Wednesday, May 26, 2010

25 May 2010 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

25 May 2010 Dearborn County Council Meeting Notes

Present: Dennis Kraus Sr., President, Dan Lansing, Liz Morris, Tom Cheek, Maynard Barrett, Bryan Messmore, and Bill Ullrich.
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor and Bill Ewbank, County Coordinator.
County Commissioner Tom Orschell was present.

Ruth Ann Batta- Sunman Dearborn Summer Arts Program – 23rd year for program- have about 130 signed up. Running 4 classes for 2 weeks. Most are from Dearborn County. Painting, drawing, sculpting, and several field trips. $2,000 was approved out of Youth Services Fund.

Greg Townsend
- Special Olympics Summer Games- brought Jacob- one of the summer athletes who will be competing in the summer Olympics. 64 athletes and coaches going. Average cost is about $110 not including transportation. Total expense over $6,000. $1,000 approved from YOUTH services fund.

Cathy Piche- Director, YES Home – this year going to have a summer school program for 48 hours within the county. Total program is $5,000. $1000 approved from youth services Fund

Pat Acra- Pregnancy Care Center Quilt program- Made 35 quilts and 57 afghans from last year’s program. These are incentives to get them to go through parenting classes. $1,000 approved from youth Services Fund.

Aaron Negangard Prosecutor- Pre-trial Diversion- last year used some of this fund for special equipment. This money does not roll to county general at year end. Asking that the money unspent last year ($64,000 in there) asking for $6,400 – approved to have that amount from that fund.

Gary Hensley- Assessor- new vehicle- Due to the new 15% rule requiring inspection of every sale within 60days. There were 1147 valid sales last year. This gets the assessor out into the county with the people. Needs to purchase a vehicle- the one he has is unsafe to drive (gas leak etc) Willing to take hand me downs from sheriff’s dept. There are 15 parcels he has to inspect a day. Plans on 2 people working together for safety rules. Can do land assessment from GIS- but not improvements. He can use loaners for now- not important that he gets there fast- just that he gets there!
Form 11 was removed and he was using tax bill as the assessment notice. Now they require it be sent separately- so he has to do that also. Money will have to be back for that.
He is to come to budget with most of this and get the car from the sheriff.

Bill Black- Emergency Mgmt- set up account- no money needed. By Jan 1, 2013-per FCC- all the VHF and UHF radios they use will have to be reprogrammed or replaced. With the 800 MgHz system, they are doing a rebanding- for different stations on different bandwidth. $35 for portables and $65 for mobiles will be coming back from Sprint/Nextel. Wants to set up a fund to receive this money to use for narrow banding. Kraus was not sure they could set up an account for this- they will address at budget hearings.
Siren Maintenance fund sometimes has some left over- wants to have that rolled over so that they don’t lose it when year ends.
When they have sales and auctions- he would like anything they get for their donated equipment that gets sold could go to them. Messmore suggested they keep track of revenue and use it at budget time. Also don’t spend money just because it’s left over.

Eric Hartman- Maintenance- Overtime- requesting the balance they talked about at budget time and they told him to come back in the spring. Overtime approved out of riverboat fund.

Bill Shelton- Building Dept- wanted to transfer some money from part time to full time per Kraus. Shelton was not present. Thinks it was for money for vacation that he didn’t have money to cover- $2,000. Approved for $2,000 to move from part to full time.

Steve Renihan- DCRSD- 2 change orders- (Bob Hrezo PE and Frank Kramer, Attorney, present as were some RCRSD Board members)Renihan stated they wanted funding for a preliminary engineering study for Lake Dilldear. As it is low income they may qualify for grants. The lake is essentially becoming a lagoon with all the septic issues there. Cannot go for grant without a preliminary engineer. Ralph Thompson volunteered and others went door to door to get income survey done for the grant. Margaret Minzner is helping them apply. Huseman road Income surveys look like they are too high to qualify for a grant.

Cheek asked if the county would get hooked by IDEM for clean-up of Lake Dilldear. Renihan is hoping that won’t be an issue. The lake is probably privately owned. Cheek said that Dilldear was not supposed to be permanent housing. It was basically a campground. People live there year round. They would put the line in and run it to Dillsboro’s treatment plant. They would run an interlocal agreement with Dillsboro to operate it. Permission and funding for the preliminary treatment plant.

Renihan asked for funding for this $3,750 fee for the billing system to refund the High Ridge account after they took it out to cover it until Council could meet. Billing system will be used for more than just High Ridge.
$10,400 seed money needed for bills they need to pay due before the sewer bills get paid. Six months needed and they will pay it back.
There are some bonding bills that are due now again for June 1. $1640

Need insurance to cover the High Ridge plant for $330,000 value. Includes earthquake coverage. $1,000. All other sewer fixes were turned over to other municipalities or districts. Not High Ridge. Approved.

All change orders show they are about 12% over their estimate. He explained all the issues they ran into it as detailed at commissioners a month ago. See those notes for the particulars. No more needed- it is done. People are paying their bills- that’s a good thing. $22,954. Approved.

Huseman Road project- Council approved the preliminary engineering report last time and this is the result of that report. All houses are on lots too small to fix the septic systems. There was a house there that burned down and it couldn’t be rebuilt due to septic issue. 36,000 gal of sewage out there monthly. Low pressure to Aurora industrial park. Would prefer gravity- but too expensive. If we do pressure systems we can fix more problem areas, If we do gravity we will run out of money really fast. The cost is about two to one. They need pressure for the distance. The lift stations across US 50 need upgrades at Aurora Casket and the other one. Problem with getting under US 50 also. Costs are too high. They will go 3”on to Walston’s Trailer park, then 2” to Mt Tabor and Sharon Road. Trying not to size the line for 200 acre plot that Meierjohn had. That will allow about 40 homes there- but not the maximum buildout. They don’t want a 6” line because it will cost a lot and the developer should pay for those upgrades.
This will all get turned over to Aurora for their outside the city rate, which is about 3 times the water rate. Renihan says they should fix this. These problem areas are money losers. Most of these are lower income areas. Cheek said- there could be an issue with some people getting theirs fixed for free. Renihan- but we can’t let the raw sewage run out. Renihan says they can fix all the problem areas plus Guilford and still have about $1million left in the account that DCRSD has with the county. Life cycle costing was done on these systems. Grinder pumps are biggest maintenance costs.
Messmore wants to table this for further research. Wants to get the map. Council voted and tabling did NOT pass. Renihan said they could do just Huseman Road then. Approved with Messmore and Lansing Nay.

