Lindauer’s Appointment “Invalid” – Now There Are Four Vacancies

Jasper (NNDC) – The attorney for the Dubois County Council says the governing body’s appointment of Shane Lindauer back in January to the Dubois County Park Board is an “invalid appointment,” meaning, there is now a fourth vacancy on the park board.

The county council voted 4-1 to replace long-time park board member and board president Jason Schmitt (not Nathan as first reported) with Lindauer, a former member of the County Council.

The council’s vote to replace Schmitt prompted the resignation of three other longtime park board members; Al Milhajlovits, Gerald Terwiske and Jim Hubers.  The three like Schmitt have served on the park board for more than 20 years.

The three resigned saying they felt Lindauer’s appointment was merely “political.”

Today (Tuesday), the county council’s attorney Art Nordhoff of Jasper told NNDC, “My position is the board could not appoint a second member to the park board who was a Republican.”

The county council does not have to formally remove Lindauer from the park board.  According to Nordhoff, Lindauer’s appointment is “invalid” meaning the seat on the Park Board is currently “void.”

Back in January, the county council’s vote to replace Schmitt with Lindauer was 4-1.  Becky Beckman, one of only two Democrats on the Council Council, voted to retain Schmitt.  The council’s other Democrat, Craig Gruelich, is a cousin of Lindauer’s, and did not vote.

The four who voted for Lindauer are all Republicans as is Lindauer.  Schmitt is a Democrat.  His father Bill, is former Jasper Mayor Bill Schmitt.

Park board members are appointed… two by the Dubois County Council but both cannot be of the same political affiliation (party).  Two are appointed by the county’s circuit court judge (though in recent years, the council has allowed both the circuit court judge and the superior court judge to make those appointments) and they too cannot be of the same political party.  The fifth is appointed by the county commission.

County council president Jerry Hunefeld said last week there was some confusion on how members of the local park board were appointed and over the state statue that is supposed to ensure the park board’s non-partisanship.

He referred the matter to Nordhoff after the county council appointed Lindauer, who was also made the park board’s president.

The resignations of Milhajlovits, Terwiske, and Hubers were made official during the park board’s meeting a week ago today.

Jane Betz, the only remaining member of the park board is a Republican who was appointed by the county council meaning the council, by state statue according to Nordhoff, should have appointed someone who is a registered Democrat back in January.

Terwiske did not know of Nordhoff’s legal opinion until he was contacted by NNDC at his home in Dubois Tuesday afternoon.

Terwiske says Nordhoff’s opinion will not change his mind about his resignation which will become official at the end of April.  He’s been wanting to step away from the board for some time now.

Its not known if Milhajlovits and Hubers will ask that their resignations be rescinded.

The county council is scheduled to meet April 24th, but can meet prior to that with 24 hours notice to the public.

People wanting to be considered for the park board can contact any member of the Dubois County Council.  They can also contact Dubois Circuit Court Judge Nathan Verkamp’s office or Dubois County Auditor Kathy Hopf on behalf of the council commissioners.

The next meeting of the Dubois County Park Board is in July.

 

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