Wednesday, June 30, 2010

LAWS TAKING EFFECT JULY 1st from Johnny Nugent mailing

Dozens of new laws take effect July 1

Dozens of new laws are set to go into effect on July 1, ranging from cracking down on overdue child support to relieving overcrowded prisons, strengthening drunken driving penalties to protecting property rights.

Legislators achieved our top priorities by delaying $400 million in unemployment insurance premium increases to help avoid layoffs and create jobs, passing sweeping government ethics reforms, as well as allowing Hoosiers to have the final say on whether property tax caps should become permanent. In all, 115 bills were passed and signed into law benefitting children, taxpayers, employers and employees, homeowners, military troops and gun owners.

Here is a snapshot of new laws set to go into effect on July 1:

Child Support: In an effort to collect more than $2 billion in overdue child support payments, lawmakers passed a bill to withhold casino winnings from those who ignore their court-ordered obligations. The Indiana Department of Child Services estimates more than 165,000 "deadbeat parents" each owe more than $2,000 in support payments. Colorado passed a similar law in July 2008, resulting in more than $320 million in delinquent payments.

Drunken Driving: Legislation designed to stiffen penalties against drunken drivers also memorializes an innocent victim, an Indiana family's unborn son. In 2007, Danielle Brookshire lost her unborn son in a car crash believed to be caused by a drunken driver. Lawmakers worked with Brookshire and local prosecutors on the bill's language.

Costly, Crowded Prisons: Senate Enrolled Act 415 eases the burden on Indiana's over-crowded correctional facilities and saves tax dollars. Every year of incarceration costs taxpayers at least $20,000 per inmate, and SEA 415 allows parole boards to consider early discharges for long-term, non-violent offenders who have been incarcerated for 21 consecutive years and have completed a four-year college degree or other approved community transition program.

Utility Co-Ops: Lawmakers passed a measure allowing rural telephone and electric cooperatives to merge into single co-ops. Supporters of Senate Enrolled Act 126 say merging co-ops could increase the utilities' management efficiencies and streamline efforts to more cost-effectively bring service to Hoosiers in rural communities.

Independent Research: In an effort to make the legislative branch less dependent on lobbyists for research on public policy topics, Senate Enrolled Act 84 allows lawmakers and the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency to access state-funded research resources at Indiana colleges and universities. Feasibility of establishing a research and policy development division will also be explored.

Voting Accessibility: House Enrolled Act 1109 makes voting easier for those with disabilities and military personnel serving our country overseas. The new law ensures disabled voters have the same access to private, independent voting methods when casting ballots early or absentee as they do when voting on Election Day. It also provides more options for military personnel to cast a vote when serving overseas.

Property Rights: Aimed at protecting Hoosier homeowners' rights to display political signs on their property, lawmakers approved a bill allowing homeowners associations to regulate but no longer ban the display of political signs during election seasons. Senate Enrolled Act 64 prohibits associations from adopting restrictive rules that outright prohibit the display of political signs 30 days before an election. Associations may still adopt and enforce rules restricting the size, number and location of signs.

Motor Vehicle Offenses: Senate Enrolled Act 170 increases penalties for drivers who kill a law enforcement officer or law enforcement animal, like a K-9 dog, while driving drunk or resisting arrest.

Suicide, Violence Education: Senate Enrolled Act 226 establishes a study of teen suicide and prevention measures, including teacher training to recognize early signs of suicidal tendencies in youth. Senate Enrolled Act 316 requires the Department of Education to develop dating violence education materials, which can later be used to assist schools with preventive programming.

Gun Rights: House Enrolled Act 1068 aims to keep the names, addresses and other identifying information of more than 300,000 Hoosiers with handgun licenses - also referred to as concealed carry permits - confidential, like tax records. House Enrolled Act 1065 prohibits most businesses from enacting policies that prevent licensed gun owners from keeping legal firearms in their locked vehicles out of sight.

Rx Abuse: Lawmakers supported a bill aimed at combating prescription drug abuse in Indiana. Senate Enrolled Act 356 expands the data collected by Indiana's prescription monitoring program (INSPECT) and allows INSPECT to release information on prescribers and patients to the state toxicologist, Medicaid fraud investigators and substance abuse assistance programs. This change should help better identify problem prescribers and 'doctor shopper' patients in an effort to reduce prescription drug abuse.