$10,000 contingency for DCRSD to cover until Council meets again. Approved at Kraus’s suggestion.

Lisa Taylor- Augusta Drive and Oakmont Court in Sugar Ridge Subdivision- Listerman gave background of the roads and what happened with Macke’s bankruptcy and letters of credit that lapsed. The commissioners accepted it and they are patching the utility cuts. It will be included into the regular system waiting for top surface. Estimate of $152,000 to do the topcoat. Base is stable- just no seal on it. Road count will be done on it this summer.
Lisa Taylor- represents the residents of Sugar Ridge. They have been to commissioners also. We are not a HOA- not set up that way. She provided a petition from all homeowners on Augusta and Oakmont and a few other side streets. They wanted commissioners to provide the surface coat to prevent further damage. Only one house sold in the last year. The other lots and homes are not selling because of the road. We are approaching Council for the funding to get it surfaced. Traffic for the golf course is high as also it would be when there is an accident on Stateline hill. This is NOT a position we put ourselves in. It is not our fault. Messmore says they could take $50,000 and start an account to get started on this. Morris says the county bears responsibility. The county will do as best it can to maintain the road. Kraus said the commissioners are in charge of roads- they decide when they will be done. Commissioners will have to ask Council for that money. No vote on Messmore’s suggestion.

Gayle Pennington, Auditor- approved Jan minutes with amendment from Morris. Salary adjustment and PERF- from Suellen Cauble were also presented by Pennington. Money was left at the end of the year that was not encumbered. $5140.41 moved back to PERF account for this employee. Approved.
Three other offices had similar problem with PERF. $3,962 needed to fix this. Approved. These were budgeted. This is just housekeeping.

Lost our financial comptroller at the end of the year and job description have changed. Pickens had planned to bring this. This person has increased duties. She has trained for this. $3,943 increase requested for her salary to the year’s end. Approved. This person will be doing Jessica’s old job at budget time. This person is also training the HR person. Approved.

Todd Listerman- Transportation dept- Budget and Collier Ridge Bridge- maintenance worker position open- commissioners approved but he needs council’s approval to fill this vacancy. Approved.
Seeking a grant for salt storage at Randall Avenue. They can use the other two facilities for salt/sand mixtures. This would help store salt more economically. Grant will cover the full $175,000 from Lawrenceburg Community Foundation. Asking for council to sign letter for the grant. OK
Two old accounts per Leah in Auditor’s office. One is to fix Pinhook slip- dormant since 2006. Also 132, the road bond trust. Total funds less than $3000. Just dissolve them and put money in MVHA. Approved.
Cum bridge fund got all fouled up this year. SBOA said they had to reappropriate the money. Several items needed to be redone. Total of $1,754,635. This is just repopulating the budget with what was appropriated minus some so that it fell within the budget approved amount. Has a $200,000 cushion also. Approved.
The 172 account which is Riverboat revenue for highway. I spend the previous year’s money each year. There is $550,000 of last year’s money unspent. Asking for $325,000 for millings and reclamation work. Approved.
Purchase 2 one ton dump trucks for $150,000 for subdivision snow removal. Approved from 172 account.
Line striping new rules say only have to do 6000 vpd and up. This would be less than $15,000 there are several in the 3,000 -6,000 vpd. Wants to use the 3,000 threshold this year. Hope to do 1,000 some other years. Cole Lane, Georgetown, Jamison, North Dearborn partial and part of Stateline and all of Wilson Creek. $41,000. Get almost 40% reduction in accidents with side and center stripes. Also population is aging….Approved.
$25,000 dedicated to aggregates for local road and street from 172 account. Approved.

That leaves $340,000 in the 172 account.

Every year bridges are required to be replaced. 17 bridges should have been replaced last year and this year. Three have been closed. Some are going to be replaced in a few years. Some have been designed- just waiting for money. Should be replacing two bridges annually. We are taxed at 3.3 cents per hundred. It can be maxed at 10 cents. Don’t like property taxes. This is the only avenue the state gives us. $730,000 per year. Shortridge funded tonight at $600,000 tonight. State legislators ask if we have maxed out our options yet. Have you instituted a wheel tax? Wheel tax is preferable- we get all the money from it. The county could get 41million a year if cars were $25 per car and $40 per truck. Cities would also get some of this. Council took this info under advisement.

Several PAWS members were present- no animal shelter business brought up for them.

Meeting was about to adjourn when Morris spoke up.

Liz Morris said some actions by county attorney at the commissioner meeting concerned her. She thinks personnel matter needed to be handled in an executive session. Some other Council members agreed. [NOTE: Executive session is for personnel matters. The Hatch Act violation was not about a person’s job performance. It is about whether or not they can run for office. That is a political matter. The county attorney stated at the commissioner’s meeting that he had sought legal advice on executive session or not. Legally he was advised that it was not for executive session by two attorneys.]

Bryan Messmore continued saying he had a discussion with OSC (Office of Special Counsel on the Hatch Act) on the phone. He asked the rep there for general feelings on the alleged violations. “It would appear that I would be exempt form that law because of my APPOINTMENT to Council.” That was a simple phone call. Falling under the judicial branch of gov’t exempts me from the Hatch Act. [NOTE: The spirit of the Hatch Act is to prevent political patronage jobs- the old “spoils system.” There is indeed a “loophole” for the judicial branch and the Hatch Act has rulings on judges running for office that address that. These are for State constitutions that show certain offices under the judicial branch. In our case, the Indiana State Constitution shows the prosecutor’s office under the judicial branch. The OSC will address whether or not the Victim’s Advocate Coordinator is under the prosecutor or judicial branch. If he is not under their purview, they will probably address whether the caucus elected or selected Messmore to fill Fehrman’s seat and if that is permissible under Hatch Rules. And if that is permissible- it might preclude running for office in 2012, unless the grant job changes.]

