News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

January 6, 2013

Gov. Daniels enters final days in office

New Purdue president drew on past experiences to shape his 8 years as governor

INDIANAPOLIS — For those wondering what Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels may bring to his next job as a public university president, it may be helpful to consider the details of a story he tells about window washers.

Twenty years ago, the then-corporate executive Daniels was head of a commission assigned to figure out how to make Indianapolis city government operate more efficiently. Among the many questions the commission asked was why the windows on the city-county building were being washed weekly — much more frequently than nearby similar structures owned by private companies.

The answer: It wasn’t because the windows were so dirty, but because the city had four window-washers on its payroll and had to do something to keep them busy.

“This is the power of the tiny example,” said Daniels, during a break from cleaning out the Statehouse office he’ll vacate within days.

The commission’s findings triggered sweeping changes in the delivery of city services — including many that were contracted out to private companies — and resulted in a 40 percent reduction of city employees and about $230 million in savings.

That experience came after Daniels had intimate exposure to both local and federal government; experience that ranged from working for Richard Lugar, when the now-retired U.S. senator was Indianapolis mayor in the early 1970s, to working for Ronald Reagan in the White House before becoming President George W. Bush’s budget chief.

Experiences, coupled with his years as a top executive at the pharmaceutical giant, Eli Lilly & Co., that helped shape the views that Daniels brought to his eight years as Indiana governor.

“I developed along the way some sense that government, absent results-oriented management, absent the transplanted accountability (of the private sector) would just drift on ….” Daniels said. “It was ‘Well, we’ve got four people, so I guess we’ll just wash (the windows) once a week, even though they don’t need it.’ ”

Daniels isn’t ready to say much about whether there are too many window-washers, or other inefficiencies, at his next place of work: Purdue University.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” said Daniels, diplomatically, before noting Ohio State University’s recent decision to lease out its parking lots to private investors to operate for the next 50 years, in return for a lump payment of $483 million.

That deal, one of the first of its kind at a large university, is a lot like the deal that Daniels made in 2006, after he took office the year before as Indiana’s first Republican governor in 16 years.

Daniels’ decision to lease the money-losing Indiana Toll Road to private investors for $3.8 billion was part of a series of decisions he made to turn over a wide range of public services – from prison food to welfare payments — to private entities. In 2007, the New York Times dubbed him “Governor Privatize.”

The label has stuck, but Daniels argues it’s a misnomer. Much of what he’s done, from consolidating procurement across state agencies to selling off a fleet of unused state vehicles, was about making government more efficient, he said.

“I can’t get it through the thick heads of some people,” Daniels said. “They want to talk about privatization. I say, ‘You got the wrong p word. The p word we use is practical.’”

Daniels said his mission, when he took office eight years ago, wasn’t to make the state government smaller – though he has, by reducing state personnel rolls to where they were in 1970s.

His mission, he said, was to make state government better, faster and cheaper.

He’s earned some sharp criticism for how he’s done that.

Labor leaders howled in protest when he ended collective bargaining for state employees and put performance-pay measures into place. Teachers and school administrators reacted angrily when he cut education spending to help balance the budget. Former Democrat House Speaker Pat Bauer called the toll road lease “a very, very bad deal,” and state legislators in his own party were among his toughest critics when efforts to privatize the state’s cumbersome welfare system went awry.

Daniels said there’s room for argument about how to make government better, faster and cheaper. But no argument about the goal.

“If you’re a believer in limited government as I am, you should think that the sphere of its activity is limited and government shouldn’t get outside it. But inside it, you should be really determined … that every dollar be well spent,” Daniels said.

“And, on other hand, if you believe in a large and very active government, I would think you’d be the most offended of all if it’s botching the job and wasting money, because then it’s failing to serve people. You also should want every dollar spent well.”

Too often, he argues, ideologues on both sides fall short. “Too many in the first group stop when they think they’ve limited the government,” Daniels said. “And the second group acts like they don’t care at all if government is ridiculously wasteful and inefficient.”

When Daniels took office, he inherited an $800 million deficit and eight previous years of unbalanced budgets. As Daniels is wrapping up his final days in office, Indiana has $1 billion surplus.