For more information on these new laws and other state matters, I encourage you to call my office toll-free 1-800-382-9467 or e-mail me at

DRAFT Agenda July 6 Commissioners Meeting

July 6, 2010
7:00 p.m.
Administration Building
215B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana



Langley Heights Proposed Vacation of Public Street/Right-Of-Way

1. Tucker Development – Jeff Tucker
2. Ordinance for Grant Applications
3. Resolution to Vacate Right of Way – Cole Lane to Public Launch Ramp

1. OKI Annual Agreement

2. EMA – Bill Black, Jr.
Grant Signatures

3. Road Blocks for Fundraisers

4. Lisa Taylor – Villages of Sugar Ridge


VII. AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington


Surplus Auction



XII. COMMISSIONER – Ralph Thompson, Jr.




Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Special Crimes Unit in 2008 Audit

2008 State Board of Accounts Audit finished in Sept 2009

The County Council approved the transfer of funds accounted for on the County Auditor's and
County Treasurer's respective funds ledger to a local special crimes unit. The local Special Crimes Unit became responsible for the fiscal administration of these funds instead of the County Auditor, County Treasurer, and the Board of County Commissioners. The transfer was authorized in October of the year 2008. From the date of the transfer through June 2009, the local Special Crimes Unit accounted for approximately $230,000 in receipts and $112,000 in disbursements. On July 14, 2009, the remaining fund balances were transferred back to the County Auditor's and County Treasurer's respective funds ledgers.
IC 36-2-10-9 states in regards to the duties of the County Treasurer: "The treasurer shall receive money to which the county is entitled and shall disburse it on warrants issued and attested by the county auditor."
IC 5-11-10-2(a) states:
"Claims against a political subdivision of the state must be approved by the officer or person
receiving the goods or services, be audited for correctness and approved by the disbursing
officer of the political subdivision, and, where applicable, be allowed by the governing body
having jurisdiction over allowance of such claims before they are paid. If the claim is against
a governmental entity (as defined in section 1.6 of this chapter), the claim must be certified by
the fiscal officer."

The County receives admission taxes derived from a riverboat gaming facility. In 2008, the
County gave $1,825,377 of riverboat admissions tax to various governmental entities pursuant to revenue sharing agreements. The County also donated $365,075 of riverboat admissions taxes to various not-forprofit organizations.
IC 4-33-12 (Admission Taxes) does not contain provisions authorizing a county to enter into
agreements with units of local governments to share the County's share of admission taxes.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

15 June 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

15 June 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

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


Tucker Development- Jeff Tucker- no one present- deadline to call the bond is the end of Sept and they must be notified ahead of time to extend the bond.

DCRSD Board Appointment – tabled- no applicants yet.

GIS- Margaret Minzner
- continued from last meeting- Lake Dilldear Grant Application- looks like there will be issues with a potential archeological site that will stall application. They can also pursue the Community block grant.

GIS updates- response from Sidwell came in late Mon afternoon and they are reviewing it. They are reviewing bugs with software also.


Life time Resources- Julie Schafer- 2011 Funding request- requested $10,000 for catch a Ride- approved to go to Council for this- their annual $10,000 amount.

CCI Construction Manager- Eric Wolf- here to discuss jail project, He had attended the Apr 20 charette on it. He reviewed the space issues with jail and said that they can help with construction. They have redone designs in other jails to meet budgets. Need to find a way to get what is needed for as little cost as possible. They managed Lawrenceburg school projects (3 of them). To get started they need authorization to work with the team, architects, etc. He gave them a packet with fee schedule, standard AIA agreement, etc. They will get to the correct price and then go thru the referendum process. If the referendum doesn’t pass- the contract stops. They work with a set fee- not a part of contractor mark-ups. is their website. $28,000 is the referendum cost- flat fee to get from now to then. Other numbers are preconstruction and design phase- post construction fees. $12,000 per month preconstruction and $24,900 for construction phase. They will also work with financial people to help get financing. Ball park number was $20 million from charette which is more than we can spend per Orschell. Wolf said- now it’s a time for reality check to weed out the items that are not needed to meet an affordable amount. For example the bed count nearly doubled. Each bed costs about $65,000. Don’t make it smaller than you need- but decide how much you need to grow. They have worked with RQAW on 2 other projects. Hughes is in favor of having someone oversee this. They don’t work for percentage- they work for flat fee. Orschell thinks it’s imperative that commissioners get with Council to be sure we are all on the same page. Hughes said we started at $40million, now $20 million and even Orschell agrees that that’s too high. Cannot go over the tax cap limits unless there is a vote specifically to go over that cap. Commissioners to review.

