Shannon Williams

Things finally seem to be getting back to normal on the Indianapolis City-County Council. By normal I mean, less drama and more work by Marion County councilors.

Last week, the Recorder newsroom and I welcomed Vop Osili, the newly elected president of the council, to the Recorder for an editorial board meeting. Osili was gracious with his time and our numerous questions. Following are a few of my takeaways from the meeting. 



He’s passionate and prepared

Am I the only person who thinks some politicians can be a bit stale? While they may have the heart to serve, it can be difficult for some to emit what they feel on the inside, outside.

Not the case for Osili.

The child of a Nigerian father and American mother has a charismatic personality that draws people in and keeps them there. So much of him reminds me of Barack Obama — not only having an African father and American mother — but also the way he sets people at ease, his profound knowledge of top agenda items, business acumen and ability to look at issues from all perspectives, carefully examining the root of the problem to offer sensible solutions.

Osili came prepared and effortlessly answered most of the questions we asked, but with a great deal of research and extensive knowledge.

After what occurred with Osili’s short-term predecessor, it is incredibly refreshing to see someone at the helm of the council who is not only capable of doing the job, but also is inclusive and likable. 


Onward and forward

My team and I asked Osili some tough questions. While some questions required him to ponder a bit before responding, his response wasn’t a verbalization of some prepared statement, practiced over and over before meeting with us — at least they didn’t appear that way. Instead, Osili answered most of the questions to our satisfaction. The elephant in the room, initially anyway, was the debacle caused by Stephen J. Clay. Osili was very clear of his intentions to move the council forward in the best light possible and to him, that means, simply doing the work they were all elected to do. He is committed to doing the work and that is the message and example he plans to continuously set for his colleagues on the council.

I personally think council Democrats who jumped ship went against their caucus, and nearly all the Republicans are so embarrassed for their part in making Clay president that they are going to do whatever is necessary to separate themselves from those hellish six weeks. Hopefully, all the games have been played, egos have now been checked at the door and everyone has humbled themselves so the City County Council can indeed move forward under Osili’s leadership. 


He vows to remain authentic 

During our meeting with Osili, I candidly told him that I hope he doesn’t get so caught up in politics that he compromises the good of the people for his own personal gain. I’ve seen politicians do ugly, unethical things so they or their close friends and families can benefit. When that happens, politicians aren’t being sincere in their efforts, nor are they properly representing their constituents. Osili adamantly vowed to maintain his integrity and ethical standards, but only time will tell.

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