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March 30, 2012

CHEERS & JEERS: March 31-April 1, 2012

> SOUTHERN INDIANA — CHEERS

... to the long-overdue passage and signing of a bill that is meant to reduce conflict-of-interest at the local government level.

The law — which came from a recommendation in the Kernan-Shepard report meant to help reform local government — will prohibit employees of local government units from serving as elected officials on the councils that govern those units. It also will not allow office-holders to directly supervise their relatives.

There will be obvious benefits to taxpayers when this law takes effect in January. A basic example is currently, a firefighter or parks employee is not prohibited from voting on budgets for their departments if they are a council member. That person’s decisions on such matters as a council person could easily be clouded by loyalty to their department.

The guesswork in that will be removed with this law.

The nepotism provision as it pertains to supervising should also be cheered. Those conflict of interest temptations should be obvious to the public. And now there’s a law to curtail that practice.

Still, there’s a part of this law-in-waiting that doesn’t sit well with me — and that’s the act of the state again exerting more and more control over local government. I wish one or more of our local governments would have made a similar move in reducing conflict of interest and nepotism before this bill was ever passed.

Since that probably never would have happened, I guess the state’s move is better than nothing.

— Editor Shea Van Hoy

CHEERS

... to the Indiana University men’s basketball team on a truly great season.

I read some chirping and complaining after the Sweet 16 loss to UK, but I think most fans of the Hoosiers realize two wins against Kentucky in one season was unlikely. The game was entertaining and Indiana certainly played well. After this weekend and Monday, it might show to have been the toughest test the Wildcats faced in the tourney.

A lot of IU fans were hoping for a .500 record this year and maybe a trip to the NIT. Coach Tom Crean and the scrappy team gave the fans 27 wins, including two in the NCAA tourney.

Just like when the program went south, how quickly things seem to change, even if it really took four years.

— Editor Shea Van Hoy

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