Gary Collins and Cathy Albert- Collier Ridge Bridge- Gary was concerned about time constraints and how the people particularly at the bottom will be adversely affected by the bridge loss for that long. He spoke with Jim Barker, PE from other county projects, James Cooper, eng from Michigan, and Kent Abraham (Historial consultant). Over 100 photographs sent to get engineer opinion. Jim Barker would cost $2,500 to give estimate on that bridge. Would like the county to consider doing this to get a fast track project. This would utilize the existing configuration and go back to a grated surface- no asphalt. This would be same process as what Barker did on Bear’s (or Bell’s) Branch. The bridge has been around 100 years- no accidents there. They don’t want to change the whole aesthetics of the area.

Cathy Albert was concerned about $2,950,000 from INDOT. She is concerned about eminent domain and the realignment needed for that version. She thinks that will be an additional sum of money. The cost was figured on size and length of bridge and the road she said per Listerman, and they can be too high or too low. She reiterated her concerns from a few meetings ago on whether we can meet the costs by 2013 when construction can begin. She does not want to see her landscape and view marred by trees removed and a concrete structure rather than the woods and a beautiful red bridge that absolutely needs repair. The residents of collier ridge and all the lanes off that road want the setting to stay the way it is and also to not have a dead end road as it is now. It takes her over 100 miles a week just to get her mail now.

Gary summed up to get commissioners to accept the $2500 fee for Barker to look at this. The bridge would be only a 15 ton load limit when redone this way. It is not a registered historic bridge. He was enthusiastic in his support of Barker’s study. Commissioners will send it to Bill Ewbank and Listerman to evaluate and see if we have the money to do this and ask for their direction.

Animal Control- Marlene Underwood- passed out email thanking them for dog adopted. Plumbing problems being fixed. Increased to 56 dogs and 88 cats due to kitten and puppy season. Adopted 33 dogs and 42 cats in May. Increase in runs and dog bites due to the season. Had some calls for things that they don’t handle- such as rabbits. Petsmart is helping them with adoptions out on Colerain Ave. They did get a deer to a deer rescue- ended up being euthanized as he was blind. Uniforms will be addressed soon.

HIGHWAY DEPT- Todd Listerman was not in attendance- vacation- no report

Auditor- Gayle Pennington- claims and minutes- tabled May 17 meeting minutes due to Hughes not having reviewed them.
June 1 meeting minutes were tabled until the comments between Thompson and Negangard can be transcribed verbatim from the tape. [NOTE: this was the interchange where Negangard was grilling Thompson about the Hatch Act violations.]

Hughes wanted to be sure Witte’s work thru 5/31 didn’t include Hatch Act complaint and was not charged to county as the board had not directed him to do this. Ewbank to check on this.
Final claim from Sears on the Animal Shelter will be settled with this claim and Ewbank recommended paying it to get it done. They approved.

Bond paperwork for signatures for county auditor (Pennington) was signed.

Resolution signature for service fee collected through the tax sales process. SRI does the annual tax sale and their fees went up $5. Approved.

Attorney- Jack Gay-prepared a resolution on the proposed vacation of streets in Langley Heights. Pass a resolution and set the matter for public meeting. He would like to get it in process to get it for public hearing for next meeting with public notice. They would like to move this forward due to pending litigation. There is some question about the triangular piece that will end up being abandoned to the town there. There may be a lawsuit on this. This would be the town’s issue out there. Cut it off close to Johnny Wright’s property. It gets cleaned up nicely with this vacation. Would like to have a visual so that people can see it clearly at the public hearing. Gay will get this. Ewbank will set the public notice in the paper.
Ordinance to deal with grants as prepared by Witte and reviewed by Gay will be on the next meeting.

Gay said state law presumes documents held by the public are open to public. Wants all office holders to be operating under the same policy. Undercover officers for example are not. He wants to set a policy on this

Road block fund raising issue – Gay said they cannot give duties or assign them to another public entity like the township trustees. He thinks it may be more of a safety issue for County Highway dept. perhaps. Hughes was glad for the research. Will discuss at next meeting.

County Coordinator- Bill Ewbank presented an interlocal agreement grant request- Disaster Recovery 2 grant for water transmission main for Aberdeen Pate Water company. This is also with Ohio County. Ohio County is lead applicant for this and will handle the funds. Has to be in by July 2 for their application. There is no encumberance on our county. Approved.

There is a big issue with Centurylink on internet service- wants to talk to Comcast. Centurylink supposedly cannot offer increased bandwidth needed. Ewbank authorized to negotiated for better Internet service. Particular problems were in treasurer and auditor’s office.

LATE ARRIVAL- asked for letter of support for Region 9 Workforce Act- for River Valley Resources for funding program. Experienced provider of education and training programs in the region. Jack reviewed and advised they not sign as they do not know what the project is. Commissioners did NOT sign this.

