The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local Politics

May 8, 2014

Open Door complaint becomes moot point

Data processing, personnel boards eliminated

ANDERSON – Action by the Madison County commissioners has made a citizen complaint filed with the Indiana Public Access Counselor a moot point.

A local resident filed the complaint contending the commissioners’ decision last month to close the public meetings of the Madison County Data Processing Board was a violation of the state’s Open Door law.

On Tuesday, Commissioners Steffanie Owens and Jeff Hardin voted, without discussion, to repeal the ordinances creating the Data Processing Board and the Personnel Board. President John Richwine was not in attendance.

Last month the decision was made to close to the public the Data Processing Board’s meetings because there are discussions at times of the county’s computer security software and hardware.

Richwine said then that if a challenge was filed with the Public Access Counselor, he would support eliminating the board.

Jim Wilson, Madison County attorney, said the action eliminated the board.

He said the director of the county’s Information Technology Department and the three commissioners would make future decisions.

Wilson said the decision to eliminate the Data Processing Board was not impacted by the Open Door law complaint.

Steve Key, an attorney for the Hoosier State Press Association, said in April that since the Data Processing Board was created by an ordinance adopted by the commissioners, it was a public agency and subject to the Open Door law.

The board could have addressed security issues in an executive session, Key said.

The commissioners also repealed the ordinance adopted in 1987 and amended in 1995 that created the Personnel Board, which was to consider salary increases and changes in job descriptions.

Last month, Richwine said the Personnel Board had met only once in 9 ½ years.

Requests for a salary increase or change in job description will be presented to the Human Resources Department.

Shawn Swindell, director of human resources, will then make a recommendation to the commissioners and council.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

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