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Friday, February 03, 2017

Ind. Gov't - Clark County has trouble filling County Council seat

On Feb. 1, Elizabeth Beilman of the Jeffersonville News & Tribune reported in a long story that began:

Former State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Clark County native Tony Bennett is now a member of the Clark County Council.

Bennett was one of two Republicans caucused onto the board Wednesday evening in an unexpected move. But Bennett won't be filling the seat vacated by Mike Popplewell, who resigned amid misdemeanor charges.

Instead, Bennett will represent District 2 — and Brian Lenfert, sitting District 2 councilman, was elected to fill Popplewell's at-large seat.

"Our family's roots are in Clark County," Bennett said. "When my family and I moved back to the area, it was an opportunity I saw."

Late yesterday, however, reporter Beilman wrote:
Former Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett won't be serving on the Clark County Council after all, as he doesn't meet the residency requirements to hold office.

State law requires office holders must have lived in the district they represent for at least six months and within the county for at least a year.

The Clark County Assessor's office recorded Bennett became the owner of his Jeffersonville home Sept. 8, which doesn't even meet the six-month requirement to live within the council district. His former home in New Albany was transferred to a new owner Aug. 29.

Bennett confirmed Thursday he has only lived in Clark County about six months, having previously lived in Floyd County.

"I'm not aware of any [such law]," he told the News and Tribune when informed by the newspaper of the residency requirement. "Frankly, I would assume [Clark County GOP Chairman Jamey Noel] would know that." * * *

Attorney Larry Wilder, often hired to represent local Republicans, took fault.

"Sometimes when you have lawyers that don't read every word in a statute, they give bad advice," Wilder said. "Tony and I talked about the opening, and I spoke with [Noel] as well, and they both asked a question about eligibility to serve and quite honestly, I made a mistake."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 3, 2017 09:54 AM
Posted to Indiana Government