“The good news is government can shoot straight,” Daniels said, adding: “But it is not the natural order of things.”

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local & Bistate
  • MET 070914 GARDEN 01LARI.jpg Plentiful harvest

    Along the southern bank of Otter Creek near Clinton Street, across the street from North Terre Haute Christian Church, some rocky soil has proven to be fertile ground for new seeds.

    July 12, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • MET 071014 GARDEN 01DIEMER.jpg Meeting need for fresh foods

    There’s something about watching a zucchini go from seedling to soup that is satisfying for Jean Diemer.

    July 12, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • MET 071214 60 YEARS.jpg Celebrating 60 years of pride at Hulman Field

    The buildings may have changed, and the mission has certainly changed, but the pride remains the same when those celebrating the 60th anniversary of the 181st Intelligence Wing of the Indiana Air National Guard came together Saturday at Hulman Field.

    July 12, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET071214 treasure sign.jpg Treasure-hunters forced in doors

    Rain on a Saturday morning can be a big bummer for yard sales.

    July 12, 2014 5 Photos

  • Tank wiring said to be cause of oil-field fire

    An electrical short has been blamed for a Friday night fire at the Pinnacle Exploration oil field on Fruitridge Avenue south of Hulman Street.

    July 12, 2014

  • MET071114  St bens ellis.jpg Annual St. Ben’s community festival kicks off

    The St. Ben's Community Festival kicked off Friday night and continues from 5 p.m. until midnight today.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 071114 DELISH GREENE.jpg Adding to the mix

    The mix of local food choices will get a fresh stir in the near future, as a café opens a second location, a pizza place moves downtown and a national chain sprouts in two more spots.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET071114 guard bennett.jpg Shift from jets to intelligence

    Loud, impressive fighter jets once zoomed regularly across the sky in Terre Haute, their roars drowning out the sounds of televisions and telephones all around the area.

    July 11, 2014 4 Photos 2 Stories

  • MET 071114 MANN P.C..jpg Candidates’ views clash over more education testing, vouchers

    Indiana needs to change direction to improve education, said Democrat Jim Mann, who will face incumbent Rep. Robert Heaton, R-Terre Haute, in a rematch race for Indiana House District 46.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET071114bad check.jpg Fraudulent checks with an extra ‘t’

    A Terre Haute woman who received a large check in the mail this week wants to warn others that though the check looks legitimate, it is a scam.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Truck, van collide, stopping some U.S. 41 lanes for an hour

    Northbound traffic on U.S. 41 south of Terre Haute was blocked for about one hour Friday because of a two vehicle crash.

    July 11, 2014

  • Indianapolis closing nightlife street on weekends

    Indianapolis officials will close the main street through a nightlife district to motor vehicles on Friday and Saturday nights to reduce violence there.

    July 11, 2014

  • Man revives 3-year-old who was face down in pool

    Authorities in central Indiana say a man revived his 3-year-old son after spotting the boy face down in an apartment complex pool.

    July 11, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 11, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Thursday and Friday, based on jail records.

    July 11, 2014

  • New exhibits set to open at Red Skelton museum

    VINCENNES (AP) — Events are being planned for the opening of new exhibits at the museum celebrating the career of the late comedian Red Skelton in his southwestern Indiana hometown.

    July 11, 2014

  • Solar Roadways_Morg.jpg 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • council mtg 013.JPG Mayor: City will not file bankruptcy

    The Terre Haute City Council took well more than  an hour to ask questions and discuss the health of the city’s finances with top city officials in a special meeting Thursday night. A few councilmen expressed grave concern about the financial picture, while Mayor Duke Bennett said things were improving.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos 1 Story

  • State official threatens prosecution of city leaders who talk about audit

    A state official has threatened to pursue the prosecution of city officials if they violate a confidentiality agreement signed last month.

    July 10, 2014

  • MET 071014 181 02EXPO.jpg ISU, 181st Intelligence Wing show off capabilities at expo

    Communication and getting unmanned eyes in the sky can be vital parts of responding to a natural or man-made disaster.

