Thursday, August 30, 2007

All Indiana Sheriffs Pocket Percentage Of Tax Warrant Collections

In the ongoing debate between the St. Joseph Co. Sheriff and the county commissioners there, a follow up report in today's South Bend Tribune by James Wensits indicates that every sheriff in the state of Indiana is pocketing 10% of the state tax warrants he collects. Wensits writes:

It was at that Monday session that Canarecci revealed that he has been profiting from the tax collections since the beginning of the year through an arrangement with the state that gives him a 10 percent cut upon collection of unpaid state taxes.

The arrangement is not only legal but is in use in every county in the state, according to Stephanie McFarland, director of public relations for the Indiana Department of Revenue.

That comes as a surprise to me. I thought many counties had done away with this practice. For the St. Joseph County Commissioners part, they plan to get even with Sheriff Frank Canarecci by cutting the county police budget by an amount equal to what he pockets from state tax warrant collections and let him explain the cut to his officers. "He will have to explain to his employees how he is endangering his officers by underfunding his budget," [County Commission President Steve] Ross said. It looks like this is a practice which needs to be ended statewide. I've never understood why the taxpayers of Indiana are expected to pay their sheriffs more than any other sheriffs in the country while many other public employees, particularly prosecutors and public defenders, are often grossly underpaid.


Anonymous said...

Maybe you ought to see just what Sheriffs can use as "pay".

One item that comes to mind is jail food budget overages. If the Sheriff manages to save on prisoner meals, he/she gets to take home the balance of the budget. Likely there are more.

Sheriff is the best job in Indiana. Hands down. Or should that be hands up!

Anonymous said...

For once, Varan is right. The excess meal money scam was actually part of a federal civil rights lawsuit years ago--seems some sheriffs were feeding their prisoners gruel, and pocketing the rest. You can see how the incentives are there.

Don't ever forget--many prisoner sin county jails have not been convicted of anything yet.

And in many smaller counties, the sheriff's spouse is jail matron/master. And in some smaller counties, the sheriff and his spouse live rent-free in housing attached to the jail.

At one time, back in the 70s, I think, Marion County Sheriff Don Gillman was the highest-paid public official in America. He was nicknamed "Diamond Don" and was featured on many TV shows and in magazines/newspapers. He loved to take Las Vegas gambling junkets, and had many casinos sent private jets to Indy to retrieve their high roller.

He had a huge ring fashion with his initials, encrusted in diamonds.

This little gravy train is well-protected. The Sheriffs' Association has a very well-paid lobbyist, and they funnel money to legislative campaigns very well.

So again, our fabulous legislature enters the picture.

Ain't God good to Indiana?

Anonymous said...

For once I'm right? I must not be trying hard enough this morning. LMAO

Anonymous said...

This practice goes way back. I believe it may be in the Indiana State Constitution but I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

Diamond Don! I'm glad someone remembers one of the greatest Democrat Sheriffs this County ever had.
Believe it or not, a lot of people liked Don. He was a hoot to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Varan, even a blind pig finds a trouffle once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

I thought this was common knowledge, as I'm not connected but I've been hearing about it for quite some time. I always figured that was why the race for Sheriff was more hotly contested and had more political ads than even the mayor's race. While I have no problem with prisoners being fed bologna on white bread 3 times a day, that extra money could buy quite a few more beds, or go towards work release programs..

Wilson46201 said...

This "pay for official actions" used to be a lot more widespread. The County Auditor once was the political plum job: the Auditor got paid for each signature he made. This quirk made it the top paid county job!

Anonymous said...

I think some have done away with it, well kinda. It was my understanding that in my county, the Sheriff gets contract pay. However, the contract states that the Sheriff still gets his tax cut (and food and collect call), but the Sheriff gets to direct the use of that money within the department. That was my understanding.

Anonymous said...

Good call 10:26.

Blind pigs find all the truffles, since it's their sense of smell that roots them out, ya know.

I quote the following excerpt from an article by Jacqueline Harmon Butler on truffle hunting, " was sometimes very difficult to wrestle a tuber away from a 300-pound truffle gorging pig. A dog is willing to sniff out the truffles then sit quietly wagging it's tail waiting for a doggie treat as reward."

That is me all over (not quite 300 lbs though). Giime the damn truffle!
Dogs, in this case are partisan political mimics, just barking the party line. Like you, for example.


Anonymous said...

This is part of the Indiana Constitution, and needs to be amended. This goes back to when a sheriff did not make a salary and tax collections were his source of income. I have complained and tried to make people aware for years. I was told by a friend of mine (that worked in tax warrants)that Anderson here in Marion County was getting checks for 30k-60k a month last year! This needs to stop! 110k is enough! This money needs to go back into the departments for staffing and equipment along with offender rehab programs. CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS, GET THIS AMENDMENT GOING. There was some talk of this last year when the issue came up with Anderson, But some legislator said they probably wouldn't review the issue this year! Really?

coachise said...

what does, or can the state do about a warrant if the business is closed. Do they try to go after the personal assets of the former owner?