Ken de la Bastide: Ken de la Bastide column: Politics could…

Nov. 18—It appears the political grandstanding is being shifted to the Madison County Council.

For most of the past year, there were a lot of discussions surrounding the election for the mayor of Anderson.

Rebecca Crumes, president of the Anderson City Council, was critical of Democrat Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. for much of the year.

Leading up to the May primary and up until the November election the council heard public comments regarding several issues germane to the city, including the situation with Bingham Square apartments and the homeless population.

This past week, three members of the Madison County Council were critical of Auditor Rick Gardner concerning when the 2024 budget was submitted to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

Council members Jodi Norrick, Bethany Keller and Mikeal Vaughn delayed approval of the October council meeting minutes, which resulted in an hour-long discussion concerning when the adopted budget was sent to the state.

Gardner maintained that numerous changes to the budget caused the delay and the correct budget was submitted to the state by the deadline.

During the discussion, several council members indicated the 2024 budget process was not handled well and promised changes next year.

What makes this interesting is that Norrick’s son, Devon, is running for the Republican Party nomination for Middle District Commissioner in the 2024 May primary.

Although no other candidates have declared for the nomination, speculation has been that Gardner will seek the position.

At this point, it’s unknown whether incumbent Republican Darlene Likens will seek another term.

Those dynamics became even more interesting during the council’s discussion of the salary ordinance for county employees next year.

Norrick questioned Gardner about his pay increase, which he explained several times was within the 5% pay increase approved by the council.

He explained a funding appropriation is not the same as what’s stated in the salary ordinance.

Council members are entitled to discuss and ask questions about county finances from the auditor’s office. Will those questions and discussion be aimed at furthering the campaign of announced candidates in the May primary?

But undertaking discussion for political reasons is not in the best interests of the council.

Lisa Rinker has announced she is seeking the North District Commissioner GOP nomination and incumbent John Richwine has not announced his intentions for next year.

Politics certainly appear to be in store for the next few county council meetings.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

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