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BREAKING NEWS: Richard Rhoad Asks To Return To Employee Status At FSSA

Cash1The Family and Social Services Administration put out this release very near the end of the day today. It took 'em seven days to get it right, but the most priceless part is that they're still defending the contract in the statement:

"Chief Financial Officer Resumes Employee Status

"INDIANAPOLIS (May 9, 2006) – Mitch Roob, secretary of the Family and Social Service Administration (FSSA), issued the following statement:

"'This morning, Dick Rhoad, our chief financial officer, requested that his personal services contract be canceled and that he be returned to state employment. His contractual relationship had been mischaracterized; rather than allow his compensation arrangement to cloud our efforts, we’ve agreed to Dick's request. While the contract was legal and ethical, we are sensitive to the public perception and wish to maintain the confidence of Hoosiers as we pursue our transformation agenda.

"'In his sixteen months with FSSA, Dick Rhoad has instilled a new financial discipline in all of our divisions. He has not been afraid to ask the hard questions and move FSSA to a new openness in both internal and external financial reporting. When we assumed management of FSSA, it was a $6.3 billion agency without an accounting system. I challenged Dick Rhoad to select the best system for us and manage the installation. Just last week the first parts of that new system became operational because of Dick leadership and tenacity.'

"Note: Dick Rhoad's annual salary was and will return to $100,000 annually plus customary state benefits (does not include housing allowance). In addition to serving as CFO, Mr. Rhoad will continue to oversee the closure of the Ft. Wayne Developmental Center.

"Media contact: Dennis Rosebrough, (317) 232-1149, dennis.rosebrough@fssa.in.gov"

UPDATE: Indy Star article. And an Associated Press story. More to come, no doubt.

Ready For Your Close-Up, Counsel? Decision Today On Cameras In Courtrooms

Videocamera We'll be watching what promises to be an interesting legal announcement this afternoon in Vanderburgh County:

"Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard is expected to make an announcement today on a request to allow still and video news cameras in Indiana’s trial courts.

"Cameras have historically been banned in such courts in the state. A step toward allowing cameras would bring Indiana closer in line with the majority of states that allow cameras, with restrictions.

"Critics of cameras in the courtroom argue that they could intimidate witnesses and cause lawyers to play to the camera. Proponents say they would help educate the public about the judicial system and prompt attorneys to be better prepared."

Given that representatives from the Hoosier State Press Association and Indiana Broadcasters Association are expected to attend, we can only guess that this will be a positive announcement for the media.

So, do you think cameras should be allowed in the courtroom?

UPDATE: Looks like Indiana's going to try a pilot program to see how cameras in the courtroom work out. Clickety here for more info.

Check That List Twice: Clark County Will Review Its Election Results From Last Week

CheckmarkClark County is rechecking its primary election results in light of computer troubles at the polls:

"Clark County election officials plan to take the unusual step of re-checking the results from the county's 72 precincts because of the computer problems that plagued last Tuesday's primary.

"The results don't have to be certified until May 15, and County Clerk Keith Groth said he has no reason to believe the outcome of any races will be changed.

"But for some minor offices -- such as township boards and party precinct positions -- the winning margin was only a handful of votes.

"And Groth said he wants to be careful before those races are certified and the final results are sent to the state.

"'It's important enough, because of the circumstances of election night,' he said yesterday. 'We're going to go through everything just to check it.'"

Following The Leader: Everyone Wants To Be Top Dog In The Indiana Senate

Hatinring_1Per Jim Shella's blog, here's what Brent Steele had to say about his planned run for Senate leadership:

"Senator Brent Steele seems excited about the opportunity to run for Senate President pro tem.  The first declared candidate says he'll, 'Run this thing up the flagpole and see if it flaps.'  A letter went out to each of his Republican colleagues and he's working the phone.  The Bedford conservative says, 'You gotta show confidence in yourself,'  and says he's never been one to play "survivor" and put together coalitions.  Steele goes to North Korea on a mission trip next week and says he's, 'Doing what I can do as fast as I can.'"

As Doug Masson so adeptly pointed out, Steele's announcement means that something like 20 percent of the Senate Republicans are now running for the top spot. It sure would be a shame if, in the fray, they forgot some of them need to run for re-election.

Any Excuse Will Do: Dems Hopeful While Republicans Spin Primary Results

Donkey_1Lesley Stedman Weidenbener writes for the Louisville Courier-Journal about the results of the primary and the resulting hope those numbers have given Democrats now looking toward November:

"Democrats look at last week's primary and see hope — for this fall's election, taking back the Indiana House, picking up a congressional seat or two and making gains in the state Senate.

"Republicans say they're simply seeing a mirage.

"'The turnout was so low that it makes it difficult' to read anything into voters' actions, said Mike McDaniel, former chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.

"But Democrats point out that their party's challengers in three congressional races outpolled the Republican incumbents.

"In the 9th District, Democrat Baron Hill — facing three other candidates — won more than 52,700 votes. Incumbent Rep. Mike Sodrel — facing one challenger — got only about 27,200 votes in the GOP primary.

"The same can be said in a number of key House races.

"Some Democrats and political observers also say the low turnout is a mark of a disillusioned electorate."

Please, Indy Star, We're Begging For Change (Like Fluffy News? Don't Read This.)

RacecarPssst. Hey. Are you the Indianapolis Star editor/marketing guru in charge of Raygan Swan's official duties at the paper? Come with us. Yes, right this way. Down the stairs. Out the door. Into the parking lot. We need to have words. Oh, these are just a few of our news-loving friends. Don't mind them.

We said we'd hold our tongues when Raygan announced her departure, but dagnabbit, people keep sending us links to her new posts. And we foolishly keep reading.

This entry is not even remotely interesting. It's silly. And when you look at it in the context of the many wire stories you ran in the Metro section, it's offensive that you'd choose this content over giving Raygan a reporter's notebook and sending her out to cover a real story or three:

"Next: Thiago Mederos. He’s like a younger, cuter Helio Castroneves.

"Up from the Indy Pro Series, the 23-year-old made Indy his home about four years ago and lives in an apartment near Keystone at the Crossings.

"His plans for the month include a lot of training in the gym and maybe letting us check out his crib later."

Now, we know what you might say. TDWs, you guys and gal have run several entries talking about legislative hunks and the gorgeous women of weather. True dat. We have.

But in the interim, we run a lot of stuff about politics, policy, government and little light-up party cubes. Just kidding on that last one, though they sure are neat.

Look, all we're asking is that you beef up your reporting staff and tone down the fluff. We realize this is May, but there are myriad other stories out at the track (though it was a manpower-intensive task, we liked the year you sent staff out to count the seats at IMS, and we dig off-beat stories about drivers, fans and the month o' racing) that don't involve cooing about good-lookin' boys.

We don't care about NASCAR high heels. We don't care about cute friends of Raygan's beau. If we want to read who's doing what in town, we'll flip to Susan Guyett, who's far more plugged in to Indy's social scene than any of the TDWs or Raygan will ever be.

If we want fashion advice, we'll read Kelly Kendall's well written column. And if we just want to kick back and let our brains melt a little, we'll pick up INtake and sift through the advertisements for some demographically targeted fun.

Please. For the sake of the newspaper, let the sports desk cover the race, hire some more news reporters and give Raygan some of her journalistic dignity back.

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