Alting, Campbell aim bills to corral, even oust, township trustees
Lawmakers file two bills inspired by trustees. One trustee looking on from the wings: Better than legislation, 'harsh sentence' after Wabash Township trustee’s guilty verdict needed
A few months ago, as a pair of Greater Lafayette legislators started floating the idea of ways to get a grip on ways to corral a pair of local township trustees at odds with their boards, residents and, in at least one case, criminal prosecution, the head of the state’s township association tried to find some context.
Debbie Driskell, executive director of the Indiana Township Association, had been pulled in to give advice about how to negotiate the storms surrounding Fairfield Township Trustee Taletha Coles and Wabash Township Trustee Jennifer Teising. (At this point, make that then-Trustee Jennifer Teising, who was convicted this week for felony theft after a judge ruled she moved out of the township and kept collecting her checks.)
Driskell said she’d heard the echoes of the Kernan-Shepard Report days of the mid-2000s – read: Maybe these two were proof that it’s finally time get rid of the township system, all together – and had pushed back.
Her point: A few problem cases, even as concentrated and high-profile locally as they are, weren’t enough to overthrow a statewide system with more than 1,000 townships dealing with fire protections, cemetery upkeep and emergency relief.
“I'm probably just as tired of it as you,” Driskell said then. “Those two cases are just beyond pretty much anything I've seen. And how you lucked out to get two of them in your neck of the woods, please don’t read that it’s pervasive. It just defies all odds that you have two that are being handled that way.”
The General Assembly is about to get a closer look at Tippecanoe County’s – ahem – luck.
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