Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two Brownsburg Council Members Forced To Repay Money Earned For Service On Redevelopment Commission

Two Brownsburg town council members have been found in violation of state law by drawing additional pay for service on the town's Redevelopment Commission in addition to their pay as town council members. Rob Kendall is repaying $2,400, while Gary Hood is repaying $700. A special prosecutor, Todd Meyer, made the finding following an investigation of whether Kendall violated Indiana's constitutional prohibition against dual office holding following a WRTV Call 6 investigative report by Kara Kenney. Meyer blamed Brownsburg's Clerk-Treasurer for inadvertently making the double dip payments to Kendall and Hood. Here's Kenney's updated report on Meyer's findings:
“The State does not believe any criminal offenses were committed in this matter,” read the report filed with the Hendricks Circuit Court Thursday afternoon.  “(I have) been assured by representatives of the Town of Brownsburg that measures have been implemented or will be implemented that will keep this issue from arising again in the future.”
Meyer said the Brownsburg Clerk-Treasurer inadvertently made payments to both Kendall and Brownsburg Town Councilman Gary Hood, totaling $3,100.
The law allows for compensation to be paid to members of the RDC, but only to members who do not otherwise hold a lucrative or paid public office, such as the town council.
Kendall and Hood have repaid the money they should not have received, according to the report.
Citizens contacted Kenney to complain about Kendall drawing pay from four paid government positions, including membership on the town council , redevelopment commission, town advisory plan commission and county solid waste management district, in addition to his full-time state job as executive director of the Indiana Board of Pharmacy. According to the Attorney General's manual on dual office restrictions, an officeholder is deemed to have resigned his first office once he accepts appointment or election to a second or subsequent lucrative office. Kendall and Hood could only legally serve on the redevelopment commission as long as they weren't paid.

State law requires that a member of the Brownsburg Town Council also serve on the Hendricks County Solid Waste Management Board; however, the statute creating the solid waste management district does not allow for the payment of compensation to its members. Kendall was paid by the town for his service on the county's solid waste management district instead of the county, which Meyer deemed made the payments legal. I didn't quite follow his reasoning for allowing Kendall to keep that additional compensation. Similarly, he found that his appointment to the town's advisory plan commission was not a "lucrative office." The state's personnel director claims that Kendall's state job is not an appointed job, although his job is statutorily-created, and he serves at the pleasure of the governor. Yet Meyer still concluded that the job was just a regular state job. Here's the part former Secretary of State Charlie White will love. The receipt of compensation that neither Kendall nor Hood were legally entitled to receive didn't constitute theft because the payments were authorized by the clerk-treasurer. Sorry, Charlie. You're a class of one.

The $3,100 repaid by Kendall and Hood is of little solace to the taxpayers who filed their complaint against Kendall, who believe he should have been forced to at least resign his seat on the town council. The same town council on which he serves awarded a $10,500 contract to former Marion Co. Prosecutor Scott Newman to conduct a duplicative investigation in tandem with the investigation conducted by the special prosecutor, a complete waste of taxpayers' money. Newman arguably was acting as Kendall's personal attorney, not the town's attorney since the town already has its own legal counsel and it was Kendall, not the town that was under investigation by the special prosecutor. Newman told Kenney earlier that he was working with Meyer to get to him whatever information he needed. It was Newman who first claimed to Kenney that the payments to Kendall and Hood were made in error by the town's clerk-treasurer. Kendall refused to speak to Kenney.


Anonymous said...

Todd Meyer needs inspected as well. Who was the special judge?
It appears protecting officials seems to be a pattern with many until FBI or State Police step in before special prosecutor's have been assigned to cases in counties...Need more of that in places with good intentions and not pay to players.

Anonymous said...

Don't the redevelop commission board members have to complete a voucher before the clerk-treasurer pays them for attending a meeting? That was how it worked for a governmental board I once served on. How would the clerk-treasurer know to issue them a payment otherwise?

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon, 11:15, Meyer's report makes no mention of any vouchers being submitted by the council members. He says the clerk-treasurer disbursed the money through automatic deposit into their respective bank accounts. It would be interesting to know if the state board of accounts requires a voucher to support the payment if it is based on a board member's actual attendance at a meeting as opposed to a general salary drawn for service like their pay for being on the town council.

Anonymous said...

Wow. If you rob a store, get caught, then pay the money back - then there is no crime. - It's good to be one of Pence's favorites I suppose

Anonymous said...

No one seems to be asking a bigger question like what qualifies Kendall, owner and operator of a sports broadcasting website, qualified to be the director of the Indiana Board of Pharmacy?