David Thomas will watch Executive Branch
Clay County Prosecutor David Thomas was named to a new post created by governor-elect Mitch Dan-iels this morning.
Thomas will be the state's new Inspector General.
"I will be investigating the Executive Branch (of state government) for inefficiency and criminal activity," Thomas told The Times in an exclusive interview.
Thomas does not expect to find wrongdoing, but "We will be looking at the various branches of state government. However, the Judicial and Legislative Branches are exempt because they have their own (means of internal investigation)," he said.
Daniels thought the Inspector General office would be good for Indiana after seeing how the Federal government operated while he worked for President Ronald Reagan and for George W. Bush.
Daniels joined the Reagan Administration as deputy assistant for intergovernmental affairs before being named President Reagan's chief political adviser and liaison to state and local officials in August 1985. When George W. Bush became president in 2001, Daniels returned to Washington to serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Daniels also learned that nine other states have created similar positions and decided that Indiana could benefit from such an investigator's office as well.
The announcement was made at 10 a.m. this morning at the Firefighters Union Hall in Indianapolis.
Thomas did not know this morning exactly when he will begin his new duties. That is up to the new governor after he takes office. At some point in 2005 he will resign as the Clay County Prosecutor, he said.
While Thomas is proud to have been chosen by Daniels, he finds it hard to end his public service as the Clay County Prosecutor.
"It's been a great honor serving the people in Clay County," Thomas said. "But it is a great opportunity to serve the people of Indiana, as well."
After Thomas resigns as the county proseutor, Clay County Republican precinct committeemen will caucus to name a replacement.
Thomas hopes Bob Pell, his chief deputy prosecutor, will be his successor.
"My support will be for Robert Pell; I think that would make a smooth transition," he said. "I have full confidence in his abilities."
Thomas's family is happy for him.
"My wife is very supportive," he said. "We have discussed this in great detail. I am very fortunate that she is my best friend as well as my spouse. We feel this is the best move for our family and for each other."
David and Lea Ann Thomas have been married 19 years. They both graduated from Indiana University. Lea Ann has a degree in Chemistry.
David graduated from Brazil High School in 1979, received his Bachelor's degree from IU in 1984 and graduated from law school in 1987. At that time, the couple returned to Clay County where David began practicing law with his father, Amos, and uncle, John, at Thomas & Thomas, 33 W. National Ave. A brother, Andy, is an attorney and in his second term as the District 44 State Representative. John Thomas is a former state representative, who held the same seat.
David and Lea Ann have three children. The family will continue to live in Clay County. Lea Ann will continue in her role as Clay County CASA and Host Home Director.
David offered "great thanks" to his parents and Clay County school teachers on the occasion of his appointment.