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Public integrity and the confidence citizens have in their government is the cornerstone of our democracy. Preserving that confidence and reducing acts of public corruption is the responsibility of everyone serving in government, both local and state.
To elevate the efforts of those responsible for overseeing this singularly important task, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has formed the “Public Integrity Coalition.” This broad coalition of partner agencies and officials will reach out to officials throughout local and state government to educate and inform on the issues of public corruption. This unique unit is not a separate agency, but rather a sustained and organized effort by the various agencies that currently have jurisdictional authority to identify and prosecute corruption, both criminally and civilly, with the purpose of ultimately lowering the number of instances of corruption at all levels of government.
Report a concern to the State Board of Accounts and the Attorney General's Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Public Integrity Coalition gathers information from members on potential legislative changes that could help produce better checks and balances in order to prevent fraud and legislative changes that would enable better and more professional management of practices within offices. The below laws are a reflection of those recommendations.
SENATE BILL 394: WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS.
To encourage public servants within government to contact authorities and confidentially report suspected misappropriation others commit, the bill would protect whistleblowers against job retaliation. If terminated, demoted or discriminated against, the whistleblower who exposed misappropriation could obtain civil relief, including reinstatement, double back pay and attorneys’ fees.
Bill Status: Assigned to Senate Judiciary Committee; passed committee 9-0 on Feb. 11; approved 50-0 on third reading in the full Senate on Feb. 17. Advanced to Indiana House; assigned to House Committee on Government and Regulatory Reform. Approved on third reading 97-0 on March 31, returned to Senate without amendments. Bill signed into law by Governor on April 23.
SENATE BILL 393: PUBLIC OFFICIAL SURETY BONDS.
Bonds and Insurance Coverage. Elected officials already must obtain $30,000 surety bonds, which serve as a type of insurance policy against employee theft. If an audit discovers misappropriation, bonds can be redeemed to reimburse the public treasury for the loss. Under the coalition proposal, any employee in a public office or school corporation who handles public money, including clerical personnel, would also have to be covered either by a bond or a crime insurance policy. Like an insurance premium, the cost of a bond is usually a fraction of the face value of the bond.
Searchable bonds. Officials’ bonds now are filed at local county recorder’s offices, but to improve transparency, the bill would require that copies of bonds also be filed with State Board of Accounts. The public then could more easily search bond records to see if an official is indeed bonded as required and thus determine if the elected office has coverage for lost funds.Better chance of full recovery, earlier. So that full reimbursement of misappropriated amounts is possible, the bill would clarify the annual and per-term bond coverage that public officials need to have in place: $30,000 a year for each year the official is in office.
Bill Status: Assigned to Senate Local Government Committee, approved 8-0 in committee, Jan. 21, moved to full Senate, approved 49-1 by Senate on Jan. 27. Advanced to Indiana House; assigned to House Committee on Local Government. Approved in committee 9-0 on March 12, advanced to full Indiana House, approved 97-0 on third reading in House; returned to Senate with amendments. Senate concurred on House amendments 47-1 on April 7. Bill signed into law by Governor on May 7.
SENATE BILL 514: CLERK-TREASURER VACANCIES.
In case of a vacancy in the office of town clerk-treasurer – the elected official who handles public money in town governments -- it might be difficult for a small municipality to find a local resident qualified and willing to be appointed to serve out the term. The bill would solve that by allowing the town to sign an interlocal agreement with another town to utilize the services of their clerk-treasurer temporarily, until the next election, or to contract with a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to fill the vacancy on an interim basis until a new clerk-treasurer is elected.
Bill Status: Assigned to Senate Local Government Committee, approved 6-0 in committee Jan. 28; moved to full Senate, approved 41-7 on third reading in full Senate on Feb. 5. Advanced to Indiana House; assigned to House Committee on Local Government, approved in committee 12-0 on April 2, advanced to full Indiana House, passed on third reading 95-0 on April 9 , returned to the Senate without amendments. Bill signed into law by Governor on May 4.
Greg Zoeller, Attorney General
Suzanne Crouch, Auditor of State
Connie Lawson, Secretary of State
Paul Joyce, State Examiner
David Capp, US Attorney General, Northern District
Matt Greller, Executive Director, Indiana Association of Cities and Towns
Jeff Quyle, President, Assoc. of Indiana Counties
Calvin Bellamy, Chairman, Shared Ethics Advisory Commission
Greg Wright, President, Assoc. of Certified Fraud Examiners
Ed Charbonneau, Senator - 5th District, Indiana Senate, Valparaiso
Kathy Parsons, Clerk - Treasurer of Fremont, League of Municipal Clerk Treasurers
Paula Lantz, White County Clerk, Clerks of the Court
Andy Cook, Mayor of Westfield, Central Indiana Council of Elected Officials
Randy Strasser, Mayor of Delphi, Conference of Mayors
Adam Stone, Controllers Association
Mike McBride, City Engineers
Jennifer Whitaker, HR Director, Municipal Personnel Administrators (IMPACT)
Lisa Abbott, Redevelopment Assoc. of Indiana
Judy Sharp, Monroe County Assessor, County Assessors Association
Denny Costerison, Executive Director, Assoc. of School Business Officials
Debbie Driskell, Assoc. of Township Trustees
Pete Olson, Yorktown Town Manager, Municipal Management Assoc.
Tom Murtaugh, Tippecanoe Commissioner, Association of County Commissioners
Jennifer Templeton, Hamilton County Treasurer, County Treasurers Assoc.