Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Letters

April 24, 2014

LETTER: Tipton commissioner keeps agency matters secret

Commissioner keeps panel matters secret

An April 14 letter exposed the truth about a politician’s actions vs. what he writes or says.

The minutes from an Alliance Board governmental meeting indicated Phil Heron voted no for a request to allow public comment. He was the commissioner who took the lead in creating the Alliance Board and the new local economic development organization (LEDO), saying it would be “open and transparent” with the tax dollars used to support it.

For $2,500, Mr. Heron enlisted the services of Ball State to have meetings on how to start up the new group. He kept saying these meetings would be open to the public, but they were never advertised. An interlocal agreement was pushed through the city and county governments that set the stage for this LEDO to function using tax dollars. It called for six private citizens to receive and manage $150,000 a year of our money. One of these citizens named to the LEDO doesn’t even live in our county. The Alliance Board of elected officials was set up to oversee the LEDO, but the Alliance Board only meets one or two times a year.

Mr. Heron peddled his LEDO project as “open and transparent,” but the LEDO meetings are closed to the public and no detailed accountability for how our money is spent is available. By the end of this year, the citizen members and their LEDO will have received more than $340,000 of our money and we can’t even go to their meetings to make sure it is spent wisely. No one can see a copy of the director’s contract of the receipts for where the money goes. We can only see a general overview.

Why didn’t anyone on this oversight Alliance Board question allowing $2,800 per year ($233 a month) for the director’s cellphone?

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