Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Transparency and Open Government

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln traveled to a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and urged his countrymen to dedicate themselves to the preservation of "government of the people, by the people and for the people."

It is to this same cause that we, Freedom of Speech, dedicate ourselves today.

Throughout the last several Administrations there has been an ongoing struggle to put personal interest ahead of the people's interest of the City of New Albany.

When Mayor Garner, Police Chief Harl, Board of Works, Sewer Board, Stormwater Board, Department heads and others bend local government to serve self interest, cronyism, nepotism, the public interest suffers and the urgent priorities of the taxpayers go unaddressed.

Let's discuss a few things going on in New Albany:

Is it true Chuck Simons, Street Dept. Supervisor, is not only running our Street Department but Sat through Tuesday he is busy working in Evansville, Indiana doing assessments? Is it also true he only works for New Albany Wed. through Friday and draws a full pay check? Is this why our street department can't get their work done? Is this fair to the taxpayers?

What ever happen to: If you don't work~you don't get paid?

Freedom of Speech would like to know how Mayor Garner and City Operations manager Anthony Toran can continue to allow this to go on.

It's pretty damn sad street department employee's have to work underneath the fear of retaliation if they complain.Our Street Department use to pick up waste, repair streets and sidewalks. Now - the street department, has to do what the new sanitation contractor refuses to do.

* Secret investors of Sanitation contract:

Source: New Albany Tribune

Mayor Garner you have stated for over 3 1/2 years "We work for the people," and they're entitled to know what we're doing or how we're spending their tax dollars." Then why do you refuse to disclose the other investors? What "do you really have" to hide? You say your an honest mayor prove it, tell the taxpayers who the investors are!

Since we now have your attention Mayor Garner, is it also true prior to the may election you was all for the NAFD contract including a raise, fixing the ambulance problem, and fixing many of the other contractual issues that raised firefighters concerns, but after you was beat you refused to sign off on anything. Is it also true the NAFD has filed for Arbitration?

Which means you are going to have to waste valuable city tax dollars as well as union money in order to go to arbitration in order to get the situation resolved. So much for bargaining in good faith uh...Jimmy!

* Police Chief Harl allows police officers to use take home cars for part-time job.

Source: New Albany Tribune

Freedom of Speech would like to know why taxpayers should foot the bill for your officers to work a second job?

Is it true you will be collecting $105,252.12 upon your retirement 1-1-2008 through the Drop Program?

* Cost of setting up separate billing office for Stormwater. (Salaries, expensive computer equipment, software plus, printing and postage).

Source: New Albany Tribune

Freedom of Speech would like to know why we are paying both Indiana Water and New Albany Billing office?

Indiana Water reads the meters, prints the bills and collects the money.

* Stormwater Board agreed to a three-year EMC contract worth $507,000.00

Source: New Albany Tribune

What's that smell? Kickbacks and Abuse of Power...

* Fire Chief Toran by passed other more qualified and experience firefighters and promotes his own son.

Is this nepotism?

A strong right of access to local government information is the key component of an accountable government. In the simplest sense, accountability is being answerable for performance or results. Much of the public trust rests upon the mayor being openly accountable for his decisions, actions and mistakes. When elected officials operate in secret or refuse to disclose information to the public the trust is loss.

Instead of padding budgets and refusing to furnish council members with pertinent information. You play the shell game.

You're not fighting Freedom of Speech Mayor Garner. What you're fighting is "the public's right to know."

The principles of good government is transparency and accountability, fairness and equity, efficiency and effectiveness, respect for the rule of law, and high standards of ethical behavior.

And New Albany does not have it!

Our final thoughts: Garner stated: "Not everybody's going to agree with the work that you do, and that's the tough part of the job. There's a small group of angry individuals that are louder than the majority of the city of New Albany...

Source: New Albany Tribune

It makes no difference if we agree with you are not Mayor Garner. The bottom line is that we taxpayers can not afford to pay the cost of the way you are running our city. Were not angry, were broke!

Your right Jimmy...Freedom of Speech is the "majority" of the City of New Albany!

Council President Kochert said it so well "He has been the very worse mayor that New Albany has ever seen. He's made a disaster out of everything he's got a hold of."

Source: New Albany Tribune

Great wisdom is not obvious,
great merit is not advertised,
when you see the subtle,
it is easy to win!