Sunday, October 18, 2009


After last Thursday's council meeting, we decided to give our readers the real story about the SO called Caucus Meeting, October 10, 2009, at Democrat Headquarters.

We are going to first give you what Indiana Law says:

Caucus and Violation of the Open Door Law:


Indiana Code:

IC 5-14-1.5-2

Sec. 2 (h)

(h) "Caucus" means a gathering of members of a political party or coalition which is held for the purposes of planning political strategy holding discussions designed to prepare the members for

IC 5-14-1.5-2

Sec. 2

(b) Governing Body

(c) Meetings

(d) Official action

On Saturday at 10:00am at the Democrat Headquarters there was a meeting held and the following council members attended:

Jeff Gahan
Pat McLaughlin
John Gonder
Bob Caesar
Steve Price
Diane Benedetti
Jack Messer

Non council members in attendance were: Controller Kay Garry and City Attorney Shane Gibson.

Council President Dan Coffey refused to attend and Council Attorney Stan Robinson was on vacation.

As reported in the Oct. 16, 2009 Tribune, Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede was the lone member unable to attend the caucus, as he is the only Republican on the council.

The first thing you have to determine is: was this a Caucus or a violation of "Open Door Law."

We heard what Mrs. Benedetti stated at Thursday's council meeting, but as they say: there are always two sides to an issue or in this case maybe 5 or 6 sides.

Freedom Of Speech is putting the pieces of this puzzle together!

Coffey's statement:

Council President Coffey on Friday told us by (email) that Kay Garry, Bob Caesar and Diane Benedetti made a trip to Indianapolis to meet with DLGF. Mr. Coffey stated he was contacted by Council Attorney Robinson before Stan left on vacation that Controller Garry, wanted to have a meeting to discuss with the other council members what she found out at DLGF. Mr. Coffey stated that he and City Attorney Robinson agreed to have this meeting on Wednesday Oct. 14, 2009, the day before the regular Thursday council meeting.

Benedetti's statement No. 1:

"Benedetti maintained she contacted Stan Robinson, the Council attorney, before the meeting with DLGF to ask of she could set up a caucus. She said she was given the go ahead by Robinson."

Benedetti's statement No. 2:

"Councilwoman Diane McCartin-Benedetti had attended a meeting last week with DLGF, Councilman Bob Caesar and City Controller Kay Garry concerning the appeal, and said she called a Democrat caucus meeting Saturday to inform the council of the appeal before "it hit the papers Sunday."

Benedetti statement No. 3:

'In a phone interview after the meeting, Benedetti said she went ahead with the meeting because of the sensitive time frame of the appeal issue. She conceded she had really wanted to hold the caucus for other issues when she informed Robinson on her intentions and said the appeal was too pressing to ignore. "I didn't want it to hit the council in the face," she said of the news of the appeal."

Benedetti's statement No. 4

"Benedetti maintained she called Robinson several times this week to inform him of what transpired at the caucus, but he did not return those calls.

Council Attorney Stan Robinson's statement:

"Robinson told Benedetti that she'd done enough to damage this council already."

Freedom Of Speech maintains there are several pieces of this puzzle that are NOT making sense!

Our understanding is that under Indiana State Law the only person who can call a caucus is the Floyd County Democrat Chairman.

* Since WE taxpayers are paying City Attorney Shane Gibson $150,000 salary, why did he NOT do his job and go to Indianapolis with Controller Garry to meet with DLGF?

* Why did City Attorney Shane Gibson at Democrat Headquarters tell those Council members when they questioned him about this meeting violating the "Open Door Law" he said it was a CAUCUS not a meeting?

It is our opinion and it is obvious that 1. he doesn't know the Open Door Law and 2. they must have thought because it was Harvest Homecoming this would NOT get OUT and 3. each of you who reads this has to remember City Attorney Gibson and Controller Kay Garry works
for Mayor England.

It appears that based on Indiana State Law, City Attorney Gibson, Councilwoman Benedetti, Councilman Caesar and Controller Garry, YOU FOUR violated IC 5-14-1.5-2 Public Meetings (Open Door Law):

Our opinion is based on IC 5-14-1.5-2:

IC 5-14-1.5-2 (b) "Governing body" means two (2) or more individual who are:

IC 5-14-1.5-2 (c) "Meeting" means a gathering of a majority of the governing body of a public agency for the purpose of taking official action.

IC 5-14-1.5-2 (d) "Official action" means to:

(1) receive information;

(2) deliberate;

(3) making recommendation;

After reviewing Indiana Code of Laws, we, the citizens of New Albany believe that you four have violated the Law. We also feel you have violated our rights as citizens to attend these meetings since all of you WORK for US and WE pay YOUR salaries!

Freedom Of Speech would like to say to Council Vice President Benedetti:

First regardless of your differences with Council President Coffey, you had NO right to not follow the chain of command and procedure. You took it upon yourself to bypass Coffey and knew City Attorney Robinson was out of town on vacation.

For what ever reason and (we think we know) if it is the fact that Coffey, Gahan, Ceasar and you attended the "exit conference" and you know what is coming out in the 2008 audit, your lack of experience, and lack of knowledge, YOU are NOT fit to sit on this Council.

You NOT only need to apologize to the attending council members but to the citizens of New Albany!

When you made the statement at your so called CAUCUS meeting: You said, I want a "consensus" before we leave, put the final nail in your coffin!

Prove us WRONG - Mrs. Benedetti and City Attorney Gibson!!!!!!

"Stop playing politics!"