Cleaning up after Jerry Continues

Fischer spoke at a groundbreaking in J-town today

It’s time to give Greg Fischer some credit.

Today, after confronting yet another situation in which a lax attitude toward ethics resulted in an embarrassing revelation, Fischer said he wants to make sure members of boards and commissions aren’t taking from the till of the organizations they serve. He’s calling for resignations, and its likely you will start hearing about some in the next few days.

The latest snafu came as a result of the C-J’s story revealing that Audwin Helton, elected last summer as chair of the MSD board, was picking up six figures annually from MSD for his company, Spatial Data Integrations, to do mapping work for MSD. Helton resigned today, but the city didn’t say whether it would quit awarding contracts to Helton’s firm. It should, and should also examine why it needs a firm to do mapping when it has already invested in a complex LOJIC system.

For Fischer, though, it marks another chapter in his challenge to undo all the good ole boy relationships left behind by Jerry Abramson. We’ve already discovered that the previous administration put a lot of trust in personnel — and the result has been a series of scandals. There was  Housing and Animal Services departments with poor leadership. The old Neighborhood Department’s boss, Melissa Mershon, thought nothing of paying vendors and directing vendors to pay others. And employing a part-time aide who rarely showed up $85K didn’t cause anyone to blink.

It’s like all these people in the Abramson regime really thought what they were doing was OK.

Fischer is ordering audits left and right. The situation with Planning and Design Services has the potential to explode, certainly. He’s cleaned up bridges burned by Abramson with the fire and police departments. I’m not sure he made the right call on the controversial Whiskey Row decision, and he’s not done anything right in resolving the Bridges issue.

So I’m ready to give him some credit after two months. The next test is the budget, and he said this week that tough decisions are ahead, and didn’t rule out layoffs and other measures to save taxpayer money.