News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

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
News
  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • MET070914 house exterior.jpg Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie

    Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos 1 Story

  • Detour ahead

    A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 barrels.jpg MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers

    We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • City Council to take up city finances tonight

    The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.

    July 9, 2014

  • Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement

    Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.

    July 9, 2014

  • Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges

    Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.

    July 9, 2014

  • Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle

    A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.

    July 9, 2014

  • Free carwash for law enforcement

    Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.

    July 9, 2014

  • MET070814 voice four.jpg Hitting a high note

    A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.

    July 9, 2014 2 Photos

  • MET 070814 STORM STAUNTON.jpg Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back

    Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.

    July 9, 2014 4 Photos

  • MET 052106 EVANBAYH ADDRESS.jpg Return to Indiana?

    Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.

    July 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party

    Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070814 CATHOLIC WARE.jpg VIDEO UPDATE: Guys give food bank a lift

    A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.

    July 8, 2014 2 Photos

  • wilson,robert.jpg ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody

    A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • eBus brings financial empowerment to town

    A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll  into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”

    July 8, 2014

  • MET 070714 CULVER PHOTO.jpg Maker of history

    A humble man with a heart for helping others is an apt description for Terre Haute resident Curtis B. Culver.
    Culver died July 2 at age 94, leaving behind a legacy of missionary work and social involvement.

    July 7, 2014 3 Photos

  • MET 070714 TRASH TRANSFER.jpg Petitioners push for recycling at fair

    A Vigo County environmental activist hopes to convince the Vigo County Fair Board to start recycling, especially during the county fair, and has started an online petition.

    July 7, 2014 5 Photos

  • MET 070714 SULLIVAN SQ2.jpg Veterans call on commissioners to protect war memorial

    Installing a camera on the second floor of the Sullivan County Courthouse may be one solution to curtailing what several veterans are calling a disgrace to a memorial that honors Americans who gave their lives in service to the country.

    July 7, 2014 4 Photos

  • Schools ethics case: Proposed deal to be reviewed

    The State Ethics Commission is set to review a proposed settlement Thursday in the ethics case against former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett.

    July 7, 2014

  • Man airlifted to Indy after early morning crash

    A Clay City man sustained non-life-threatening injuries in a head-on collision early Monday morning on Indiana 46 at Riley Road southeast of Terre Haute.

    July 7, 2014

  • Man agrees to plea on youth sex charges

    A Terre Haute man received a suspended sentence in a plea agreement signed Monday as his jury trial was about to commence in Vigo Superior Court 1.

    July 7, 2014

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Police: Prostitute Linked to 2nd Death Chimp-attack Victim Lobbies Congress Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration Israeli-Palestinian Tensions, Attacks Escalate FIFA Rejects Suarez Appeal Against Biting Ban More Immigrants Detained Along Rio Grande Thousands Attend NYC Firefighter's Funeral Soft Robot Fish Lead New Wave of Robotics Neighbors Mourn Killing of Texas Family Art of Haitian Machete Fighting Revived Kim Kardashian Hits Up Valentino Show in Paris World Cup Final Pits Argentina Against Germany Raw: Australia Hosts Annual Beer Can Regatta Robots Gearing Up for Their Own 'World Cup' Raw: Funeral in Gaza for Family of 8 'Game of Thrones' Leads Emmy Nominees Four Kids, Two Adults Shot Dead Near Houston Raw: Rescuers Push Beached Whale Back to Ocean Giant Whale Vacuumed in New York City Rockets Fired From Lebanon Hit Israel
NDN Video
LeBron James returning to Cleveland - @TheBuzzeronFOX Glee Star Becca Tobin's Boyfriend Matt Bendik Found Dead in Hotel Obama Responds to Hecklers on Immigration ScarJo Channels Marilyn Monroe Aerial fish restocking in Utah 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 Photographic 'Proof' That LeBron Is Leaving Miami - @TheBuzzeronFOX Elephant Pool Party at The Oregon Zoo Must-See! Berry and Fallon Form Human Hamster Wheel Pilot buys pizzas for travelers delayed by storm Klose nets record, Germany rout Brazil 7-1
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
Real Estate News