Gov. Signs Local Conflict of Interest Bill
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels has further advanced his agenda to reform local government, much of which has gone unaccomplished in his eight years in office.
“We’re maybe a third of the way there, toward modernizing Indiana’s system of local and school government,” the governor said at a Monday morning bill signing ceremony.
A commission led by former governor Joe Kernan and Chief Justice Randall Shepard laid out more than two dozen local government reforms for Indiana to undertake in 2010, but the General Assembly only passed a handful of the recommendations in 2011.
Lamakers approved a few more this year.
“At least we’ve maintained some forward momentum and I hope that people will pick up the report in the future and keep going,” Daniels said.
House Enrolled Act 1005 stiffens sanctions on conflicts of interest and nepotism in local governments. City and county employees would also give up their jobs if they win election to a city or county council or commission.
It would also stop city, county, and other local elected officials from hiring and directly overseeing a relative, as long as that person is hired after the law becomes effective on July 1.
The bill could have a far-reaching affect in Dearborn County. County councilmen Bill Ullrich and Bryan Messmore are county employees, working for the sheriff’s and prosecutor’s offices, respectively. County Commissioner Shane McHenry is a detective with the sheriff’s department and the prosecutor’s Dearborn-Ohio County Special Crimes Unit.
In Lawrenceburg, city councilmen Bill-Bill Bruner and Doug Taylor would either have to quit their jobs or give up their elected positions.
Such elected officials are able to finish out their current terms.
The other government reform bills, HEA 1002 and 1003, eliminate or shrink various boards and commissions which are outdated.