarde, R-Garrett, gave a long-winded explanation of a bill. He even started getting whistles from his colleagues to wrap it up. When he moved from the podium, Rep. Eric Turner, R-Cicero, said dryly – We understand why Rep. Yarde is running for the Senate.
That body is known for its deliberative nature.
On Wednesday around 6 p.m. House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, also sheepishly admitted he had ordered chicken for the members about an hour earlier.
The problem was that the members had breezed through the remaining bills and were done for the night – before the chicken arrived but not in enough time to cancel the order.
Staffers and state police troopers enjoyed the chicken, though, so it didnt go to waste.
A third funny moment came during a vote on an amendment for a graduated income tax that would cut many Hoosiers tax liability. Rep. Scott Reske, D-Anderson, dared Republicans to stand by their calls for reducing taxes but said they would likely back away.
As the amendment was defeated, Republican members yelled beep, beep, beep from the back of the room – imitating the backing-up sensor on a truck.
A few more Hoosiers filed for Indiana House and Senate races last week. The deadline to do so is Friday.
Democrat Christopher Wright is running in the House District 18 seat.
Democrat Mike Wilber seeks to be elected in the open House District 82 seat.
Sen. Sue Glick, R-LaGrange, filed for re-election in Senate District 13.
Republican Jon Hare is running in House District 22.
Rep. Dan Leonard, R-Huntington, filed in House District 50, where he could face incumbent Rep. Jeff Espich, R-Uniondale.