A key part of Governor Mitch Daniels’ local government reform push is close to becoming law. A bill passed Monday by the Indiana House would prevent relatives from serving under direct supervision of each other. It would also preclude government employees from serving on their elected governing body, such as a police chief serving on the city council.
Rep. Kreg Battles (D-Vincennes) says he worries the legislation could mean the best qualified person may not get the job.
“This has the potential of automatically removing the most educated, the most well-trained with the most experience simply because in some way or another they may be a relative,” Battles says.
And Battles says voters should be able to decide whether to elect a candidate who may have a conflict of interest. But Rep. Ralph Foley (R-Martinsville) says voters often don’t know enough about local elections to make those decisions:
“It’s not because of a lack of faith in democracy,” Foley says. “It’s because it’s below the radar of democracy.”
An identical bill passed the Senate last week, meaning its final passage through the Indiana General Assembly is likely.