What would happen if they tried this in Fort Wayne or Evansville etc.?
The short answer is there would be a riot at the State House.
On his last day to either approve or veto bills, Indiana Governor Mike Pence went ahead today and signed SEA 621, legislation which will change the way Marion County Government operates.
SEA 621, among other things, gives the Mayor of Indianapolis more control over the budget and it eliminates the four at-large City-County Council positions. It also creates a central count for absentee ballots, puts IMPD permanently under the Mayor and reduces the residency requirement for an individual to run for Mayor.
Republicans and 621 supporters have said the legislation was necessary to keep spending under control, while Democrats and opponents had called it a power grab. Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry and Sheriff John Layton went so far as to say the legislation would hinder their ability to fight crime.
Now that the bill has passed, Democrats and City officials held a press conference to urge Gov. Pence to veto the bill. Zach Adamson stated:
It strips the Council's ability to serve as a balance to the now unchecked power of the Mayor, the very balance the voters clearly and decisively demanded when they elected us. It also drastically alters the makeup of the City-County Council by eliminating the four At-Large councillors without a shred of input from the people of Marion County in a purely partisan move that attacks the people's ability to self-govern.
Supporters insist the changes in Senate Bill 621 promote good government, but one longtime political observer disagrees.
Indiana’s Republican muscle was in full flex Saturday when Gov. Mike
Pence signed a measure to reshuffle Marion County government and
eliminate four Democratic-held council seats.
“If it’s good government for , why isn’t (Pence) doing it for all the major cities?” asked Brian Vargus, an Indianapolis political consultant and former political science professor. “The elimination of at-large seats is such a blatant power grab, you’d have to be a kindergartner to buy that.”
The measure eliminates the four at-large seats on the City-County Council, grants the mayor-appointed controller more authority over county officeholder budgets and grants the mayor the right to appoint five of nine members to the Metropolitan Development Commission — a majority, compared to the four members he currently appoints.
Vargus said Pence, a conservative who had recently expressed reservations about the measure, signed the bill to appease Indiana’s established Republican leaders.
“It runs against a lot of (Pence’s) philosophy, where the central government, the state in this case, doesn’t tell a city or a town what to do,” Vargus said. “He’s got to keep the powers-that-be in the party happy because they really don’t get along with him.”
Pence issued a statement Saturday that acknowledged he signed the bill despite “misgivings” over the elimination of the at-large seats.
“I am signing this legislation,” Pence said, “because it serves the public interest by granting to the current mayor of Indianapolis — and any future mayor of either political party — the authority to manage the city’s finances in a manner that protects taxpayers and encourages economic development and job creation.”
Reaction was swift and predictable, with Republicans cheering and Democrats grousing