Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

November 10, 2013

Letters to the Editor: Nov. 10, 2013

Tipton appointment not up for debate

How can our commissioners, who have all promised to uphold the laws and ordinances of the state of Indiana and Tipton County, sit in their chairs and obviously go against their oath?

How can we citizens pay for an attorney to support them?

How can Harry Diamond, an obviously intelligent person, read the Indiana Code and not realize he is ineligible for the position on the plan commission and not do the right thing by resigning if the commissioners aren’t willing to acknowledge their error and replace him with an eligible member? What does this say about his true character?

Or is it simply that our leadership believes they do not have to comply with the written law?

Facts: The five citizen members on the plan commission must be “politically balanced” in that there must not be more than three of the same political party.

Up until April 2013, everything was fine with three Republicans and two Democrats on the commission. A Democrat resigned and in May, Harry Diamond was appointed to finish out the term. Harry Diamond voted Republican in the 2012 primary and according to the Indiana Code that makes him ineligible to take the vacated spot because that would make four Republicans.

During the BOC meeting, Commissioner VanBibber admitted he didn’t do his “due diligence” and said he just assumed Mr. Diamond was a Democrat because he was the Democrat appointment to the library board. But the library board doesn’t require any political balance so it didn’t matter what [party affiliation] Mr. Diamond was on the library board.

Mr. Heron and Mr. Cline said that Harry Diamond is okay because he will sign an affidavit saying he is an “independent” so that makes it “legally possible” for him to hold the membership on the plan commission.

What part of, “your political party is determined by what ballot you asked for in the most recent primary election” is so hard to understand?

It doesn’t matter what Mr. Diamond signs. He chose his political affiliation in 2012 when he asked for the Republican ballot and that’s what the commissioners have to go by.

 For the benefit of Mr. Heron and Mr. Cline and Mr. Brooke: Indiana Code 36-1-8-10 (b) states that whenever a law requires that the membership of a board not exceed a stated number of members from the same political party, at the time of an appointment it is the most recent primary election in which the appointee voted that determines the appointee’s affiliation.

Mr. Diamond voted Republican. An eighth grader could conclude that according to this code then, he must be considered a Republican. However, the county attorney said the code wasn’t clear and Mr. Diamond could be an independent if he wanted to.

The issue is not what party Mr. Diamond says he is today. The issue is not where Mr. Diamond stands on any issues brought before the plan commission. The issue is Mr. Diamond by his most recent primary vote is ineligible to sit on the plan commission.

There should be two vacancies on the plan commission and they should be filled immediately by certified non-Republicans.

Stan Jones, Tipton

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