PUBLIC COMMENT- Richard Wahler has a farm on Bonnell Road- with RR crossing there. RR took it out and now they cannot get tractors etc there. They are using 12 acres of his land now as ROW. Gay said the RR gets power than ours. Feds. 100 acres is hard to access here. Hamilton got it put back once. He has called Baron Hill and so far nothing. He could contact state reps for help. His property starts out on Collier Ridge by the RR area. They have flooding issues on some. 20763 Villa Lane- Richard Wahler. GIS can provide him with a good overhead map to pin down locations per Ewbank. Commissioners to send letter to Baron Hill to assist him.

Chris Mueller- I questioned them regarding the open door issue that Jack Gay brought up. I told them I was the person requesting the information in question and that I understood that they would have to block out names of undercover officers.
I told them that the PAC (Public Access Counselor) advised me that if my request was denied they had to do so in writing and stating the reasons for the denial.
Gay said they were not denying, that he was going over with Gayle Pennington after the meeting to review the materials to be certain they were not compromising anyone ( like the undercover cops)
I asked when I can get my requests. He said they have 7 days by law and that he’d gotten my revised request on Saturday. He assured me they were not trying to stall and that they expected to have the material well ahead of the 7 day deadline. There were issues with the clarity of the 2nd item of my original request on June 7. Now they understand what I want.
I asked Gayle Pennington if she’d gotten my emails regarding the 2008 SBOA audit on Council that said they had to get the SCU account back from the Prosecutor’s office- that by law it had to be handled by the Auditor. ( It was in prosecutor’s special checking account from October 2008 thru June 2009.)
She and Gay said I should get the information from the Prosecutor.
I told them that I wanted LEGAL financial records and those aren’t legal. By state law the disbursements and approvals in the county are handled by the treasurer, auditor, and Board of Commissioners, per the SBOA. ( State Board of Accounts) The SBOA told them to get the records back to the Auditor, so that is where they should be. I also advised them that that section may be where they are having trouble finding the federal funds. They will call me when they have the records ready.

Commissioner Jeff Hughes called me back to the podium and asked me if I had a fence around my swimming pool! I told him that that question has come up before and the (woven wire) fence surrounding the farm qualified at the time the pool was built. I told him that I had a certificate of occupancy for it from the building dept. I also told him that our insurance company was not concerned at all as we are very far from adjoining neighbors. Our biggest problem is wildlife. He asked again about the permit and I told him I had the certificate of occupancy when it was completed.

You can listen for yourself...

[NOTE: Interesting…. From the timing of this, what do YOU think he was doing? It’s happened to me (and others) before- but never at public meeting and on tape. That pool is over 20 years old. I have been attending meetings for 15 years. Today, after requesting Special Crimes Unit records, Hughes says someone asked him about my pool fence and he wanted to know.
This is why citizens are afraid to ask public questions or try to correct issues. Many people have been afraid that repercussions would fall on their family or children as a result of speaking out. This should not happen in the United States of America.]

Meeting adjourned at 10:40AM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Monday, June 14, 2010


This editorial by Chet Wolgamot, Manchester Township, was published in the Dearborn County Register last week.


I hope Register Publications demonstrates more prudence in the future and refuses letters such as Donna Hartman’s example of vitriol and innuendo, “Hatch Act allegations just another Thompson attempt to run county”, June 1, Journal-Press.

Hartman accuses Commissioner Ralph Thompson of “irrationally” upending projects, processes and progress, springing “allegations”, attempting “to run Dearborn County according to his own whims”, having “no regard to protocol”, “common sense”, “courtesy” and “decency”, “micromanaging”, “bullying”, “intimidating”, “ambushing and derailing”, “creating chaos and controversy” and “thrive[ing] on the chaos he creates”. Thompson also “shockingly spews streams of hateful remarks and outright lies” about those he “despises”, shows “contempt for others [and] is outrageously disrespectful”. He “maligns and blind-sides well intentioned people”, has an “unusual appetite for power and vindictiveness” and “unleashes bizarre scenarios”.

Hartman makes no attempt to validate her statements, only citing that; “everyone involved knows”, and it is “well known” by “many”. She fails to cite even one substantiating event. Well, I guess………. “everyone involved knows”.

If you’re going to accuse someone of being the devil incarnate, it would better serve your purpose to include at least a supporting fact or two? And if you’re an editor you should demand same before publishing a slanderous level of unsubstantiated disparagement?

