Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

December 29, 2012

Public eye - Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012

By Ken de la Bastide and Scott Smith
Tribune columnists

Take that, public

After the Tribune ran the story “Trustee ousts chief, installs son” Dec. 20, detailing the Ancil family’s takeover of the Harrison Township Volunteer Fire Department, the article received a stream of negative comments on Facebook and elsewhere.

Mainly, people were upset that firefighters were resigning over Harrison Township Trustee Joyce Ancil’s decision to get rid of the elected fire chief and make her son, Mark Ancil, fire chief.

She was aided by her other son, David Ancil, who sits on both the township board and the fire corporation board.

The one commenter in favor of the move was, unsurprisingly, David Ancil himself. We present his comments, unedited.

“To clarify for all you negative people I was elected 3times to the township boar by Harrison township residents and also elected as president of the fire department by the Fire Department in oct after the previous president resigned,” David Ancil posted. “Also if you wish to check I have a conflict of interest document on file at the county and the trustees office. I have been the president in the past but it never was an issue till some of the old members of the department went to the tribune so find someone else to write about in the tribune but they just love writing about Harrison Township so it must have been a slow news day to put that on the front page.”

To quote George Will: well then.

Tipton County secrets

Prior to the big vote Dec. 18 on the Prairie Breeze wind farm in Tipton County, we tried our best to obtain information the Tipton County Council used to decide on tax abatements.

Specifically, we wanted the report prepared by Indianapolis consultants H.J. Umbaugh, which detailed how much tax incentives were worth to both the county and the wind farm developers.

Tipton County Auditor Greg Townsend denied the request through the county’s attorney, John Brooke, on the grounds that the report was prepared to help the county in negotiations with the developer.

“[County officials] are not obligated to provide information created by a private contractor that are communicative for the purpose of decision making,” Brooke wrote in a formal denial of our request.

Tipton County Commissioner Phil Heron also denied our request, apologizing that he “wasn’t able” to get us a copy.

And county commissioner Mike Cline, Heron’s partner in the usual 2-1 commissioners’ majority, simply refused to return our phone calls.

While Brooke indicated Friday he will look into whether we can have the report, now that the county has passed tax abatements for the project, we do wonder why the county officials don’t simply make the document available to the public.

Nothing prevents them from doing exactly that, were they so inclined.

Congratulations

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels has named someone well-known and loved in Kokomo to his Governor’s Planning Council for People with Disabilities.

Russell Ragland, president and CEO of Kokomo Opalescent Glass Company, will serve a term lasting until Sept. 2015.

According to the governor’s office, the council is “an independent state agency that promotes public policy which leads to the independence, productivity and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of society.”