Messmore said, “I am not an attorney.” There is some question regarding the statement made there. Messmore wants to know who knew what and when. “Everyone has the same opinion of how it was handled. [Note: Who is he speaking for when he says “everyone?”]

Messmore said, “That’s the same kind of BS that the people are tired of. The way it was handled puts us at risk for grants.” [NOTE: The act(s) in violation put us at risk for grants. If Johnny steals a cookie from the cookie jar and his brother tells Mom, who is at fault? Killing the messenger does not change the fact that we are at risk for grants. If Messmore is so sure of his innocence, then why is he and the whole Council worried about the county being at risk of losing our federal grants?]

Messmore concluded saying, “I intend to forward my comments to appropriate authorities.”

[NOTE: Under Indiana Constitution, the Sheriff’s Office is under the Executive/Administrative branch and is subject to the Hatch Act. Mike Kreinhop resigned from SCU before running for sheriff. McHenry did not, when he ran for Commissioner. It was also notable that the county Prosecutor, Aaron Negangard, and the County GOP Chairman, Allen Goodman, stayed for the entire meeting.
The political patronage system is alive and well in Dearborn County. Those who are loyal to the party leaders get jobs- some of which are paid for by federal grants. Trying to tuck all the problems out of sight is likely to get us all in trouble. Anyone who has ever picked up a seemingly intact log in the woods to find all the little critters living on the rot beneath it, know what happens if the old wood isn’t cleaned out. I would bet we start vetting our candidates more carefully before the next election. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. This issue needs to stay out in the light at public meeting(s).]

Meeting adjourned 10:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Per Indiana Code: Defeated Primary Candidates Ineligible to Run for Same Office in General Election

IC 3-8-1-5.5
Candidates defeated in primary or nomination process; ineligibility
Sec. 5.5. (a) Except as provided in IC 3-13-1-19 and IC 3-13-2-10 for filling a vacancy on a ticket, a person who:
(1) is defeated in a primary election;

(2) appears as a candidate for nomination at a convention and is defeated;
(3) files a declaration of candidacy for nomination by a county, city, or town convention and is defeated; or
(4) files a declaration of candidacy for nomination by a caucus conducted under IC 3-13-1 or IC 3-13-2 and is defeated;
is not eligible to become a candidate for the same office in the next general or municipal election.
(b) For the purposes of subsection (a):
(1) a candidate for an at-large seat on a fiscal body is considered a candidate for the same office as a candidate for a district seat on a fiscal body; and
(2) a candidate for United States representative from a district in Indiana is considered a candidate for the same office as a candidate for any other congressional district in Indiana.
(c) This section does not apply to a candidate who files a written request for placement on the presidential primary ballot under IC 3-8-3.
As added by P.L.10-1988, SEC.30. Amended by P.L.3-1997, SEC.115; P.L.38-1999, SEC.22; P.L.176-1999, SEC.27.

Monday, May 24, 2010

24 May 2010 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

24 May 2010 Dearborn County Plan Commission Meeting Notes

Present: Mike Hall, Chairman, Dennis Kraus Jr., Russell Beiersdorfer, Mark Lehman, Mike Hornbach, Ralph Thompson, Dan Lansing, Jake Hoog, and Ken Nelson.
Also Present: Mark McCormack, Plan Director, and Arnie McGill, Attorney.


McCormack presented the commissioner’s request that they remove letters of credit from the ordinance. McCormack had contacted other counties to see what they do regarding bonding. Mike Hornbach also did some research on this and they gave copies to all members. [NOTE: The letter of credit should have been IRREVOCABLE. Bonds have to be for a term sufficient to cover the development timetable. They may be automatically renewing in some cases until released by the county. Perhaps the attorney needs to draw up a contract that assures that the bond or other instrument stays intact until the development is accepted and improvements are completed.]

There was a variety of methods that counties used to assure financial security. Franklin County had a sugar Ridge situation, but the commissioners in that case did not accept those roads. Hamilton County Indiana has managed their cases and never got into this. Lawrenceburg has had a couple situations like that but have not accepted those improvements yet. Some have mentioned having trouble dealing with insurance companies. Some have trouble dealing with local banks too. Only a couple didn’t accept bonds. Some counties have escrow accounts, cashier’s checks, or cash bonds.

Official notice to PC will come from Commissioners at their June 1 meeting and that gives 60 days to PC to get the ordinance hearing etc. completed.

Thompson also reported that commissioners also accepted Augusta and Oakmont in Sugar Ridge “as is.” McCormack noted that the other improvements like drainage and bike path were not part of this. Maintenance of the roads would be for snow removal and repair of potholes. There are no plans to surface it.

Old Orchard Hill Phase II – Tucker said he will have a fix by June 21 tech review meeting for this. They will also submit an approved schedule of repairs by Aug 2. Bond expires on Sept 2. Tucker will be in PC meeting June 28 for Laurel Valley for a waiver. The roads meet the county spec- they just don’t meet the plans that were approved. He is still working on Seldom Seen. That is the one the PZ staff expects to have the most trouble with.

Deep patching worst spots, paying $10,000, and working out some ROW deal for Stateline was what Tucker proposed at PZ tech meeting as an option. PC was not inclined to get involved in that deal. That’s the commissioner’s decision. Tucker has not come to either commissioner meeting- he sent Jay to one and the lawyer, Watson to the other.

The only other expirations besides Tucker’s this year are Morgan’s Ridge in December.

Last item to consider was related to the changes we were talking about in the zoning ordinance and districts.

