Lawrence council increases contract costs needed for ratification


The Lawrence Common Council voted unanimously April 1 to increase the dollar amount for contracts that need to come before the council for ratification to $50,000 or more.

In 2023, the mostly Democratic council passed an ordinance that required the Republican mayor’s office to bring any professional service contracts of $5,000 or more to the council for approval. There were tensions between the two branches at that time.

The administration changed in November 2023 with the election of Democratic Mayor Deb Whitfield, along with a 100 percent Democratic council.


During a Finance Committee meeting prior to the regular council meeting, Councilor Lisa Chavis (D-at large) noted that there had been debate in the past about when a contract needed to come before the council, because some contracts are based on as-needed services and are not a set amount. Chavis asked that if the administration believes a contract could exceed the $50,000 limit, they bring it to the council.

“I know the scope of things can change,” she said. “I’m flexible with it, (but) I think if there’s an understanding that it could possibly exceed that amount, if you could get that to the council as quickly as possible, I think that would go a long way.”

Deputy Chief of Staff LeAndre Level said that is the administration’s intent.


Also during the April 1 council meeting, several contracts that were approved Jan. 25 by the Board of Public Works were ratified. The contracts with Kreig Devault and Catalyst Public Affairs were for lobbying services to promote the city’s interests with state lawmakers.

In other matters, the council unanimously approved a resolution honoring the late state Sen. Jean Breaux, (D-District 34), who died March 20. Breaux’s district included portions of Lawrence.

The resolution, read aloud by City Clerk Leatrice Adkisson, noted that the community lost a valued member and leader.

“Sen. Breaux was widely and rightly known as a fierce advocate for the residents of the City of Lawrence, whom she represented in the Indiana Senate,” Adkisson read. “Sen. Breaux was respected in many corners for her willingness to fight for what she believed in and for her determination to speak her mind.”

The resolution stated that Breaux was a mentor to other women of color, “a role model and a trailblazer who kept the light on the path for those attempting to follow in her footsteps.”

“Therefore, be it resolved by the Common Council of the City of Lawrence (that) the common council recognizes Sen. Breaux for her tireless efforts in representing residents of the City of Lawrence in the Indiana Senate; the Common Council greatly appreciates Sen. Breaux’s profound impact on the countless people that she mentored throughout her career; The common council honors the memory of Sen. Breaux and celebrates her legacy of advocacy for residents of the City of Lawrence and mourns her death; (and) the Common Council extends sincere condolences to the entire Breaux family,” Adkisson read.

During the administration’s time for comments, Level noted that Breaux was to lie in state in the Rotunda at the Indiana Statehouse on April 5, with a public viewing from 4-7 p.m.; and a celebration of life was planned April 6 at Mount Carmel Baptist Church, 9610 E. 42nd St., Indianapolis, with a viewing from 9-11 a.m. and services at 11 a.m.

Level also updated the council on some activities, including the recent Spring Fling, which was March 30 at Lawrence Community Park. He said about 475 kids signed up for the egg hunts and there were more than 1,000 candy-filled eggs hidden for children to find.

He also stated that Whitfield had sworn in new Lawrence Police Department officers earlier on April 1.

The next Lawrence Common Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. April 17 at Lawrence Government Center, 9001 E. 59th St. A Finance Committee meeting is tentatively set for 5 p.m. that day in the same location.

Videos of live and recorded public meetings for the City of Lawrence can be viewed on the city’s Facebook page. Search for City of Lawrence, Indiana – Government.