11 Things in Evansville’s 2012 that were exemplary examples of Stupidity and Poor Public Policy


Name this City Council Member

11 Things in Evansville’s 2012 that were exemplary examples of Stupidity and Poor Public Policy

Maingate Booze Fest: In a gathering of Democrats at the Maingate Bar in downtown Evansville, the integrity of the City Council’s adherence to Sunshine Laws and a one Councilman’s career were compromised last February in a Booze Fest fuelled and paid for by and Indianapolis based contractor. A family feud exploded into name calling, denials, and tattle tale behavior in an evening more fit for Animal House or the Dukes of Hazzard. Such behavior is unbecoming of public officials and should never happen again. If it does the CCO will show less mercy than we did in 2012 and in 2010 when the CVB hosted a similar Booze Fest at Biagi’s.

Earthcare Energy Fiasco: From the job buying announcement to slipping Earthcare $200,000 through a unpublicized loan committee without so much as giving the City Council the courtesy of notice this was one of the sneakiest most inept examples of economic development of the decade. If we comprised a list of the dumbest and most deceptive practices for the entire existence of the City of Evansville the Earthcare Energy fiasco would make the top ten. To this day the people of Evansville are owed $186,000 as a result of this READY, FIRE, AIM idiocy. From the lame vetting, to the sneaking of a loan, up until the hour that Mayor Winnecke cleared his head and found a way to end this travesty, thinking people in Evansville were astonished at the numbskullery of everyone involved in this “attraction” effort. It remains to be seen if or when the people of Evansville will get their $186,000 back.

Mourdock’s Gaffe: In one of those statements that cannot be taken back Evansville’s Richard Mourdock went from a Senator in waiting to a political pariah. It was a sad moment for a good man and for SW Indiana as we have not had a US Senator from here for many years. Mr. Mourdock became the poster child for not allowing early voting with his gaffe that makes Vice President Joe Biden look measured and conservative in his impromptu speeches.

City of Evansville’s Accounting Nightmare: Who would have ever even dreamed that the Weinzapfel Administration would be outed for not balancing the books of the City of Evansville for the entirety of 2011? Not only did the Office of the Controller preside over a software integration that was not proven to work before the other one was decommissioned but it has now tainted the financial reputation of two administrations and is still not completely integrated. No consequences have been administered by any of the people involved at the board level or the employee level. Evansville in 2012 may have lost the title of the most obese city in America but the City Controller’s office would certainly rank beside Stockton and San Bernardino as the “Dumbest City in America”.

EPA Sewer Planning Slip: In 2010 the EPA won a summary judgment against the City of Evansville over the discharge of raw sewage into the Ohio River. This judgment allowed the City 24 months to propose a solution to the problem that could be implemented within 20 years. The city failed to deliver and then hired a firm owned by the person who failed to deliver to make a plan happen in a 6 month extension that has not yet been granted. This is another of those failures that just makes your head spin with disbelief. Is anyone managing anything in the Civic Center?

Johnson Controls Lazarus Appeal: The Weinzapfel Administration stuck many albatrosses around the neck of the Winnecke Administration and this $54 Million unnecessary project is the most expensive albatross that there is. The IURC denied the City’s application to go forward with the financing of this project that any sane administration would have celebrated and let it die. The Winnecke Administration however breathed the breath of life back into this deal and raised from the dead like Lazarus through the appeal process. Sometimes sleeping dogs should be left to lie and this was a perfect opportunity to do so. Instead, political capital and good money has been squandered to do the fiscal equivalency of bringing Jack the Ripper back to life. Things like this make many people wonder if the old puppet master Weinzapfel has his tentacles attached to current Mayor Winnecke.

Roberts Stadium Debacle: What was advertised as a real committee to find a productive use for Roberts Stadium turned out to be nothing more than a kangaroo court packed with enough lackeys to get the stadium condemned by neglect. The demolition of Roberts Stadium is an act of destruction of public property that should be prosecutable. It is an example of a single minded act by an administration that is mind numbingly devoid creativity outside of a few easily implemented ideas as praised in another article. This also is an indictment on the investment community of Evansville for not coming forward with a productive use of a perfectly acceptable facility.

Infatuation with Building Parks: Okay, for the ten dozenth time, how can we build more parks if we can’t maintain the ones that we have? Are we locusts consuming everything in our path or are we human beings with the intelligence to provide good stewardship for existing parks. So far it is looking like locusts. When will the cycle of neglect be broken?

