As a 20 year incumbent County Council member who was re-elected to another 4 year term, it appears to me there is a distinct bias against the County Council’s perspective in the repeated columns authored by Fred Swift.
Today’s version started off by stating “.. assuming County Commissioners and the County Council can reach agreement, no small task for our local government.”
This is absolutely slanted against the County Council in that he insinuates that it is the unreasonable obstacle to the plans of the County Commissioners; when instead we are asking basic questions and performing our fiduciary role involving taxpayers’ monies.
The County Council has only voted down ONE major project in 20 years. That should be viewed as a fantastic success rate and one which should be celebrated, rather than criticized. In fact, Hamilton County government, as a whole, not solely the Commissioners, have received repeated accolades and awards from outside groups for cooperative efforts.
In addition, Mr. Swift is astute in his observation that construction and engineering firms are eager for these projects to be approved: they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the County Commissioners who will make the decisions as to whom receives the County’s contracts.
But he is rather presumptuous with his outlook on tax rates and whether or not projects will be funded with bonds, cash reserves or a mixture of the two. Those decisions belong to the County Council and I am doubtful he has spoken with a majority to determine their point of view.
Finally, it is a fact that, without the cooperation of the County Council in granting the appropriations requested, the Commissioners could not award one single contract… not one.
I am once again grateful the voters of Hamilton County have chosen me to represent them on the Hamilton County Council for the next four years; I will maintain my focus on being the taxpayer’s advocate and prioritizing spending on supporting and improving our County government’s great parks, public safety resources and transportation infrastructure.
The silence from other officials, who would be screaming from the rooftops if the same crime had been perpetrated against them, has been amazingly deafening and inexplicable.
I look forward to the Special Prosecutor and Special Court assigned to handle the criminal charge against Jeff Hern delivering justice. There should be no reward of receiving a political office by participating in criminal mischief. Again, I call on other officials to demonstrate their respect for both fair play and adherence to legal activity in political campaigns by condemning the actions of Jeff Hern and asking him to resign as trustee and the County Council today.
Here’s the full press release of my statement on the filing of misdemeanor theft charges against my opponent Jeff Hern:
On Thursday October 27, Jeff Hern was formally charged with a misdemeanor charge of criminal mischief for the theft of my campaign signs. After reviewing the evidence, including cell phone tower records, Special Prosecutor Brent Eaton filed the charge accusing Hern of stealing multiple campaign signs in April during the Hamilton County Republican primary race.
I am grateful that the special prosecutor has recognized the serious issues at stake here: this was not a simple prank or childish behavior. An elected official’s behavior during the campaign tells us a lot about his behavior in office. If Jeff Hern stole campaign signs when he thought no one was looking, what would he do overseeing finances for our entire county?
Hern’s response to the incident has been very troublesome. After initially failing to comment, he has been denying his guilt despite the evidence.
In my over 20 years of public service, I have disagreed strongly and debated vigorously with various opponents. We’ve had serious differences, but we’ve always respected each other and upheld a sense of fairness, not to mention the law. This situation is different, and I am saddened that it has come this far.
In April when the signs were stolen, I called on all public officials to reject these tactics and the candidates who used them, yet no one has done so. These charges are a cloud hanging over the Hamilton County GOP.
To clear the air, I call on Jeff Hern to resign the day after the election, and I hope the rest of the County GOP will agree. The principles of honesty and fair play are too important to be disrespected. The citizens of Hamilton County deserve much better from their elected officials.
Here’s the full text of a speech I delivered at the Hamilton County Republican dinner in late September.
My name is Rick McKinney and I am a current County Council member, serving At-Large. I was very honored to have received the most votes in the May Primary of any County candidate and I hope to repeat that feat November 8.
The strength of the Hamilton County Republican party will be tested this November election because, due to a new law enacted this July, SB61, a voter may NOT vote a straight party ticket when there are multiple positions open for At-large Council seats.
You will need to individually pick candidates, just like in the primary. For newcomers, a Democrat has not been elected to a County wide office here since 1950.
Early voting begins October 12 at the Judicial Center in Noblesville. Also, for the first time, there will be early voting available in both Fishers and Carmel, in addition to voting at the Judicial Center. The location in Fishers is at City Hall and in Carmel at the Public Library. Schedule of hours and dates are on the hamiltoncounty.in.gov website.
Finally, County Council monthly meetings have just begun being webcast LIVE , so take a look now for the archived video of our September 7 meeting or the next one on October 5 at 7p.m, at hamiltoncountytv.com or hamiltoncounty.in.gov.
I believe in fiscal conservatism and smart corrections policies. We shouldn’t spend $2 million a year to house a handful of juvenile inmates. The vastly underused juvenile facility should be converted to accommodate adults, especially when we have an immediate need for expanded facilities for them.
I’d like to issue a huge thank you to the voters of Hamilton County today! I am deeply appreciative and humbled by the support I received in today’s Republican primary and I look forward to the general election in November. I welcome the opportunity to continue serving as the taxpayer’s advocate and I’m excited to keep striving to make Hamilton County a great place in which to work, play and live.
Just released my campaign video ad — highlighting my defense of the Hamilton County taxpayer. Unlike challengers, I am NOT backed by special interests and I do not support their pet projects. Please watch and share!
Over the past several days, many of my campaign signs - worth nearly $1000 - have gone missing. After confirming with the city of Fishers that the signs were properly placed, I called the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office to report the thefts. Investigation led to the discovery of a cell phone on the ground where one sign was taken. This cell phone is allegedly owned by Jeff Hern of Fishers, one of my opponents in the upcoming County Council primary. The phone is now evidence in the Sheriff’s criminal investigation.
In all my years in politics, I have never witnessed such behavior. This type of dirty trick is unacceptable and a criminal charge in the state of Indiana. I hope whoever is found responsible for these thefts will apologize and make restitution. Additionally, I hope all current and aspiring elected officials will reject these tactics and the candidates who use them. Our citizens deserve better representatives who believe in fair play.
I have full confidence that law enforcement will investigate not only this incident, but also the broader corruption and pay for play politics plaguing Hamilton County. A message needs to be sent that this type of behavior will not be tolerated. The citizens of Hamilton County can rest assured that if they reelect me this May, I will continue to be a voice for integrity, transparency and financial independence. I will always represent their interests with sound fiscal principles and high moral standards.
Unfortunately, several of my campaign signs have been stolen recently. Although we don’t yet know who’s responsible, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation and I’m confident the perpetrator will be discovered. These dirty tricks have no place in modern campaigns.