« Indiana Decisions - [Updated] One from Supreme Court, one from Tax Court today | Main | Law - Revolutionary change in New York's General Assembly »

Friday, January 07, 2005

Indiana Law - Future unclear for unbonded official

"Future unclear for unbonded official: Treasurer could be ousted without required backing" is the headline to this story today in the Richmond Palladium-Item. Some quotes:

LIBERTY, Ind. -- State officials agree county treasurers in Indiana must be bonded, but they won't say what should happen if they aren't.

Union County Treasurer Dee Thibaut still isn't covered by an official bond, even though her term began Jan. 1. Thibaut has been unable to get a bond because of a personal bankruptcy. An official bond, which is made payable to the state of Indiana, protects public funds.

The lack of a bond for an elected official who has already taken office is unusual, officials said. Attorneys at the Indiana Attorney General's office researched the bonding laws and found a case from 1911 in which a county official had an insufficient bond. That case didn't deal with the lack of a bond, said deputy press secretary Sarah Rittman.

There is a statute, Indiana code 5-4-4-1, that allows the county clerk or a voter to file an affidavit with the court in the event the security for an official bond has become insufficient. The judge of the circuit court would then be required to hold a hearing on the issue, Rittman said.

The judge could declare the office vacant if a bond isn't presented, according to the law. The Attorney General's office, though, wouldn't say that section of the law is the controlling statute in this case.

"We don't feel comfortable commenting on this case because it might come to us," Rittman said.

The Attorney General's office doesn't take enforcement action on its own, Rittman said. If the State Board of Accounts conducted an audit and found the treasurer had no bond, then it would cite the official in an audit report, she said. The audit could be forwarded to the Attorney General for action, Rittman said.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 7, 2005 03:59 PM
Posted to Indiana Law