The only real event mentioned by Hartmann is County Commissioner’s Attorney Michael Witte’s discovery and legally mandated disclosure of a perceived federal law violation that involves two county employees, Bryan Messmore and Shane McHenry. No linkage to her subject of scorn, Thompson, is provided, other than he (and at least one other commissioner), as part of their legally prescribed annual duties, chose respected ex-judge Michael Witte as their attorney and decided the County Administrator position as then held by Brian Messmore wasn’t an efficient use of taxpayer funds. That we’ve suffered no noticeable administrative failures since then seems to support the fiscal wisdom of their decision.

Register Publications should have aided it’s readership with a sidebar explanation that Donna Hartman, aka Mrs. Jim Scott, is involved with the PAWS organization and there has been considerable friction between that group and Thompson over the desired opulence of a future animal shelter and it’s staffing expense. Hartman’s scorn may revolve more around Thompson’s resistance to an extravagant level of taxpayer funded accommodations for stray dogs and cats than elephants in rooms.

Chet Wolgamot
Manchester Township

Thursday, June 10, 2010

DRAFT Agenda June 15 (9 AM) Commissioners Meeting

June 15, 2010
9:00 a.m.
City of Lawrenceburg
Administration Building
230 Walnut Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana



1. Tucker Development – Jeff Tucker
2. DCRSD Board appointment
3. GIS – Margaret Minzner (continued from last mtg)
a) Updates
b) Lake Dill Dear Grant Application

1. Life Time Resources – Julie Schafer
2011 Funding Request

2. CCI Construction Manager – Eric Wolf

3. Gary Collins/Cathy Albert – Collier Ridge Bridge


VI. AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington
1. Claims/Minutes
2. Bond paperwork for signatures
3. Resolution signature for service fee collected through the tax sales process




X. COMMISSIONER – Tom Orschell

XI. COMMISSIONER – Ralph Thompson, Jr.




Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Request for public records from the Auditors Office and payroll dept.

7 June 2010

To:Gayle Pennington Dearborn County Auditor
From: Christine Brauer Mueller, 18203 Pribble Road Lawrenceburg IN 47025

Request for public records from the Auditors Office and payroll dept.

1. I would like a copy of payroll claims records for Shane McHenry and Michael Kreinhop showing the relationship with Special Crimes Unit pay hours and the relationship to the SCU federal grants. Please reference records from Jan 1, 2009 thru June 1, 2010.

2. lf there is a printout that shows what the SCU federal grants are paid TO, I would like a copy of that.

3. I would also like a copy of the list of all federal grants paid to the county. (The list that is used for SBOA)

Thank you.

Christine Brauer Mueller

Monday, June 07, 2010

Another Candidate Referred to the OSC for Possible Hatch Act Violation

Note: The author makes reference to a posting on this site with some reservations as to it's accuracy. The images to the right are included to establish the accuracy of earlier postings on this web log. They were extracted from the flyer for the Lincoln day event which contained the ad at the bottom of the image. This image has been altered for inclusion within the available space - original scan image available on request.

June 4, 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: Dearborn County, Indiana/Hatch Act

Dear Ms. Martorana:

As a casual observer, it has come to my attention that G. Michael Witte, County Attorney for the Dearborn County Board of Commissioners, overlooked another potential violation of the Hatch Act. Mr. Witte’s self reporting letter failed to notify the U.S. Office of Special Counsel that Dearborn County Sheriff candidate, Mike Kreinhop, may also be in violation of the Hatch Act.

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

I. 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: Mike Kreinhop, (now) Former Detective for Dearborn-Ohio Counties Prosecutor’s Office Special Crimes Unit

Mr. Witte’s May 17, 2010 letter to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel laid out the following about Dearborn County Commissioner candidate, Shane McHenry:

“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.”

The website of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel ( states the following:

If my candidacy is found to be in violation of the Hatch Act, can I relinquish the duties that cause me to be covered by the Hatch Act, and thus negate my violation?
Answer: No. A person is in violation of the Hatch Act when, at the time he engaged in prohibited conduct, he was covered by the Hatch Act. It has been held that candidacy begins when preliminary steps are taken to establish a candidacy, not just when a formal announcement is made. For example, canvassing voters, polling for name recognition, or meeting with campaign managers are preliminary steps taken that would be viewed as candidacy for purposes of the Hatch Act (even if a formal candidacy is not declared). If such steps are taken by someone who is covered by the Hatch Act, a violation of the Act will have occurred. A change in duties at a later time will not negate the already existing violation.
Though it appears that Mike Kreinhop resigned from his position with the SCU prior to registering to run for Dearborn County Sheriff, Mr. Kreinhop began campaigning for his election bid long before his resignation from the SCU. On March 12, 2009, the Dearborn County Public Blog posted the program information from the February 27, 2009, “Lincoln Day Dinner” which was hosted by the Dearborn County Republican Party. Appearing under the section titled “Other ads attached” were a series of advertisements from businesses and politicians including an ad stating, “Mike Kreinhop, Investigator Special Crimes Unit- for Sheriff.” [See]

