By Scott Tibbs, January 2, 2013
In its most recent fiscal report, Planned Parenthood of Indiana reported that they took in over $900,000 more than they spent. Yet the Monroe County Council decided that PP "deserves" $2,564 forcibly confiscated from Monroe County taxpayers. Since there is a limited amount of money to be distributed, legitimate local charities that do not have the backing of a state or national organization (much less a nearly seven-figure profit margin) were denied help.
If the County Council is going to have a social services funding program, it should not be handled like this.
But that is not the story this year. The story this year is the underhanded, unethical and sneaky way the County Council passed this grant, in a way that they knew would attract as little attention as possible. The council voted to give PP a grant two days after Christmas and the day after a snow emergency that had many people still digging out of their own driveways. They did it when they knew many people would be out of town or otherwise occupied. It was a truly shameful and cowardly move.
This process started in late September with a press release and there was an advisory meeting on October 8. Are we expected to believe that it took three months to have the meeting and award the grants, during Christmas week and right after a snow emergency? Why did the process take so long? Why could this have not been completed in early December, before the Christmas holiday? The answer is simple: The Democrats on the Monroe County Council did not want public input and this was done to ensure there would be no opposition.
Furthermore, the website for the community services grants had not been updated until December. Before that, it had the information for the 2011 grants. The council had a hastily-scheduled meeting to hear applications from social service organizations on December 13, then slipped through the grant during Christmas week, and right after a weather emergency. What are they afraid of? Why pass this at a special meeting, instead of the regularly scheduled monthly council meeting?
There is no defending this action. I am sure the council followed the letter of the law. But the fact of the matter is the scheduling of this "public meeting" effectively hid this vote from the public and intentionally stunted any opportunity for public comment. Why? What are the Democrats afraid of? That one or two people might show up and rebuke them for this vote? There is no honor in this behavior and all of the Democrats should be ashamed of themselves.