McCormack asked if they could get a committee together for this. Out of the 50 plus people on advisory board and 23 were willing to be included on special committee. He asked if the PC wanted to have all of these people. Kraus, Jr. said all 3 commissioners should be included. Board said they might want to get PC/BZA and about 7 more members on this steering committee. They will need to commit to being prepared for each meeting- not just showing up. These will probably be July or later.

MCormack wanted to see if the board wanted to include parking, signage, and landscaping included in EACH zoning district. Currently it’s a separate section. Board seemed to want to leave it the way it is. The users of the ordinance are used to it this way. It is also easier to revise ONE section and not have to go thru changes in each district.

Kraus, Jr. said that he spoke to someone who was concerned about our landscaping requirements. He wants to come in and speak to them about it sometime. He was not available tonight. McCormack was also concerned with getting an appropriate plant list for our area.
Performance based zoning materials will be provided to PC members by staff.

McCormack will be out of the office for 2 weeks in June for vacation.

Kraus Jr. asked about getting a landscape architect to design some sample buffer yards for our ordinance. Expense was an issue. Seeing if they can get a college dept to use it as a project for “free.”

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Shane McHenry Responds to Hatch Act Violations

For more information on both sides of this issue, please see the Thursday edition ( May 20) of the Dearborn County Register.

Shane McHenry response to alleged violations of the Hatch Act by G. Michael Witte

Last night at the Dearborn County Commissioners meeting, I was shocked when the County Attorney Michael Witte alleged that I violated the Federal Hatch Act. As an employee of the county, I find it concerning that an attorney that represents the county chose to allege wrongdoings of county employees at a public meeting without notice to the employees. Unfortunately, this was the first time that I had heard of the alleged violation. I later found out that County Attorney Witte, never even contacted my employer, whom I answer to, the Dearborn County Sheriff. I can assure all my supporters that I am not in violation of the Hatch Act. My salary is not paid by any federal funds, I do not supervise anyone whose salary is paid by federal funds and I am not the administrator of any federal grants. Again, I am not in violation of the Hatch Act and I want the citizens to know that I am not stepping down and plan to continue forward as the Republican Nominee for County Commissioner District 3. I attempted to politely address this issue with County Attorney Witte after the meeting when I asked him if I could have a minute. Witte rudely replied, “I don’t have anything to say to you.” Obviously this is concerning when I need to ask the county attorney a question and he refuses to speak with me. I can’t help but feel that County Attorney Witte is holding a personal grudge against me which has caused him to use such poor judgment. This situation was handled poorly by a man who was hired to represent the County but clearly has another agenda. I ran for political office to restore integrity to county government and that is what I intend to do by removing the negativity used by some that are more concerned about themselves than the people they represent. On Election Day, the people of this County spoke loud and clear that they are not happy with the current administration. This is due in large part to the fact that the current leadership clearly has forgotten who they are there to serve. Last night, was a clear demonstration why we need new leadership. As your Commissioner, I will never forget that I am there to serve the people of this County.

Shane McHenry

After An Unwelcome Message Is Delivered...

What happens to one's social life and employment when one brings up an ethical point that NOBODY wants to hear. Hmmmmmm???

It's best to at LEAST have other job prospects when doing such a thing, particularly if there is a family to support. You're hearing from the voice of Experience.

This voice suspects that obligations of a family provider probably have more to do with the timing of Mike Witte's announcement than any individual politics.

Could it be that only ONE lawyer type person understood which regulations constrain the recipients of federal grants?? Could it be that none of the grant applicants had a Clue about the Hatch Acts??

Do our public servants know what they're doing?

It appears that money will be unnecessarily going down the drain, because of failure to read the fine print attendant with the federal "largess" showered upon the county.

Perhaps the citizens should feel lucky if Mike Witte revealed compliance issues with the federal grant regulations before it is too late.

K Brauer
LBG Township

Tuesday, May 18, 2010



G. Michael Witte
Attorney at Law

Registered Mediator American Bar Association
Chair-elect, American Bar Association Judicial Division National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
Past Chair, ABA Judicial Division Standing Committee on Indiana State Bar Association
Minorities in the Judiciary Fellow of the American Bar Foundation

May 17, 2010

Ms. Carolyn S. Martorana
Attorney, Hatch Act Unit
U.S. Office of Special Counsel
1730 M Street, N.W. Suite 218
Washington, D.C. 20036

Re: Request for Hatch Act inquiry or advisory opinion

Dear Ms. Martorana:

In my capacity as County Attorney for the Dearborn County Board of Commissioners, and on their behalf, I must advise you that Dearborn County, Indiana might be out of compliance with several federal grant contracts of which we are the recipient. Specifically, I believe we are non-compliant with the Hatch Act provisions of several grants. It is the intent of this self-reporting letter to notify you of our internal review and to let your office act accordingly. I understand that the act of questioning election candidacies does not rest within our authority, but rather with the Office of Special Counsel and the U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board, or with our state election board and judicial review process.

The purported non-compliance scenarios are outlined below. I ask for the Office of Special Counsel to conduct inquiries and/or issue advisory opinions.

I. Victims of Crime Act (VOCA), Grant #09VA023, $80,116.00
Recipient: Dearborn County Government
Beneficiary: Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor’s Office
Hatch Act Employee: Bryan Messmore, Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor Victim Advocate Coordinator and Dearborn County Council member

Mr. Messmore’s salary and benefits totaling $50,988.0 are funded by a VOCA grant awarded through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute. In late 2009 or early 2010 Mr. Messmore was elected to the Dearborn County Council through a special election. The election was by a caucus of the Republican Party Central Committee to fill a mid-term vacancy caused by an incumbent councilman resigning his office. Mr. Messmore competed in a contested election with at least two other candidates, a Mr. Schmitts and a Mr. Baker.
During this election process, Mr. Messmore was a full-time employee of the Dearborn County Prosecutor’s Office whose salary was funded by a federal grant. Mr. Messmore continues to serve the dual role of councilman and Victim Advocate Coordinator under VOCA funding. He is a local officer or employee whose principal employment is in connection with an activity which is financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or Federal agency.

