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L’burg voters should pay attention to ethics ordinance proposal The room was virtually empty two weeks ago when Lawrenceburg City Council held a work session on a proposed ethics ordinance. I wasn’t there for any justifiable reason, but I watched the session on YouTube. On Sunday, Feb. 10, I was number 30 to take a gander. Now comes forward a council and administration seriously debating passing a city ethics ordinance in association with state law, and it hardly raises an eyebrow. It recently was a lead Register Publications’ story. Council got down to the bone at the work session, discussing serious issues that have plagued the city’s reputation for years. I was particularly impressed with the questions and perspectives presented by councilmen Aaron Cook and Paul Seymour, Jr. They were not quite at polar opposites, but represented the bookends in a manner of speaking. Water supervisor Andy Lyons also made several excellent suggestions, and recommended that council members take a look at Carmel’s ordinance, which he described as concise and well written. I’m not ready to voice opinions on any ideas or language but council, the administration and clerk-treasurer Richard Richardson, who wrote the initial draft, should be recognized for taking a hard look at the heart of what makes local politics - all politics actually - the servant or ruler of the people. Trust. “For decades the city has

always got a bad rap,” said about everything from acceptcity attorney Del Weldon. ing pens and pads to placing “Everyone thinks we only hire a dollar ceiling on how much our friends and family; we is allowable to accept from do business with our friends companies and non-profit orand family. Whether it is true ganizations. Is it absolutely or not, it’s the percepnothing, as Seymour tion.” insists? Or some small Family members amount, perhaps $15, have been hired, so that officials are but the city now has a method through not accused of graft if they walk away from a which names are not conference with a pen disclosed during the and cheap notebook as application rating proRichardson brought to cess until final candi- JOE light? dates are selected. How should family That is a commend- AWAD be defined? Should it able and giant step, but now city fathers are looking at include nieces and nephews, ways to dispel assumptions of step-children? What about influence pednepotism, and to define nepotism through a common-sense dling? Is it acceptable to allow a company to buy your meal approach. Yes, the city has a nepotism even though the city, through policy and most of what coun- its own traveling budget, reimcil is considering is covered burses the company? I can see by state law. The ethics code all kinds of issues there! It’s an election year Lawis not required, but city leaders seek to go beyond state law, renceburg. I advise every voter and endorse a policy that con- to take a look at that particular You Tube video. It’s less than nects to residents. In a way, it’s a pledge to an hour. If nothing else, it contains operate aboveboard. I hear the skeptics already. some of the most colorful Skepticism is healthy but mal- quotes I have heard at a pubcontent might just be a per- lic meeting in awhile. Here’s sonal problem. So get out of my favorite, and you know the way and, at least, give this it comes from Seymour. The bunch a chance. I doubt an eth- man just has a way with words ics ordinance will be broached for having no formal comagain if it is not passed in this mand of the language whatsoever: election year. “Fifty dollars (spent on Cook and Seymour gave excellent examples of uncom- beer) is going to get me drunk fortable situations in which every damn place I go. So fifty they found themselves, mak- dollars is a lot.” ing the presentation particularJoe Awad is managing edly genuine. Moreover, the group talked itor of Register Publications.

YOUR GIRL FRIDAY Political parties in glass houses should not throw selective stones In the newsroom, we receive a lot of press releases. Many are from various state and national political offices. Sometimes they are informative, sometimes they just tout a political party message. Of course, this is not unusual. You are going to “cheer” for you own team afterall. But what really gets to me are the press releases presenting something that should be bipartisan that turn into an unnecessary dig at another political party. When new U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Indiana, revealed bipartisan legislation earlier this year requiring that Congress not get paid during a government shutdown I thought it was a nice way to start his term. I have many doubts such legislation would pass, but I liked the idea. If politicians took a hit in the pocketbook, like the American people maybe they would think twice about using such extreme measures in negotiations. Now subsequent press releases from Braun’s office do have a predictable Republican party slant, but the same can be said for Democrats. So when a recent press release appeared in my inbox regarding a Braun sponsored bill, tauting legislation to end taxpayer-funded congressional pensions, I took a look. Again, I have doubts this will ever happen, but the general idea is interesting. The press release states, “While Congress remains stuck in gridlock and edges closer to the Feb. 15, deadline for funding the government while securing our border, today U.S. Senator Mike Braun (R-IN) and U.S. Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) introduced legislation through the End Pensions in Congress (EPIC) Act. Currently, members of

Congress are eligible for their But the minute you add a federal pension after just five comment or “example” like years of service. The amount of this one, in my eyes, you taint the pension depends on years of the entire effort. service and the average of the If you want to give examhighest three years of salary.” ples, then provide them from OK. Cool. Sounds like this both parties. is targeted at both sides of the I am not sure how each aisle, even if the legislation was person would define a “career introduced by two Repolitician” but, in the publicans. U.S. Senate, there are As Mike Braun 15 representatives liststates, “If we remove ed on www.ballotpethe luxurious perks as starting their from Congress, we’ll terms in 1999 or earliget better leaders: er. Seven are Democrat that’s why I’ll never and eight are Repubaccept my Senate penlican. sion and, if forced to, I In the U.S. House pledge to donate every DENISE of Representatives, 49 penny to Hoosier char- FREITAG are listed as starting ities.” terms in 1999 or earliAwesome. You can BURDETTE er. The bulk are Demagree with this idea or ocrats with 38. There not, but I am thinking at least he are 11 Republican representahis wiling to donate his money tives. In that list of 50, Pelosi is where his mouth is in this case. in the top eight of longest servBut the part that ruins it for ing. The top three are actually me is the “example” given in Republicans. the text of the press release: So you could make the point “For example, career poli- that the bulk of these higher tician Nancy Pelosi has been pensions in upcoming years in Congress for 33 years, and will benefit House Democrats. if she were to retire today, However, in the Senate, it is her annual taxpayer fund- pretty even. ed pension would be over Is that not a better compar$102,000.” ison than Pelosi bashing that In the quote, attributed to takes away from the credibility Braun, he states, “It’s time we of the bill being presented in a make Washington more like the press release? private sector and the best place If you are going to take the to start is to end taxpayer-fund- Republican slant, point out the ed pensions - like Nancy Pelo- high number of Democrat “casi’s six-figure annual pension reer politicians” in the House. - that senators and congressmen But even better, be more are entitled to in retirement.” evenhanded and point out “exWhy is Nancy Pelosi being amples” showing the impact used as “the” example? She from both parties. is not the only “career politiIf you “drain the swamp” it cian” in U.S. Congress. She does not quite work when you even isn’t the longest serving only siphon out the elephants Democrat. In fact, there also or donkeys. You need to say are many Republican “career goodbye to both. politicians.” If you want to clean someDenise Freitag Burdette is thing up across the board that assistant editor of The Jouris great. I wish there was more nal-Press and The Dearborn of that going on in government. County Register.

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Political parties in glass houses should not throw selective stones  

Part one of three: 2019 Hoosier State Press Association Better Newspaper Contest Best General Commentary, second place, division 2, The Dear...

Political parties in glass houses should not throw selective stones  

Part one of three: 2019 Hoosier State Press Association Better Newspaper Contest Best General Commentary, second place, division 2, The Dear...