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Legislation creating oversight for township trustees passes full House on a unanimous vote

Rep. Chris Campbell at a press conference last September (WBAA News/Ben Thorp)

The full House passed a bill Thursday aimed at providing oversight for township trustees.

The bill is one of two introduced this session in response to issues with trustees in Wabash and Fairfield Townships in Tippecanoe County, who lawmakers say have acted with little oversight or accountability.

Rep. Chris Campbell (D-West Lafayette) introduced the legislation, which closes a loophole allowing township trustees to keep defaulting to a previous year's budget without having a new one approved.

“I’m really hopeful this will actually make a big difference in the state of Indiana when it comes to our township government and making sure that the oversight that should be there is there,” she said.

Senate legislation creating a removal process for ousting trustees passed out of a committee Thursday, but Campbell said she has concerns about the approach it takes for trustee oversight. That bill would give other elected officials a pathway for removing township trustees.

“What I might consider is a recall election or something that puts the removal into the hands of voters, not other elected officials,” she said. “You leave it vulnerable to a political move rather than what your voters or constituents actually want.”

The bill passed out of the House on a 86-0 vote and now heads to the Senate.

Ben Thorp