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Carmel officials accidentally put strange ‘last resort plan’ in letter

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CARMEL, Ind. (Nov. 11, 2014)– If Carmel can’t meet its debt obligations, there’s a novel recommendation in an information packet sent to the City Council Tuesday, according to our partners at the IndyStar.

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Carmel council flowchart(Photo: IndyStar photo illustration)

A flow chart in the packet recommends this as a last resort: “Shoot council, castrate mayor, put head between legs, kiss a__ goodbye.”

Or, the chart suggests, increase property taxes “in amount necessary to cover obligation. Kiss political position goodbye.”

“(One reader) got to the end and he laughed,” Carmel City Council President Eric Seidensticker said.

Some of those who saw it may have laughed, but now it’s getting national attention and verging more into the realm of laughing stock.

Seidensticker owned up to writing the words, defending it as a joke that was never meant to be published in finalized city documents.

“It’s all my work. It’s nobody else’s,” Seidensticker said.

FOX59 spoke to Seidensticker by phone, since he’s ironically recovering from eye surgery this week.

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Carmel council flowchart(Photo: IndyStar photo illustration)

Mike Shaver, a consultant with Wabash Scientific working with the Clerk Treasurer’s Office, created the original chart — which did not include the joke recommendation — and distributed it months ago. That chart shows the unusual lengths the redevelopment commission must go to pay its debts.

Seidensticker said he, months ago, thought it would be funny to replace the final two steps of the chart with the rather drastic suggestions listed above.

He sent that chart to Shaver. Seidensticker said it was never meant to be distributed, but told FOX59 he doesn’t think it’s worth reading into.

“Do I think this is a huge deal? No. It’s part of my humor,” Seidensticker said.

Other city officials disagreed, though. Mayor Jim Brainard sent this statement, criticizing Clerk-Treasurer Diana Cordray.

“This is typical of the sloppy work she has provided the Council and the taxpayers. City finances are serious business. The Clerk-Treasurer is paid well by the taxpayers and it is unfortunate she is using her time and city resources to promote political campaigns. It is regrettable  to see this sort of immaturity from the clerk-treasurer and Councilor Seidensticker.

We work very hard to promote and grow confidence in our city.  I regret that the the Clerk-Treasurer is focused on hurting our city. Carmel deserves better.”

Two other council members also released scathing statements about the document. Councilor Sue Finkham called the incident “smoke and mirrors.”

“I find the request for a third party audit unnecessary and to do so would be a complete waste of money. The Clerk-Treasurer and others are using this request as a way to cast doubt about the city’s finances and the Mayor’s leadership because previous attempts have failed. The fact that this request comes right after Pedcor introduced phase 2 of City Center, and right before the election filings in January, is not a coincidence,” Finkham said.

“This blunder is just one in a long line of incompetent and politically motivated things that have emanated from her office,” councilor Ron Carter said.

Cordray is out of the office this week. She did not return FOX59’s calls for comment.

This story originally ran on IndyStar.com.