I am not a lawyer nor am I versed in legislation pertaining to the Hatch Act but G. Michael Witte made the argument that members of the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit are subject to the Hatch Act. Although Mr. Kreinhop may not have been a member of the SCU when he officially registered as a candidate for Dearborn County Sheriff, Mr. Kreinhop used his position with the SCU in advertising for his election bid prior to his resignation. As of October 8, 2009, Mike Kreinhop still identified himself as a detective with the Dearborn County Special Crimes Unit [Go to the following link for more information on the timeframe of Mike Kreinhop’s role with the SCU].

It concerns me as to why County Attorney G. Michael Witte failed to include Mike Kreinhop in his letter to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel especially as it appears that Mr. Witte unilaterally decided to take this action before informing the members of the Dearborn County Board of Commissioners about the situation. I question how and when Mr. Witte discovered the alleged violations of the Hatch Act and what motivated Mr. Witte to express his concerns. The minutes from the May 17, 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners’ meeting [See] indicate that Mr. Witte felt that Brian Messmore was in violation of the Hatch Act but failed to report it until Mr. Witte felt that Mr. McHenry violated the act as well. It is worthy to note that Mr. McHenry endorsed Mr. Witte’s opponent during Mr. Witte’s failed attempt to retain his position as Dearborn Superior Court Judge in the 2008 election. Mr. Witte even made the argument that Shane McHenry “is viewed by many as the lead detective for the unit.” As a lawyer and someone who has served multiple terms as a judge in the Dearborn Superior Court, Mr. Witte is fully aware that his opinion about the public’s perception of Mr. McHenry’s “perceived” role with the SCU is irrelevant if Mr. McHenry never claimed to be the “lead detective for the unit.” Mr. Witte’s statements suggest that Mr. Witte was not just notifying the OSC about a potential Hatch violation, but Mr. Witte was attempting to build a case against Shane McHenry by including irrelevant information about Mr. Witte’s perception of what public perception may be. As “reasonable minds” may believe Mr. Witte’s actions may be self-serving and/or give the appearance of retaliation against Mr. McHenry, I am forwarding a copy of this letter to the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Please note that a portion of the above information is based on the assumption that the information maintained by the administrator of the Dearborn County Public Forum is accurate. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Daniel P. Brewington

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

1 June 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

1 June 2010 Dearborn County Commissioners Meeting Notes

Present: Ralph Thompson, President, Tom Orschell, and Jeff Hughes
Also present: Gayle Pennington, Auditor, and Jack Gay, Attorney. Witte resigned effective today (not June 7 as he previously stated) due to increased work requirements preparing for his new position in INDY.

Allen Goodman, County GOP Chair was present. Register Publications also covered this meeting.

Corporate Cost Solutions- Frank Colavita- met with Thompson and Bill Ewbank a couple months ago and left material regarding their services. They typically find errors in their audits of carriers and benefits. They do 5 years- 2 past 1 current and 2 future. Carriers will send their corrections to the county. The fee for this service is 50% of what they save us. They serve 3 counties in Indiana now. Commissioners decided to engage Corporate Cost Solutions for their services. Contract signed.

Life Time Resources- Heidi Davies- grant signatures for Home repair grant of $157,970 approved in Dec 2009. Commissioners signed the document. Bill Ewbank presented the Catch a Ride annual audit statement. Commissioners signed the memorandum of understanding with them.

Tucker Development- Jeff Tucker- informed commissioners that family emergency occurred and he would be unable to attend tonight. Tabled again. [NOTE: Tucker seems to be stalling on addressing his issues with roads and bonds in his subdivisions. Commissioners may have to call the bonds or require their early renewal because of lack of time to address issues.]


County Attorney appointment- Hughes stated his support for Jack Gay and motioned with Orschell 2nd to appoint Jack Gay to fill the remainder of the year. Approved.

GIS Margaret Minzner- updates included the letter sent to Sidwell to get road ROW and parcel updates completed. Sidwell wants to work with us and doesn’t want bad business. $24,000 owed still out of $400,000. The land use layer was to be delivered in mid-May. The QC (quality control) process shows accuracy is appropriate. If they get it all settled- they will do the mapping website set-up. Thompson said to give Jack Gay copies of the letter etc. Sidwell is to provide a written response to us. No deadline set for that though.

