Indy News Anchor Files Complaint Against Union

WRTV-6 news anchor Trisha Shepherd is one of many American workers who believe she should actually receive the money she earns rather than a union she would prefer not to belong to. Most telling is her quote that she’s not trying to make a political statement, just trying to protect herself. While unions have every right to exist, how can forced membership be justified? The Indy Star reports:

A news program anchor for WRTV (Channel 6) has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the union representing workers at the Indianapolis television station.

Trisha Shepherd, who anchors the evening newscasts, claims in a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board that the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is illegally trying to collect dues or fees from her.

Shepherd’s two-page complaint, filed this week with the NLRB office in Indianapolis, has echoes of the controversy over right-to-work legislation that failed to pass the Indiana General Assembly.

Unions consider such laws to be politically motivated attempts to weaken the labor movement by cutting their ability to charge fees even to nonmembers who receive the benefits of collective bargaining.

Shepherd said Thursday that her complaint to the NLRB isn’t intended as a test case on right-to-work issues.

She said the controversy in Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and other states did not motivate her complaint against AFTRA.

"This is not intended as a political statement," she said.

"I’m just like any other citizen trying to protect myself," Shepherd said.

The union has been trying to collect $1,032 as of April 18. It hired a Pennsylvania collection company to try to get her to pay, according to NLRB filings.

Supporting the Arts on Others’ Dime (Lots of Dimes)

Let’s be clear: Carmel’s Palladium performing arts center is a good thing, adding to the quality of life for residents of the Hamilton County city and surrounding areas. A township trustee spending $10,000 in taxpayer money so he, township board members and their guests could enjoy the grand opening is the latest in a long line of reasons to do away with this outdated form of government.

The key phrase is "taxpayer money." Which makes the following comments all the more ridiculous. The trustee told WRTV-Channel 6, "From my standpoint, it was the right thing to do." The township board chairman adds, "We view this as supporting the arts in Carmel."

The Indianapolis Star editorial on Saturday stated in part:

Keep in mind that poor relief is one of the purported purposes of township government. But tuxedoed patron of the arts? Not on the official list of a township trustee’s duties.

(Trustee Douglas) Callahan, however, was unrepentant in an interview with The Star’s Chris Sikich. He even tried to argue that township officials have been picked on by powerful forces. "People are throwing us to the dogs constantly, from the (Indiana) Chamber of Commerce to the media to the governor’s office,” he said.

The state chamber, the governor and the editorial boards of 16 Indiana newspapers, along with dozens of other officials and organizations, have indeed been critical of township government. But their complaints aren’t so much with the people who fill township offices as with the system in which they operate. Even if every existing township official were to be replaced with people of impeccable judgment and integrity, the township system still would be antiquated, inefficient and unnecessary.

And although Callahan and the township board members exercised poor judgment in using tax dollars to buy tickets to a fancy celebration, the more significant outrage is that Indiana’s townships are collectively hoarding at least $295 million in public money while fewer people in need receive assistance.

Really, it’s time for reform. It won’t happen, however, unless Hoosiers speak up and demand it. Need more convincing. Check out MySmartGov

UPDATE: Upon advice of the Clay Township Attorney, who also happens to be House Speaker Brian Bosma, township officials have decided to do the right thing and return the $10,000 used on Palladium tickets.

Townships are Blaming the Puppies

Thanks to a story by WRTV 6 News in Indianapolis, we now know why townships don’t always file their state-required reports on time — or at all in some cases. It’s because "the dog ate my homework" or "we can’t do that because we don’t know how to use a computer."

Elementary school teachers have heard the former for years, while the latter is no longer applicable as that computer and Internet thing appears to be here to say. Sure, I gave my own interpretations to township officials’ comments when questioned about their reports, but read for yourself and see if you don’t come away with the same impression.

It’s not just an Indianapolis problem, of course. It’s more than 1,000 trustees statewide and 3,000-4,000 advisory board members taking part in a form of government that features ineffectiveness, inefficiency, nepotism, fraud and the like. Just a few of those recent stories can be found here, here, here and here.

While the effort to find a better way to serve citizens and save taxpayer money continues, the results have unfortunately become a farce. The township system DOES NOT WORK, and maybe even worse, lawmakers won’t do anything about it. Those in office and those running for election this fall: When will you fix this mess?