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Supervising teens and local government schemes

By Scott Tibbs, March 20, 2014

According to federal prosecutors, a concrete company sent fraudulent invoices to Bloomington city government, which were approved by a city employee. (Link requires a subscription.) The fraudulent invoices, paid between May 13, 2011 and February 14, 2014, amounted to over $800,000, and the city employee allegedly took a kickback.

The big question here is how these invoices were paid and what was lacking in the internal controls in city government finances. Why did the accounting staff not notice that invoices were paid to different companies for the same work, for over two and a half years? Mayor Kruzan has serious questions to answer about internal financial controls and the people of Bloomington deserve a plan of action to stop this from happening again.

In other news, how late is too late for teenagers to be out unsupervised? As the Indianapolis City-County Council considers a tougher curfew, we should all be reminded that the problem cannot be solved by government. Parents need to be responsible for their children, especially in their teenage years.

Speaking of being responsible for your children, the story of teenagers exchanging explicit photographs at Bloomington High School North is another reminder of why parents need to closely monitor their teens Internet activity, both on social media and in private communication. Teenagers today have far more opportunity to get into electronic trouble than we did when I was in high school, and it is critical that parents pay close attention to what teens are doing and properly train them in the moral and responsible use of telecommunications equipment.

Finally, does local government need a planning department? I addressed a proposal to restrict chain restaurants in downtown Bloomington last week, but a larger question is whether we need planning at all. Clearly, this does not mean there should be no laws regulating land use, if only because there is a role in protecting neighbors’ property rights. But is government really the entity that should be directing growth, or should we trust the wisdom of the people who actually own the land to be developed?