II. 2009 Recovery Act JAG Subgrantee, Grant #09-JRA-005, $174,673.00
2009 Recovery Act Edward Byrne JAG, Award #2009-SB-B9-0261, $57,951.00
2009 Edward Byrne JAG , Application #2009-H1473-DJ, $14,372.00
Recipient: Dearborn County Government
Beneficiary: Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor’s Office Special Crimes Unit
Hatch Act Employee: Shane McHenry, Detective for Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor’s Office Special Crimes Unit

In January of 2006, the Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department, the Lawrenceburg Police Department, and the Aurora Police Department formed a multi-jurisdictional task force to address serious felony crimes in Dearborn County, Indiana. Operating under the name of the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit (SCU), it is comprised of three detectives from the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department, one detective from the Lawrenceburg Police Department, one detective from the Aurora Police Department, and two investigators from the Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor’s Office.
Detective Shane McHenry is one of the three detectives of the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Department assigned to this SCU. Although his pay is routed through the Sheriff’s Department, he is assigned to the SCU and is viewed by many as the lead detective for the unit.
Mr. McHenry was a candidate in the May 4, 2010 Republican primary election for the office of Dearborn County Commissioner. Mr. McHenry won the election over two other candidates, a Mr. Thompson and a Mr. Rowland. He is now the Republican candidate for County Commissioner in the fall election. During this election process, Mr. McHenry was a full-time employee of the Dearborn County Sheriff’s Office assigned to the SCU which was funded by at least $246,996.00 in federal grant money. Mr. McHenry continues to work for the SCU and act as the Republican candidate for County Commissioner for the November 2, 2010 general election. His campaign material referenced himself as a “Detective for … Special Crimes Unit”. He is a local officer or employee whose principal employment is in connection with an activity which is financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or Federal agency.

After June 18, my contact information will change to the following:

G. Michael Witte, Executive Secretary
Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission
30 South Meridian Street, Suite 850
Indianapolis, IN 46204

I will no longer be serving as Dearborn County Attorney, but I will be available for any discussion on these issues if necessary. Attached to this letter is contact information if needed. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


G. Michael Witte
Dearborn County Attorney

Possible points of contact for any inquiry are as follows:

Mr. Ralph Thompson
President, Dearborn County Board of Commissioners
Dearborn County Administration Building
215-B West High Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Ms. Gayle Pennington
Dearborn County Auditor
Dearborn County Administration Building
215-B West High Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Mr. F. Aaron Negangard
Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor
215 West High Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Mr. Bryan Messmore
4374 Messmore Lane
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

Mr. Shane McHenry
7 David Drive
Aurora, IN 47001


Information on the Hatch Act can be found on the following sites:

Monday, May 17, 2010

17 May 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

17 May 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Ralph Thompson, President, Tom Orschell, and Jeff Hughes
Also present: Mike Witte, Attorney. Suellen Cauble covering for Pennington
ABSENT: Gayle Pennington, Auditor

Condolences were extended to county employee Linda Starker’s family by Ralph Thompson.

This meeting was preceded by an executive session at 6 PM on security systems and pending litigation on Langley Heights. Jack Gay served as attorney because Witte had served as judge for some of Langley Heights prior litigation.

County attorney was authorized to work on Langley heights issue at the regular meeting. No action taken on the security systems.


Surety Bond on Old Orchard Subdivision Phase 2- Letter received from Jeff Tucker to commissioners. Todd Listerman spoke with Schmeltzer on the design and will be on the June 21st tech review meeting to be sure that they comply with their requests. Tabled calling the bond on Old Orchard to allow Tucker to proceed on this plan.

[NOTE: I obtained a copy of Jeff Tucker’s letter to the Commissioners dated 17 May 2010. He stated that Joe Schmeltzer, PE will have a remediation plan ready for review by 28 May and if he encounters some unforeseen circumstances Tucker will contact Listerman with a revised schedule. If all goes as planned Tucker will present revised plan to Tech review on 21 June. Tucker expects to have all deficiencies remediated 60-75 days after revised plan is approved by Tech review. Tucker contacted McCormack at planning Dept to be tentatively on the 28 June meeting agenda for a waiver for Laurel Valley Sub’n. Tucker apologized in the letter for not having a proposal for Seldom Seen. Je is in the process of collecting bids from paving contractors and will have a proposal to the county in 2 weeks. ]


Suellen Cauble- Human Resources Discussion on PERF contribution- Four employees did not get the proper deductions for this. She received permission to request $9823 from council to make these current.

Bill Scharold- Zoning Ordinance-removed from agenda- already met with Planning and Zoning and Orschell.

Gary Hensley- Assessor- sent notice of an unfunded mandate from state to inspect properties within 60 days and is requesting permission to go to Council to get a car and/or funding for this purpose. Bill Ewbank said that 8-9 addition assessments per day will be added to their workload. OKd to go to Council for funding for new vehicle.

Animal Control- Marlene Underwood- unable to attend. Nothing new to report- same as they have been reporting per her comments to Thompson.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman gave an UNUSUALLY SHORT 6-minute report

Augusta Drive- 1.64 miles and Oakmont Court 0.12 miles were officially accepted into county maintenance in “as is” condition.

State Board of Accounts Annual Report -all 7 copies – were signed for 2009.

RR crossings done and grant money will be received from Feds for this.

Yorkridge Road nearly complete. Others on North Hogan and North Dearborn will start when weather permits.
Guilford town road was also completed along with Yorkridge Rd.

Auditor- Claims and minutes. One claim for $12,779.82 from Sidwell on GIS was held at Minzner’s and Kraus Jr’s request. Witte said they wanted to not have a lawyer involved yet to try to finish the training etc. Kraus Jr said they were going to write a letter to submit to Sidwell to get some of the deliverables done. They still owe about 3 days of training. There are some layers that are not finished yet. Out of $387,000 we are down to about the last $25,000 of it. Until they are settled on the finals the commissioners were advised to withhold the last payment. Minzner or Kraus Jr. will report at the next commissioner’s meeting. The claim was withheld for now.

