Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

April 25, 2014

LETTERS: Wallace for Center Twp board; honest gov't in Tipton Co.?

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Open, honest gov’t in Tipton County?

Seeing Tipton County Commissioner Phil Heron’s campaign ad stating he is committed to open and honest government made me think of an issue that occurred in 2011 and 2012. I have researched the facts, which can all be verified through county public documents, electronic correspondences and County Council members who were present at the 2012 budget hearings.

In January 2011, a change was made to the composition of the Tipton County Drainage Board by adding two citizen members to serve with the three county commissioners. Per Indiana Code 36-9-27-10, the commissioners are paid to serve on the Drainage Board. The county surveyor told the commissioners that county records indeed verified the commissioners have always been paid to serve on the Drainage Board, and in 1998 that pay was combined and added in with their commissioner’s salary. Indiana Code 36-9-27-6 states any additional members are to be paid. When the county attorney presented the resolution to allow the additional members, it correctly stated they would be paid. Then-Commissioner Jane Harper commented the commissioners would need to ask the County Council for the funding of the new positions before resolution approval.

To avoid that step, Commissioners president Mike Cline directed the attorney to remove the paragraph about compensation for the new members. Commissioner Harper insisted that since the commissioners are paid, the two new members were entitled to payment as well, but her objection was disregarded.

The following year, Commissioner Heron chose to appoint Ed Sloan to take his spot on the Drainage Board. Shortly afterwards, Commissioner Harper remembered the 2011 resolution specifically stated the five member board had to consist of the three county commissioners and two citizen members. Because of that wording and because the commissioner’s salary included service on the Drainage Board, Mr. Heron could not appoint someone to take his spot. She brought this concern to the attention of Mr. Heron and Mr. Cline, but received no support. Mr. Heron continued to allow someone else to serve in his place and continued to accept the Drainage Board pay in 2012.

During the 2012 budget hearings, Commissioner Harper brought evidence to the County Council showing that compensation for services on the Drainage Board was not being paid fairly. The County Council immediately rectified the situation by separating the Drainage Board pay from the commissioner’s salary and establishing another fund to pay the Drainage Board members. Mr. Heron was told that per the county resolution, he was designated as a member of the Drainage Board, but if he was not going to attend the meetings then he would not get paid. Commissioner Harper suggested the Drainage Board pay received by Commissioner Heron in 2012 be returned to the county and distributed amongst the citizen members who never got any pay. This did not happen.

Even though this issue was brought out during the public budget hearings in October 2012, Mr. Heron continued to allow someone else to serve in his spot and continued to accept the pay for the remainder of that year.

Every time I read that Phil Heron is committed to open and honest government, I wonder what that means.

Nancy Carney


Wallace has skill set to better Center Twp

I proudly go on record as endorsing David Wallace as the Democratic candidate for the Center Township Advisory Board. David has a broad background in national and community service, having served more than 29 years in the U.S. military, serving on the City of Kokomo’s Board of Works, Kokomo’s Plan Commission, and working for the Howard County Health Department as the emergency preparedness coordinator.

David is a man of integrity who loves the Lord, his family and his community. Married more than 40 years (to Dr. Linda Wallace), with two adult children, David is an active member of Bible Baptist Church, teaching Bible and involved in the music ministry. David also volunteers at the Primrose Retirement Community of Kokomo.

David is honest, reliable and will work hard for the people of Kokomo and provide quality service and leadership needed to improve Center Township. I believe he is highly qualified to serve on the Center Township Advisory Board and is the right man for the job.

Keith J. Treadway