Closing of the FREE DENTAL CLINIC: The free dental clinic that was established to serve the poor and indigent was closed in 2012 for lack of funding. Such clinics save more money than they cost in provided an ounce of prevention to avoid a pound of cure at a later time when dental problems land in the emergency room for the public to pay for. It seems as though Evansville’s penchant for the neglect of maintenance in the parks, Roberts, and Mesker has infected the minds that decide on the dental clinic too. We expect that soon someone will propose building a FREE DENTAL CLINIC for $10 Million and neglecting to appropriate any operational expenses. That would be par for the course.

Mesker Amphitheatre: First we were told that Mesker could not open in 2012 because $100,000 in painting and repairs were needed. A few months later it was revealed that to be “nice” Mesker needs a facelift that will cost over $20 Million. Do our elected leaders have it ingrained in their minds that the people of this community are so stupid that Forrest Gump would be the smartest person on the voting rolls? The Mesker fiasco is not only an indicator of ignorance of condition is it one of oblivious idiocy. How can this happen in a place that actually has a school system?

Financial Results of the Ford Center: The Ford Center is a beautiful facility that has overachieved its highest projections in terms of attracting people to downtown Evansville. It was announced last summer that the Ford Center was profitable to the tune of $300,000 a couple of months before it was announced that it had lost $500,000. Which is it and how can such disparate performance numbers be released? It seems as though the financial projections used to gain some public support to build the Ford Center are not rooted in reality. We are looking forward to the audit of the construction to see if that is as far out of line as the operating results.


  1. Great report! Am looking forward to the New Year and reading more from Evansville’s True Watchdog, City-County Observer! …

  2. Excellent commentary, just excellent. Maybe your best ever.

    Glad to see that the CCO supports(supported) the Free Dental Clinic. Yes some people game the system and that frustrates us all but most poor people just need help and that help has more than just a cost, it can have great benefits too.

    Thanks CCCO!

  3. When the Mayor was President of the Vanderburgh County Commission he he and his political puppet Commissioner Marsha Abell pushed for the funding of the Free Dental Clinic and got it approved.

    Since Lloyd W. became Mayor and Marsha is now President of County Commission they are now mun on this important social issue.

    Loydd and Marsha got what they wanted and the poor of this community gets ripped off.

    Can’t wait till they both run for re-election.

  4. Does anybody know how to go bsck in time and pull up article written in the Courier and Press about the Mayor and Marsha supporting the free dental clinic?

    If so, please post article in CCO so the readers can see what two faced people Lloyd and Marsha are.

      • Here’s the dental part:


        President Winnecke: Okay next we’ll move on – before we get to the amendments to the Salary Ordinance, we have a larger crowd than usual here today.

        Councilmember Tornatta: Mr. President –

        President Winnecke: Sorry, I’m into new business here.

        Councilmember Tornatta: Okay, and I’m asking you a question. I’ll come back.

        President Winnecke: Okay, thank you. Before we get to the amendments to the Salary Ordinance, again, to recognize the larger than usual crowd here, we have representatives from CAJE, Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment. As most of you know, they’ve been advocates of a dental clinic for the under insured and poor of this county for some time. And, if you’ll recall, during budget times last year, we set aside $80,000 of county money toward this and we do have additional funding sources that have been given. We have indications that we’ll get that money. We have the documentation. That process is in the process of being finalized at this time from those grantors. Those grantors would ensure that this clinic would be able to be open. The issue before us today is the approval and creation of four positions for the dental clinic and, Mr. Raben, at this time –

        Councilmember Raben: Mr. President, okay, again, we’re going to take this separate and then we’ll address all other salary related issues. But I’m going to move that we amend the 2006 Salary Ordinance adding the following positions with the 2006 salaries: Dentist at $84,000, Dental Hygienist at $38,182, Chairside Dental Assistant at $24,000, Dental Office Receptionist/Bookkeeper, which is a COMOT II, Step I at $22,252. All salary lines will be issued during the March 1, 2006 County Council meeting.

        Councilmember Sutton: Second.

        President Winnecke: We usually don’t have discussion during this portion of the meeting, but if there is anyone who would like to say anything.

        Councilmember Sutton: I just want to add that, you know, with the efforts that have been put together collectively by members of the dental society, the hospitals, groups like CAJE, Councilman Winnecke and myself in coordinating this effort, the Health Department, don’t want to forget them, that this is a beginning of what we believe will be really an outstanding program and benefit for the county. We still have a lot more work to do. We anticipate that we should have a lot more information here very soon about the opening and some funding sources. But I just want to commend everyone up to this point about their involvements. Its really been a pleasure on my part, being involved with this and I think Councilman Winnecke would concur about the fun and the labor, I guess, that’s gone along with this. And we’re looking forward to that first patient that walks in the door and today, by approving these positions is the first step toward getting us to the point where we’ll actually see the dental clinic opening and actually addressing this real community health need.