Some of the minutes were held for review, some were approved, one with amendments from Hughes regarding the tax impact on the jail plans.

Attorney- Mike Witte- I’m probably going to be longer than Todd Listerman! That’s a first!

No new litigation or tort claims.

The billing dept received a 2nd letter from US Bank in Moore’s Hill regarding a structure next door as it is crumbling with bricks falling. US Bank is asking about condemnation process. There is no line item in the commissioner’s budget on this. Once we condemn- county has liability. Henry Alton (sp?) Brown is the owner of the crumbling building. He’s not likely to do anything about this. Moore’s Hill has no budget for this. Also a Health issue with pigeons and bats etc. First step is to notify the owner that there is an unsafe situation. You can go to Council with an estimate on how much it costs to tear it down. Then eventually the owner pays it back on their tax bill. It’s about a 180 day process. Thompson said they need to talk to Council – tabled until they could investigate the costs and options.

Letter prepared by Witte for them to use when they are negotiating with PAWS on the Animal Shelter.

Witte has the ordinance asked to draft several months ago regarding the grant application process and requiring the county attorney to review and commissioners to approve. That is ready and the next item will show why this is even more important.

Witte stated he’d like to start with a little civics lesson. In 1939 the US congress passed the Hatch Act and later the Little Hatch Act. This was about gov’t employees running for federal office. As far back as Jefferson there were discussions about conflict of interest if an office holder also works for the government.
The Hatch Act says- a state or local officer or employee (whose principle job is financed in whole or in part by federal grant money) cannot run for office in a partisan election.
There is standard language in these grants that we sign that says we agree to not violate the Hatch Act.

As examples:
We have $174,000 in federal funds for the Prosecutor’s Special Crimes Unit in a grant.
Victim of Crime Act grant- funds the DC /Ohio County Prosecutor’s Office Victim Advocate Office.
Edward Byrne Grant $57,951- for Special Crimes Unit.

The recipient must promptly refer to the Federal Office any violation of the Hatch Act. [NOTE: Who is the recipient of the grant? The Prosecutor’s Office? Are they obligated to report it also?]

Witte said-I am informing the Board of Commissioners that we are under obligation to obey it and report that we are not in compliance of the Hatch Act. We are not in compliance in the $50,998 for Bryan Messmore and he sits on Council. The Special Crimes Unit- has at least 3 federal grants totalling $246,996 and Shane McHenry is a candidate for Commissioner. We have to report this to be sure we are not fined. We cannot turn our head away.
[NOTE: What happens to the people in these two jobs? Are these the only violations in the county?]
If for some reason there was a criminal investigation we do not want to be accessory. That would be worst case scenario- I’m not saying that will happen.

Why bring it up now? I am doing it now to remove it from political process.

When I was made aware – the issue was solely Messmore. McHenry was not a violation until he won the primary. Being a candidate in the main election constitutes a violation. Challenge to an election is only good for 14 days. That ends tomorrow. Thompson is not involved and is not challenging the election.

Bryan Messmore’s dad interrupted Witte and was called out of order. He persisted saying it was his son they were talking about, until Marty Hon went over and talked to him privately.

Witte told commissioners – “Your duty is only to report that you are out of compliance. Their duty (the federal agency that oversees this) is to follow through. To notify people that they are ineligible or if that doesn’t get resolved, then impose fines.”
Witte said- “I will notify the office of the special counsel for Hatch Act.”

[NOTE: For more information on the Hatch Act- just Google it. The Special Counsel also will come up with FAQs on this law and answers to various issues local governments might run in to. ]

Witte continued: This brings us back to the grant ordinance. There are certain conditions we have to meet when we get these. All these conditions are in these grants. Federal grants are competitive. If we get labeled as a community that doesn’t comply, that affects all the cities and towns and schools in our county.

Lastly as you are aware I have been appointed as the Indiana Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary. I will be resigning effective June 7th.

County Coordinator- Bill Ewbank- Emergency Mgmt has been slotted to get assessed on threats to our jail and other facilities for both natural disasters and man-made threats in a couple days.

Late Arrival Information- none

Public Comment- Cathy Albert asked if $ amount had been submitted for Collier Ridge. Listerman will have that by 21 May.

Meeting Adjourned at 8:10 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Wednesday, May 12, 2010



And to be held at the Dearborn County Administration Building



May 17, 2010

7:00 p.m.

Administration Building

215B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana


Security Systems & Pending Litigation – Langley Heights



1. Surety Bond on Old Orchard Subdivision – Phase II / tabled from 5/5/10

1. Suellen Cauble, Human Resources

Discussion on PERF contribution

2. Bill Scharold

Zoning Ordinances

ANIMAL CONTROL – Marlene Underwood

1. Updates

AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington
1. Claims/Minutes





COMMISSIONER – Ralph Thompson, Jr.




Tuesday, May 11, 2010



Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary, Michael Witte.

G. Michael Witte, former Dearborn County Judge, has been named the Indiana Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary. The Disciplinary Commission is the agency that investigates and prosecutes alleged attorney misconduct. The Indiana Supreme Court approved naming Judge Witte as the agency head, confirming a recommendation from the nine-member Indiana Disciplinary Commission.

Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard said, “Mike Witte has dedicated his career to public service, and I am pleased he will spend the next chapter of his legal career leading the Disciplinary Commission. He is well known to attorneys across Indiana as thoughtful and fair and energetic.” Those same qualifications were apparent to the Disciplinary Commission who recommended Witte’s appointment. Disciplinary Commission Chair Corinne Finnerty explained, “Judge Witte has a broad range of experience, including a respected national reputation for judicial leadership. We are confident he will use his management skills to ensure the integrity of the Indiana legal profession is maintained.”