Lake Dilldear Grant Application will need some attorney review soon. They have enough to qualify for low to moderate income parameters needed. This is to get help for DCRSD sewer fix out there. [NOTE: Can the residents afford the monthly cost of sewer once it gets installed?]

Ordinance prohibiting large trucks on Kaiser Rd- Todd Listerman stated that about 3 years ago he came to commissioners with concerns on large trucks because of narrowness of bridge by Kelsey intersection and tight curve. They posted signage at Pribble and Kaiser regarding this. There is no official ordinance on this. Want one done so that sheriff’s officers can enforce this. The cost to truck companies has been large for damage to county property and also for towing and getting the trucks out. Two weeks ago there was another incident. GPS sent the trucker that way. Tickets go against their CDL license. Hoping word of mouth gets truckers to avoid it to avoid tickets. Hughes voted Nay for the ordinance- but it passed with two other commissioners voting aye.

Appraisals for Hoosier Square Property -$1,000 and $2100 for each of 2 appraisal companies approved. [NOTE: Commissioners are looking to purchase the building to help acquire needed office space for the courthouse.]

Building Commissioner appointment- Carl Fryman took position with Lawrenceburg. Bill Shelton has been filling in. Shelton was approved as Building Commissioner with Hughes motion and Orschell 2nd.

Highway Dept- Todd Listerman, Transportation Director, gave a 12 minute report:

Contract for change order for ITS system on I-275 for electrical service. Previously approved change order #1 with Greendale Utilities and now change order #2 for $639.34 for Duke energy for other location at I-275 and US 50. This will be reimbursed by federal gov’t. Approved and signed.

Approached for a sign for a deaf child on Justis Drive. Horn blowing has no effect. Wants attorney to develop a policy to be used in these cases. Approved.

Will be out Wed and Thurs for conference in Indy.

Hughes wants Listerman to explain striping and signage rules to a resident who called in. IC says rural roads are 55mph unless there is a traffic study lowering that. Upgrading signs in county to meet federal requirement by 2018. Doing a program to replace them incrementally to meet that. To get stimulus money you have to have these reflective signs.

Second intern started today to help finish sign inventory and help replace ones needed.

Council gave funding for 3000 vpd roads for striping.

Council gave funding for the 2 dump trucks and increased aggregates. They funded the purchase of millings. They funded Guilford paving along with Yorkridge.

They received funding for the RR crossing signs etc. Over $9,000 funded for this.

Listerman will be absent for next meeting due to vacation.

Chips seal is going on North Dearborn and North Hogan thru state stimulus funds. O’Mara was awarded contract on this.

State emailed that info on salt bids will be available on June 4.

Grant for salt facility on Randall approved.

Auditor – Gayle Pennington- claims approved and some minutes approved. Some tabled as Hughes hadn’t reviewed.

Attorney- Jack Gay- has ”nothing to report in his first 32 minutes of service…”

County Coordinator- Bill Ewbank- Wireless account savings with Verizon- can get a reduction in 31,000 pooled minutes and only using 17,000. Reduced it to 21,000. Net saving of $5,113 per year, with no change in actual service and 25% cushion in pooled minutes.

Courthouse Preservation Report Signature- put together by Eric Hartman and Bill Ewbank. This report is a single page questionnaire that requires one signature. Approved to sign. The Courthouse is in good shape.

David Enzweiler resigned May 10 from DCRSD and replacement needs to be a citizen of southern half of county to fill to the end of this year. Tabled to find a candidate.

Heart House request- wanted to apply for a grant for emergency housing- same as last year. Approved support signature for them to seek this.

Jeff Hughes- some road blocks set up in Bright for charity- by people who aren’t even from the county. Tabled for att’y to review request from township trustees.

Late Arrival Information- none

Public Comment: [Note: Public Comment time was not allowed at commissioner meetings when Fox and Hughes began in office in 2005. Commissioner Thompson tried to get it reinstated in 2007 and they voted it down. Thompson got another vote from newly elected Commissioner Orschell in Jan 2009 to reinstate it.]

Cathy Pierat (sp?) – from Aurora – complained about Witte not speaking to her regarding her son Shane McHenry in the parking lot after the last commissioner’s meeting. She said he would not roll down his window and put up his hand to block his view of her. She said they were friends and she was disappointed that he would not listen. [NOTE: Citizens often misunderstand the role of county attorney- he works for the commissioners and is not there to answer questions from the public, unless the commissioners direct him to do that. Obviously that couldn’t happen in the parking lot. Witte avoided all perceptions of impropriety.]

