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Commissioners Talk Nepotism

Last updated on Tuesday, November 6, 2012

(BEDFORD) - A new state law aimed at curbing nepotism in local government went into effect July 1, and to comply, communities around the state had to adopt their own policies that restrict local officials from hiring or promoting relatives.

County Auditor Billie Tumey asked the commissioners Monday morning to be allowed to file paperwork with the state saying county officials have reviewed, are in compliance and signed the nepotism policy.

The new law mandated all local governments to adopt and implement anti-nepotism policies. It also compels local elected officials to disclose any financial ties they may have with contractors who receive taxpayer dollars.

The new law doesn't bar relatives from working with each other. But no one can be "in the direct line of supervision" of a relative.

However, the new law does make some newly elected government officials ineligible to seek office in the next municipal election because they are employed with the county.

The law states, "A government employee who assumes or holds an elected office on Jan. 1, 2012, may continue to hold the elected office and be employed as a government employee; until the term of the elected office ... expires."

The state law exempts elected school board officials. County Attorney Dave Smith could not say why state officials exempted them.

In other business:

* The commissioners proclaimed Nov. 18th Food Bank Day. On November 18th Hoosier Hills Food Bank will celebrate 30 years of delivering food to 10 agencies in Lawrence County. They delivered more than a half a million pounds last year in Lawrence County. An anniversary celebration will be held in the Fountain Square Ball Room in Bloomington at 2 p.m. on Nov. 18th.

* David Holmes, county highway superintendent, says they have been loading sand in Brownstown to get ready for snow. Crews have also been cutting brush and finishing up patching roadways.

* Bob Dillon, supervisor of county projects says work at Williams Covered Bridge is complete.

Commissioner Bill Spreen says crews need to make a turn-a-round for traffic, currently there is not one.

Dillon says he will meet with Spreen this week to discuss options. Both Spreen and Dillon says there has been several visitors at the covered bridge.

Dillon reported the Twin Bridges project was completed and the bridges reopened Thursday.

* Valerie Luchauer, of homeland security asked the commissioners to approve the funding of a $4.055 grant. The money will be used to purchase two IPads and to pay for Luchauer to attend a disaster preparation and response seminar.

* Scott Nikirk of ITS presented the commissioners with two options for the county to extend its current contract for information technology. One option included 60 months of service and the other 120 months.

The commissioners approved the 60 month contract.

Nikirk noted he had installed several wireless access points within the courthouse. He asked and received permission to amend the county's user policy. Workers no longer will be allowed to connect personal computing devices to the county's WiFi network.

Also the county added a clause allowing the county to cancel the agreement with a 90 day notice if funding was not approved by the county council during the term of the contract.

* Sheriff Sam Craig said the jail population is 132. Eight are Department of Correction inmates and 22 of the prisoners are women. Craig reported the asbestos from the former courthouse annex has been removed.

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