        President Winnecke: Before we vote, Father Jay, would you or anyone like to say anything?

        Jay Davidson: Sure.

        President Winnecke: Silly question, I’m sorry.

        Jay Davidson: This has been more exciting than I expected this morning.

        President Winnecke: You never know.

        Jay Davidson: Actually, I wrote this out so I would be rather concise because I might go off in some direction. I represent CAJE, Congregations Acting for Justice and Empowerment. We officially launched this show me the dentist campaign last June. We did this after listening to our members, the members of our congregations and doing our research and determining that dental care for those who could not afford to pay was a major health crisis in our community. Today we come here to commend the progress that has been made by many people. We commend the Vanderburgh County Health Department board and staff for collaborating with the dental society in formulating a proposal for a clinic. We commend the County Council for hearing the need and responding by taking a leadership role in being the first to commit money, $80,000 to the Vanderburgh County Health Department for a dental clinic. We commend the hospitals, can I say this yet?

        President Winnecke: Its been said.

        Jay Davidson: We commend Deaconess and St. Mary’s Hospitals for investing significant sums of money to complete the startup costs and the beginning operation. We commend the local dentist society for being actively engaged in recruiting a dentist and for advising the Health Department. We commend especially, Mr. Lloyd Winnecke who, together with Mr. Royce Sutton, not only oversaw the writing of a business plan, but somehow managed to pull together all the players and worked a special kind of miracle to get us to the place we are today. The clinic will provide 3,800 hours of dental care per year for those who cannot afford it. It will meet a serious community health care need. It will help many people remain employed who might otherwise have been forced to lose a job and veer towards homelessness. So we are excited. We are thrilled. There are still many tasks to be completed. Most critical is finding a dentist, the right dentist, who is truly committed to serve the clientele the clinic will serve. Our community has been this close before. We have had dental clinics set up and funded but they have not been able to secure a full-time dentist. That major challenge still lies before us. But today, we focus on what has been accomplished and today we commend you, the County Council, and Mr. Winnecke and Mr. Sutton especially, for a job very well done. Thank you.

        President Winnecke: Mr. Tornatta?

        Councilmember Tornatta: Yeah, I would also like to commend the CAJE members who have been here in the meetings, who have been very vocal and very much an outreach to not only the community, but to try and bring the community and government together in a positive fashion. I’d like to thank President Winnecke for corralling through groups at times when it looked like things were astray and Councilman Sutton for, as well, being that buffer point when maybe things didn’t look so hot, and when there were issues. And it was all brought together in a fashion that I think is going to be a wonderful addition to our community and its going to add to, not only our well-being of our citizens, but the opportunity for people to better themselves and get in a practice that is for good health. So I thank all of you for the jobs you’ve done. Thank you.

        President Winnecke: Roll call vote please.

        Teri Lukeman: Councilmember Tornatta?

        Councilmember Tornatta: Yes.

        Teri Lukeman: Councilmember Sutton?

        Councilmember Sutton: Oh yes.

        Teri Lukeman: Councilmember Abell?

        Councilmember Abell: Yes.

        Teri Lukeman: Councilmember Goebel?

        Councilmember Goebel: Yes.

        Teri Lukeman: Councilmember Raben?

        Councilmember Raben: Yes.

        Teri Lukeman: Councilmember Wortman?

        Councilmember Wortman: Yes.

        Teri Lukeman: President Winnecke?

        President Winnecke: Yes.

        (Motion unanimously approved 7-0)

  5. Shameful that Marsha Abell and Mayor Winnenke would use the poor of this community like this.

    It seem like they use this issue as a vote getter and forgot the poor of this community soon as they got elected.

    Well, I’m waiting for the Mayor and his political side kick Marsha Abell to make a public statement on this issue.

  6. As voters in Evansville and Vanderburg County we need to look for new people to lead this area. I am sorry to say all incumbants need to go because the same old cronies,clowns and conmen have been getting rich and are puppets for the few who really run this city/county!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. What about the Utility Office accounting records? Ever since they created a CFO position for Jenny Collins and paid her 81k/year, their records are a mess. No one in the accounting world should be making that much unless they have a CPA or a MBA!

  8. The Historic McCurdy Hotel and Executive Inn fiascoes warrant a special annual “Ongoing Stupidity Award” for all who have been involved with their ongoing demise.

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