Aaron Negangard- I am here on behalf of MY employee, Bryan Messmore, who was accused by county attorney. Negangard stressed that Messmore worked for him. Wanted to know why he was not notified as his employee was involved. Negangard repeatedly asked the same questions to Commissioner Ralph Thompson, who finally said that he’d already answered that question. Negangard proceeded as if he was in court and commissioners were on the witness stand. He said that he was asking the question several times, because sometimes answers change. [ Note: Badgering the witness? Are we in court?] The upshot was that Negangard wanted to know when and what commissioners knew about the Hatch Act violations.

Thompson said that on the advice of the attorney he would not address an ongoing investigation.

Negangard wanted to know what investigation and what attorney- the former county attorney, Witte? Thompson said Yes. Thompson also indicated the investigation was the OSC investigation of Witte’s letter on Hatch Act violations. Negangard asked if Jack Gay advised that. Thompson said no- not in his first 30 or so minutes as attorney. [Note: Gay was just appointed tonight. He was present to stand in for Witte who had resigned effective June 1.]

Negangard said that Messmore was called by the OSC and that he is NOT in violation of the Hatch Act. A formal letter will follow. [NOTE: OBJECTION, your Honor, Hearsay! Let’s see- OSC calls Messmore, who tells Negangard, who tells the commissioners… isn’t that hearsay? We need to see the official letter. Negangard conspicuously avoided any mention of Shane McHenry. He also did not address whether Messmore can run in 2012 if he still works as Victim’s Advocate. He did not state the basis for the lack of violation. Was it because he was appointed and not elected? Was it because he was considered under the judicial branch and not executive/administrative? Perhaps the formal letter will address this. It would be useful to know that for future reference.]

Negangard then asked each commissioner individually to commit to telling him when there was any problem with his staff. They agreed.

[NOTE: The Hatch Act has whistleblower protection. Complaints can be made anonymously. Witte could have used that and avoided all this diatribe against him. He chose to release it publicly. Perhaps his years on the bench have taught him that people need to be forced to change. Private conversations won’t get the job done. We have a problem with what sometimes is referred to as “double dipping” (getting paid for one county job and also holding county office and getting paid for that) and “conflicts of interest” in this county. People don’t change when they see the light- they change when they feel the heat. Putting it out for the public- forces us to figure out what we are doing wrong and fix it. Humans don’t always do the right thing- particularly when it conflicts with self- interest. Public scrutiny helps keep us all in line. That’s why we have “sunshine laws” or “open door laws.” After 15 years of attending county government meetings, I think I understand why Witte chose to report his allegations the way he did. In some ways, he did the county citizens a favor. Now are we going to heed the warning or not?]

Shane McHenry- said he was clueless as to how the media knew “something good was going to happen” at the last commissioners meeting. He said Mrs. Mueller said that. He wanted commissioners to state who told the media. Commissioners did not know who told the media. McHenry said that ‘someone in this room knows.” [NOTE: McHenry has apparently received no word from the OSC yet on his alleged Hatch Act issues.]

CommissionerTom Orschell said that business will continue as usual- at end of the day “Hatch Gate” will have little effect on the day to day workings of the county. He essentially encouraged people to get back to working for the people.

Paul Messmore- introduced himself as Bryan’s father and said he warned them about Witte- why’d he get beat so bad when he ran for judge. Nobody likes him. Messmore tried to get Orschell to state that he had warned him about Witte, but Orschell said he didn’t remember that. [Note: Bryan Messmore was not present. Seems like both Messmore and McHenry have a parent to fight their battles for them. Adult children usually prefer to fight their own battles publicly. Parents need to respect their adult children and step back. These two men are running for or holding two of the highest public offices in the county. What’s with the Mom and Dad protection routine?]

Meeting adjourned at 8:10PM

Christine Brauer Mueller
Lawrenceburg Township

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

DRAFT Agenda June 1 Commissioners Meeting



June 1, 2010

7:00 p.m.

Administration Building

215B West High Street, Lawrenceburg, Indiana



1. Corporate Cost Solutions – Frank Colavita (tabled from 4/6/10)

2. Life Time Resources – Heidi Davies

Grant signatures for grant approved in Dec. 2009

3. Tucker Development – Jeff Tucker

1. County Attorney Appointment

2. GIS – Margaret Minzner

a) Updates

b) Lake Dill Dear Grant Application

3. Ordinance prohibited large trucks on Kaiser Rd.

4. Appraisals for Hoosier Square Property

5. Building Commissioner Appointment

1. Updates

AUDITOR – Gayle Pennington
1. Claims/Minutes


1. Wireless Account Savings

2. Court House Preservation Report signature



COMMISSIONER – Ralph Thompson, Jr.