Letter to the Editor

Who is responsible for enforcing this state statute?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

To the Editor:

We, as a nation, are governed by law.

As a state, we are governed by the laws passed by the Indiana General Assembly and administered by the Executive Branch lead by the Governor. When those laws are not enforced, the security, safety, and rights of the public are left unprotected. During the recent petition and remonstrance process concerning the Elementary facilities and security program, the Clay Community Schools Corp. was prohibited, by statute (IC 6-1.1-20-10), from utilizing employees during working hours, facilities, corporation funds, and even communications equipment, such as the telephone, to promote a position on the petition or remonstrance.

This probation went into affect, again by statute, the day that the notice that there would be a petition and remonstrance was published. The prohibition protects the public from government entities who would have a significant organizational, monetary and operational advantage in promoting a position decided upon by officers and employees of the government entity when the public did not agree. However, the Improve Our Schools Now ad campaign named two school corporation officials as the people in contact and gave out the telephone number of the school corporation as the method of contact. As that telephone is only answered during employees' working hours and always by an employee, it is almost certain that the law was broken. This and other possible violations were reported to state and county officials on Sept. 10. To date, apparently no action has been taken to investigate this situation or enforce the statute yet offenses against a single person often results with charges being filed the very next gay. This situation has been reported to the Governor, the State Attorney General, the State Elections Commission, the Secretary of State, the Department of Local Government Finance, State Representative Amos Thomas' office, State Senator Richard Bray's office, and the Clay County Prosecutor's office.

Responses have been received from the Department of Local Government Finance, stating that violations of the statute are felony offenses, but the DLGF is not in charge of enforcement, Sen. Bray's office, stating that they are looking into enforcement issue, and from the State Elections Commission, stating that they do not know who enforces the statute in question.

It appears that no one in government knows who has the responsibility of enforcement of a statute that the Indiana General Assembly felt was so important that it was written into law.

This petition and remonstrance is important to democracy in our area and a violation of the procedure carries the same importance as stuffing a ballot box with illegal votes would to an election. The question is, who is going to enforce the law and why don't our government officials know whom that is?

Leo Southworth,