When Judge Witte accepted the Executive Secretary position he said, “Indiana attorneys expect and deserve a Commission dedicated to upholding the highest standards of professionalism. I pledge to continue working to maintain the level of excellence our state demands of its attorneys. It is an honor to serve the state and I look forward to working with the investigators and staff as well as the nine-member Commission.”

The majority of Judge Witte’s career was spent serving the Dearborn Superior Court. He was elected to the bench in 1985 and served through 2008. He was the first Asian-American to serve as judge in the state of Indiana. In March 2009, the Supreme Court appointed him to serve as temporary judge of Wayne Superior Court 1. He currently serves as a Senior Judge and dedicates time to national professional associations.

Judge Witte is the chair-elect of the American Bar Association Judicial Division and will become chair of the Division in August. He is an Indiana University School of Law- Indianapolis graduate and a nationally recognized speaker in the field of diversity. He served as a panelist for the American Bar Association program “Achieving a Diverse Judiciary and Its Impact on Public Confidence in the Judicial System.” He also spoke at Harvard Law School for the American Bar Association program “Obtaining and Retaining a Diverse Judiciary.” He served on the Indiana Commission on Courts from 2005-2007 and was named the 2008 Distinguished Asian Alumni by the Indiana University Asian Alumni Association.

The long-time Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary, Donald Lundberg, retired from the position in December 2009. The nine-member Commission, which includes both lawyers and citizen members, immediately began working to find an appropriate candidate to fill the role of Executive Secretary. The Commission chose to have the entire body play a role in the search, rather than appoint a sub-committee dedicated to the mission.

The Commission received 24 applications and began vetting potential candidates. In February, the Commission reviewed the applications submitted. In March, discussion on the applications continued. The Commission selected approximately ten candidates to interview and the process of meeting with those ten candidates began in April. In May, the Commission selected Judge Witte as the Executive Secretary and the Indiana Supreme Court approved his appointment.

Mr. Witte is expected to begin working in mid-June. As Disciplinary Commission Executive Secretary he will work with agency staff and the nine-member Commission to ensure members of the Indiana bar uphold the Rules of Professional Conduct. He will lead the agency that investigates and prosecutes cases of alleged attorney misconduct. The Indiana Supreme Court has final authority over all attorney discipline cases.

Supreme Court of Indiana
For immediate release May 10, 2010
Contact Kathryn Dolan

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Hello everyone!

I wanted to invite you to attend a public meeting that is taking place this
Monday, May 10th, at the Dearborn County Adult Center.

The meeting, as the attachment attests, is a part of a regional effort to
update the Dearborn County Water Quality Management Plan--a plan which has
not been updated in a couple of decades. As you may know, Water Quality
Management Plans are required by the federal Clean Water Act to identify
water quality problems in metropolitan areas and to recommend how to address
them, in the process avoiding duplications of effort by local sewer agencies
and stretching limited taxpayer dollars. Preparing a current water quality
management plan with updated data, findings, and recommendations will build
on the work of many entities within the county and the state, and should
enable water quality improvements by identifying shared concerns and
priorities for action.

OKI has been the designated agency for water quality management planning in
Dearborn County for over 30 years. Very recently, OKI obtained a grant to
bring the plan up-to-date.

The public meeting on May 10th represents the public first opportunity to
become involved in this planning process. The details for the meeting are as

Date: MONDAY, May 10th, 2010
Time: 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Location: Dearborn County Adult Center
311 West Tate Street
Lawrenceburg, IN 47025

***Visit the website for this project at:

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me
at your convenience.

Sincerely & Respectfully,

Mark McCormack
Director of Planning & Zoning
Dearborn County Plan Commission
Phone: (812) 537-8821 Fax: (812) 532-2029

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

5 May 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

5 May 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Ralph Thompson, President, Tom Orschell, and Jeff Hughes
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, and Mike Witte, Attorney.

Thompson congratulated all the primary candidate winners and wished them well in the main election.


Jail security proposals- to be handled in executive session at next meeting.

RQAW-remains tabled from 4/20/10.


Surety Bond on Old Orchard Phase II- John Watson attorney there on Tuckers behalf. Jeff Tucker out of town- Jay was present.
Asked the commission to review in two weeks- they will be responsible for the drain box issues etc. Tucker asked him to say that they will commit to replacing the drain box and they will fix the slope issues to the county’s satisfaction. They hope to have it successfully completed in the next two weeks. There are houses built there. The fix will be to the satisfaction of tech review.
Thompson asked about the other Tucker subdivisions in question. Watson did not have enough info to discuss that. Commissioners voted to allow Tucker 2 weeks latitude.

Surety Bonds for Public Works Discussion-
Todd Listerman presented as McCormack was not available tonight. A letter of credit, per Billl Ewbank’s research, is not a true surety. Asked the commissioners to eliminate letters of credit and accept only surety performance bonds. This is to eliminate any more problems like Sugar Ridge. Hughes asked about the community centers etc. Witte said the county is only interested in infrastructure. The residents could sue if the amenities were not developed. The bond is only for the infrastructure. Bill Ewbank said the bonds are written for things that the county would become liable for. Commissioners voted to have PC revise PC rewrite ordinances to eliminate letters of credit and have surety bonds. [NOTE: Finally!]

