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Courts in the Classroom > Online Court History Museum > Supreme Court Justice Biographies > Hon. Randall T. Shepard > Kernan-Shepard Report Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform Releases Report

Streamlining Local Government: We've got to stop governing like this

Press Release from the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform
December 11, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS – Former Governor Joe Kernan and Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard, co-chairs of the Indiana Commission on Local Government Reform, today released the Commission’s report, Streamlining Local Government: We’ve got to stop governing like this.

The report includes 27 recommendations for making Indiana’s local government more efficient, effective, understandable and accountable. It calls for changes in counties, cities, townships, libraries, schools and more.

If enacted, the recommendations would reduce the number of local government units from 3,086 to 1,931—a 37 percent cut, and the number of elected officials from 11,012 to as few as 5,171—a reduction of more than half.

“We have lots of good people serving in local government in Indiana, but their ability to deliver great public service is limited by an antiquated system,” said Kernan. “Over the last few months, Hoosiers have told us over and over again—through the Commission’s Web site, in public meetings, and in personal conversations—that they want local government that’s more efficient and accountable.” Among the commission’s recommendations:

  • County governments should be led by a single, elected county executive and a stronger county council, to which professionally qualified administrators should report and be accountable.
  • The services performed by township personnel should be transferred to the county governments.
  • All local public safety services should be coordinated countywide, and regionally where appropriate.
  • Emergency dispatch must be centralized, at least countywide, using the compatible 800 MHz system.
  • Only elected officials should have the power to levy taxes.
  • Indiana’s school districts should be large enough to gather sufficient resources to educate our children for 21st-century life.
  • All spending, including school spending, should be subject to more rigorous examination by elected officials.
  • A statewide office should be designated to provide technical assistance to help local governments make recommended changes.


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