    July 10, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • Feds relent: Military to restore equipment program for fire departments

    An agreement has been reached to keep surplus military equipment rolling into rural fire department bays in Indiana and 47 other states.

    July 10, 2014

  • united way.jpg UW kicks off pilot campaign

    Dottie King remembers the day she saw a young man leaving St. Ann’s Dental Clinic after having 17 teeth pulled. He had not received sufficient dental care before that day so his need was dramatic. That was unlike King, who had visited the dentist regularly since childhood, but still found getting a tooth filled not on her list of fun things to do. “I thought to myself, ‘I never have thought about the blessing of dental care,’” King recalled, sharing that story on Thursday morning with other volunteers for the United Way of the Wabash Valley.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 071014 181 HILL.jpg Indiana’s director of homeland security sees unmanned systems’ potential

    Integrating unmanned flight systems into use for domestic surveillance can provide first responders with key information in responding to fires, earthquakes and man-made disasters, said John Hill, director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Stunt performer scheduled to be at Wigwam

    A celebrity stunt man named Jim “Crash” Moreau is scheduled to perform at Terre Haute’s Wigwam Skate and Event Center on Saturday.

    July 10, 2014

  • Rain barrels offered for sale

    The Vigo County Soil and Water Conservation District is taking orders for 55-gallon rain barrels.

    July 10, 2014

  • Ash.jpg Tips lead to meth lab bust

    Two people were arrested after police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab Thursday in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • 071014 meth lab items.jpg Police bust meth lab in Terre Haute

    Police busted a clandestine methamphetamine lab today in the 2200 block of Fourth Avenue in Terre Haute.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • UPDATE: Ethics panel approves $5K fine against Bennett

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s State Ethics Commission has approved a $5,000 fine against former state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett for using state resources in his 2012 campaign.

    July 10, 2014

  • Vigo County Jail Log: July 10, 2014

    The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Wednesday and Thursday, based on jail records.

    July 10, 2014

  • Group: 5,000 same-sex marriages in Illinois

    A survey indicates thousands of same-sex couples are marrying in Illinois.

    July 10, 2014

  • Study: Hunting restores forests in state parks

    A study by a Purdue University research team has found that regulated deer hunts in Indiana state parks have helped restore forests damaged by too many white-tailed deer.

    July 10, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Joy Fills Streets of Cleveland As LeBron Returns Raw: Stunning Timelapse of WC Final Host City Texas Shooting Suspect Collapses in Court LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Raw: Israel, Gaza Exchange Rocket Fire Israel Widens Attack As Gaza Death Toll Rises Raw: Militants, Israelis Exchange Rocket Fire Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Netherlands Beats Host Brazil 3-0 to Finish 3rd Robot Writes Jewish Torah Scroll Diaz and Segel Strip Off for 'Sex Tape' WH: LeBron's Move a 'Powerful Statement' Raw: Brazil Fans Cry After World Cup Loss Arizona Mom of Missing Baby Released From Prison Ana Ortiz on 'Devious Maids' Finale Death Toll Tops 100 As Israel Offense Continues Raw: Airstrike Creates Chaos on Gaza Streets Argentina to Face Germany in World Cup Final Proposed Bill to Regulate NY Costumed Characters
NDN Video
Cellphone Video Shows Assault Tracy Morgan released from rehab month after crash LeBron: Move Back to Cleveland 'Exciting' Cleveland welcomes home LeBron Houston Killer Collapses in Court When Read Capital Murder Charges for Allegedly Killing Family of Six Worst Valet Ever Wrecks $500K Lamborghini Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Aerial fish restocking in Utah ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Tiny Hamsters Who Ate Burritos are Back for a Tiny Hedgehog's Party Watch Kelly Ripa Get Soaked! 'Referee' Hands Out Yellow Cards for Social Faux Pas in NYC 2014 Emmy Nominees: 8 Snub Shockers Emma Watson Is Va-Va-Voom in Valentino 7 Infamous Sports Blowouts Argentina tops Holland in World Cup semifinals News flush: Japanese toilet exhibition making a splash Emmy Nominations: What to Watch For 'Game of Thrones' Leads 66th Emmy Awards Nominations
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity