House Committee Trims Indianapolis Council Bill

A House committee has killed a proposal to eliminate the four at-large seats on Indianapolis' City-County Council.

indy county council building

Photo: Yu-Keng Shih (flickr)

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is seeking the right to appoint department heads without council ratification, and expanded budget review powers for the city controller.

A House committee has killed a proposal to eliminate the four at-large seats on Indianapolis’ City-County Council. All four seats are currently held by Democrats, but Democrats say they do not like the revised bill much better.

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard is seeking the right to appoint department heads without council ratification, and expanded budget review powers for the city controller. Democratic legislators and county officeholders charge the proposal shifts too much power to the mayor.

Senator Mike Young (R-Indianapolis) added the proposal to abolish the at-large seats, which Democrats control. The Senate passed that version, but House Government Reform Chairman Kevin Mahan (R-Hartford City) deleted it, noting it appears to be the most controversial element.

City lobbyist Joe Loftus says Ballard is focused on the bill’s executive-branch provisions and has no position on the council proposal.

Even without that provision, Lowell Republican Rick Niemeyer, a former Lake County councilman, joined Democrats in voting no. He says he is uncomfortable with the legislature stepping into local government affairs.

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