It's a new year, so we might as well get on with smashing our hopes and dreams to tiny anchor-shaped smithereens. New Albany's Board of Public Works and Safety is the perfect place to achieve this task, because BOW routinely drives progressives to drink, and the one saving grace of our autocentric city is that driving to drink is faster than walking -- unless Tuesday morning streets are clogged with pass-through toll dodgers.
Some New Albany bars open at 7:00 a.m., so let's begin 2017 with a reminder. BOW exists because the State of Indiana says so.
Board of public works and safety; establishment
Sec. 5. (a) A board of public works and safety is established in each city.
(b) Notwithstanding subsection (a), the legislative body of a second class city may by ordinance establish as separate boards:
(1) a board of public works; and (2) a board of public safety; to perform the functions of the board of public works and safety.
As added by Acts 1980, P.L.212, SEC.3.
As for what the board is supposed to do each Tuesday at 10:00 a.m., you can visit the American Legal Publishing site, search "Board of Public Works and Safety," and sift through various powers accorded the board over the decades by dint of ordinance.
By the way, American Legal Publishing still has the wrong address for the city of New Albany.
Exactly how much power does our Board of Public Works and Safety possess?
If Jeff Gahan were to stray from the protection of his Down Low Bunker and comment, no doubt he would assert that the board has exactly the power it needs. After all, Gahan handpicked it, and he's increasingly content to see his program implemented by non-elected boards, as opposed to elected officials.
According to Dan Coffey, the answer is "too much." At the city council meeting of June 6, 2016, Coffey proposed that our council, as a body made up of elected members, should take back authority ceded to non-elected boards.
For once, we agree with the Wizard of Westside, although at this late date he may already have been brought in, out of the cold, and given some soup to go with his favored envelopes.
The Board of Public Works and Safety may be established by state, not city, and it may be appointed by mayor, not council, but the board's powers appear to derive from the legislative body. The legislative body is advised to make this claim.
I mention all this as reminder of the conceptual foundation of ASK THE BORED. It has long been NA Confidential's position that given the board's accumulated powers -- justified or otherwise -- and its current function as arbiter of myriad conditions that impact the lives of citizens, for it to hold all its meetings at 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday meeting is an affront (note that during the Garner Administration, a fledgling but doomed effort to democratize meeting times was made).
However, NAC can attend some of the meetings, even if they're suicidally depressing. Public speaking time is allowed, and on occasion in the past, we've used it for the precise purpose of making comments, raising issues or asking questions, so that these are included in meeting minutes and become part of the public record.
This way, it cannot be claimed later that "no one said anything."
Readers, you may have questions. Many of you cannot attend these meetings, and so when possible, NAC will ask them for you. Generalized questions probably are best, but give us the brief, and we'll do what we can. Submit them at email@example.com, and ask the bored.
Just don't expect me to do it every week.