Riding the Government Reform Roller Coaster

The effort to introduce the concepts of efficiency and better service to citizens into Indiana’s local government structure has seen more ups and downs than your favorite ride at Holiday World or any amusement park of your choice.

Following seven-plus weeks of progress, retreat, debate and committee members offering support for the broken-beyond-repair status quo, the full Senate restored teeth to some of the legislation on Tuesday.

Eliminating township boards in 91 counties (why not Marion, we must ask?) would be a tremendous step. Doing away with rampant nepotism and unconsionable levels of budget reserves are also a move in the right direction. Some county, library and election reforms are also in play.

The attention turns to the House, with the ball resting with Speaker Pat Bauer. The nearly 40-year veteran of the Statehouse wars has promised all along to take a look at what comes over from the Senate — and he repeated that pledge to the Indiana Chamber’s executive committee last week. Not an overwhelming endorsement, but there is some optimism. This should not be a partisan issue; all can find a place on the bandwagon for better government.

MySmartgov.org makes the case for change. Indiana Chamber members can get the latest in a March 6 First Friday Conference Call featuring Chamber expert Mark Lawrance and government reform commission member Louis Mahern.