Trustees misconduct continues to mount
Without doubt, the third rail of Indiana politics is the state’s township trustee system.
The subject of endless debate in every local government reorganization discussion, lawmakers resist touching it even as they propose amending the constitution to set arbitrary tax caps or to define marriage.
Still, the examples of waste and fraud continue. Two more to consider:
In St. Joseph County, Olive Township trustee John Michalski, a Democrat, used a township ATM card to withdraw taxpayer funds at casinos in Indiana and Michigan. After pleading guilty to two counts of theft and one count of official misconduct, the 72-year-old was sentenced to a one-year suspended sentence, fined $500, ordered to reimburse the township for the stolen funds and to resign from office within 30 days.
In Morgan County, Ashland Township Trustee Sandra Norman, a Republican, faces possible removal from office after she was charged with infractions for failing to file reports, including a fiscal year 2012 report. She also faces up to $1,500 in fines.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Office sent letters to Norman, demanding she repay $7,860 after the State Board of Accounts found Norman made purchases without supporting documentation, including hotel expenses, mileage, conferences, utilities, repair work and other charges. Norman’s mother held the trustee seat until 2010, when she resigned, saying the township was broke because of poor relief payments.