It is necessary to respectfully challenge John Accetturo’s column of Nov. 12, recommending that Carmel become a second-class city.
The core question that Accetturo never considered was how becoming a second-class city would improve our government. The answer is that there is no evidence that second-class city status improves government; it simply shifts power.
Accetturo advocated two changes resulting from second-class city. The first was that the Clerk-Treasurer position will be eliminated. He cites concerns that checks and balances would be lost, but then changes topic.
It would seem appropriate to consider the fact that the Clerk-Treasurer has now been entrusted with the finances of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, whose fiscal actions led directly to the need to refinance almost $200 million in debt, as well as to resolve a state audit of the CRC that determined a need to account for $835,000 in revenues, as well as other findings.
The Clerk-Treasurer is the chief financial officer of the city and is arguably also the most transparent office in city government. How are people better served by eliminating that office?
The second change that Accetturo cited was that second-class city status would provide for two more city councilors, resulting in “better representation of the people.”
There is no evidence anywhere that more representation is better. Indianapolis has 29 city councilors who frequently devolve into silliness. On its worst day, the Carmel City Council is arguably more effective at governing than most of Indiana’s first- or second-class cities.
In his penultimate paragraph, Accetturo also makes reference to the Clerk-Treasurer’s salary, and other costs of her office, and then advocates that a city controller would report to the mayor. Indiana’s other second-class cites have demonstrated that the office of the city controller is usually more expensive to operate than the offices of clerk-treasurers.
In summation, there is simply no evidence that second-class city status provides any improvement in the functions of municipal government. I reiterate that this respectful response bears no malice to Accetturo.
Michael R. Shaver