Friday, August 24, 2012

Vangundy Ineligible To Seek Re-Election

You read it here first. I questioned how Hancock Co. Coroner Tamara Vangundy could plead guilty to a felony charge of official misconduct that was to be reduced to a misdemeanor as part of her plea agreement and seek re-election to the office this November after resigning under Indiana's candidate disqualification statute. Apparently the Hancock Co. Republicans and Vangundy's attorney now agree with that view. From the Star's Bill McCleery:

Vangundy, 49, had planned to leave her office but remain on the ballot this fall after pleading guilty   Wednesday to operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and official misconduct, a felony. A judge, however, downgraded the felony charge to a misdemeanor-level penalty, which Vangundy's attorney, Carl Brizzi, believed enabled the Republican coroner to seek re-election.

A closer reading of state law, however, showed that an elected official is not eligible to remain in office when found guilty of a felony offense even if a judge reduces the charge to a misdemeanor, said Janice Silvey, chairwoman of the Hancock County Republican Party.

Brizzi has acknowledged the oversight, Silvey said. Vangundy said today she does not foresee pursuing the matter further.

"I wanted to give the citizens a chance to decide," she said, adding that she believes voters might have been willing to forgive her for an isolated error in judgment.

Former Lawrence Township Trustee Mike Hobbs found himself in a similar situation a few years back when he mistakenly believed that by pleading guilty to a felony theft charge for borrowing $500 from a nonprofit account under the control of his office to pay his rent, which would be reduced to a misdemeanor, that he could continue to hold office. Hobbs was forced to step down and Russ Brown was appointed by Democrats to take his place.

A meeting of the Hancock Co. Election Board is scheduled this afternoon to determine how Hamilton County Republicans can deal with Vangundy's vacancy on the ballot. Two Republicans are already running  for the office as independents according to McCleery's report, including Deputy Prosecutor Dan Devoy and former Greenfield Fire Chief Joe Fortner. Democrat Crystel Myers is also a candidate for the office.


Marycatherine Barton said...

I wonder if Tamara was relying on Carl's misadvice, that her being on the ballot would not be challenged, when she pled guilty to those two misdemeanors. Was she doublecrossed?

I know said...

What a shame Indiana had a Marion County Prosecutor who was to also over see the corrupt state government.

I guess it clearly shows as the Forrest Gump movie told us all "stupid is a stupid does".

Wake up Indiana and look up the definition of Inept...

Wow! He didn't know the sentencing laws!