Sugar Ridge Residents Petition- On behalf of the homeowners of Sugar Ridge Lisa Taylor passed out petition of all the homeowners on Augusta and Oakmont. Asked commissioners to complete the final paving on both roads. They asked for them to accept them then and have proper signage. They do not want it ignored as it will go into further disrepair. Homes are $200-800,000 in range. Homes for sale are not moving, and they think the road issue needs to be settled to help these sell.
Hughes said he’d looked at this issue and thinks they should put it on county maintenance because we are repairing it and doing snow removal. He motioned to accept it as is.
Orschell said we can’t commit to accepting it if we can’t cover it. Todd Listerman replied to Orshell’s question about its current standard. He said Augusta would meet depth standard as residential , BUT IT DOES NOT HAVE ITS SURFACE COURSE to shield out water. Oakmont would not. $152,000 would get the top surface done, and we would get about $6,000 from the state to maintain both. Orschell said we can’t say when we’d have the money to finish this.
Lisa Taylor said- there are county regulations that were in place- that were not their fault. We are reasonable people. Five years from now- the cost may be greater as we have had more traffic on it. Orschell said though it was not anyone’s fault in this room, though it is the county’s responsibility. Thompson said they were researching a way to get the costs recouped from the future lot sale.
Orschell would 2nd Hughes’s motion to accept the maintenance, but not to commit to the surface coat- as we don’t have the money yet. Lisa Taylor noted that others use the road. Commissioners agreed to accept Augusta Road as is for county maintenance. They discussed the approximately 1200 ft of Oakmont also. They accepted Oakmont as is into county maintenance. The official acceptance will occur next meeting when Listerman gets paperwork and official lengths for the state. [NOTE: Commissioners are only doing this because the county let the letters of credit lapse. they feel responsible.]
Residents want the potholes fixed too for safety. No commitment made on that.

Jeanine Summers- Youth Career Advisor Work One- these are paid work experiences for youth. The county’s dept. heads will have to be sure to know the requirements on the dept. Liability issues if the youth operate a car fall to the county in this agreement for example. Make sure we are dealing with age 18 and over for the county- though the program does handle 14-18. This is available in the municipalities, and the private sector also if available. Ewbank agrees on age 18. Commissioners agreed to proceed with Ewbank coordinating it.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman gave a 30-minute report.

Passed out Old Orchard drawings for Commissioners info.

Last Thursday INDOT gave $1million for Collier Ridge Bridge. He is getting and RFP for this. Getting a consultant to do an FA3 for the bridge and road realignment. Based on funds, they will decide where to build the realignment.

Change order for I-275 ITS cameras for 24 hr surveillance of the area from OHIO state line to bridge. $4,000 deducted as no field office needed for the inspector. Other items added and $6383.40 is the total needed. No charge to the county. Mark Payne – OKI rep- said that funding will be sought for message boards also on this section of I-275 to alert traffic to issues. There is sufficient funding. INDOT is considering this as it is a new thing for them here.

Todd also found out that they will fix that RIGHT lane access to 275 that goes in and out as you head to KY.[NOTE: Finally!]

Yorkridge Road has the surface on it now. Finish work and striping yet to be done.

North Hogan and after that North Dearborn sections start next week.

County garage plans were submitted for commissioner’s review. Looking at the remodel to get the dept. into the building. Funding in MVHA and 146 account set aside already for these improvements. Tentative occupancy mid July to Aug 1st.

Striping law changes has 6,000 vpd as cutoff requiring them. With present funding, Listerman wants to do just 3,000 vpd and up NOT the 1000 vpd as before. $41,000 is the cost. Newly paved roads will get thermoplastic striping per their contracts. Commissioners sent Listerman to Council to seek these funds.

Orschell is seeking grant funding from Lawrenceburg for salt dome at Randall Avenue to get it under cover. Existing domes are at County Farm and Jamison. The new one will hold up to 5000 tons of salt- more than we use in a year. Then they will build a smaller building to keep mix under roof (sand too.) it costs more than the $100,000 grant. They will seek extra funds from Council. If not, then they will seek a 2nd grant next year to complete. Commissioners approved.

Listerman explained to Collier Ridge resident (Ritzi) that the funding is secured and available in 2013. Thompson explained how the funds were obtained using the 2 step process they selected at INDOT’s request. Cathy Albert on Collier Ridge asked about specifics on money for realignment, timing, and potential land acquisition for the bridge. Ritzi asked about the earlier realignments when they did the road slippage to see if it was usable for this- answer was yes.

Auditor-Gayle Pennington- Claims and Minutes signed and April 16 tabled. Annual report from commissioners on state education account and this closes this fund out now. It has been moved to the state.

Yearly support and agreement with SRI tax sale services for this year. The only change is a $5 increase in their fee. They tabled this until Witte could review and post it on the agenda.

Attorney-Mike Witte- no new litigation or tort claims. Next meeting that was moved to a Wednesday- he has a commitment- so will send substitute. Animal issue on Cumberland Drive- they will get evidence as required. Witte will get someone to assist with this as it is on an hourly rate anyway. This is more urgent. Compliance audit out of state will mean Witte is missing the 2nd June meeting.

Orschell asked about the animal control ordinance changes. Witte is asking for an electronic copy of this to be ready for next meeting discussion. Thompson to get this for him.

County Coordinator- Bill Ewbank- seeking bids for courthouse roof. Funds set aside. Ok’d to seek bids.

Asking for bids to improve taping and sound system in commissioners room. Approved to do this.[NOTE: this has been an ongoing problem for years. The public deserves a system that works!]

Late Arrivals- none

Public Comment- none

NEXT COMMISSIONERS MEETING IS WEDNESDAY MAY 19th at 9 AM. Date change due to conflict with Lawrenceburg’s meeting room schedule.

Meeting adjourned at 8:25 PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Primary 2010 Election Results for Dearborn County

Primary 2010 Election Results for Dearborn County

Total votes 7006 out of 34,314 registered voters.
Republican votes- 5687
Democrat votes – 1313

20.42% voter turnout


Shane McHenry- 2900
Ralph Thompson- 1490
Don Rowland- 718


Charles Combs-927
Jack Addison-284

Mike Kreinhop- 3263
Brian Noble- 810
Bob Fogle- 749
Linda Jordan Estes- 622


Mary Klump Booker- 1076


Glenn Wright-2314
Barbara Tibbs-1433
Robert Starks- 796
Marvin Gilbert- 393

Dan Lansing-330

Liz Morris-850
Rick Pope -471

Jerome Hoog-349

Dennis Kraus, Sr-1181

Tom Cheek-320

Gayle Pennington-4400

Gary Hensley-4207

Aaron Negangard-4428

James Humphrey-4622