The Howard County Election Board first postponed for 24 hours and then canceled a hearing requested by Carol Shallenberger, the Republican Party member of the Voter Registration Board.
Shallenberger requested a Wednesday special meeting of the election board because of a dispute over payroll with Democratic Party member Beth Rakestraw.
By state statute both Shallenberger and Rakestraw are required to sign the payroll vouchers.
Shallenberger refused to sign the payroll voucher because Rakestraw wrote on her time sheet that she worked Saturday on getting out the vote.
The Howard County Sheriff’s Department has started an investigation of Voter’s Registration and has requested assistance from the Indiana State Police.
At the brief Wednesday meeting, a motion was immediately made by Democratic Party Election Board member Mark Bourff to postpone the meeting.
But since the payroll issue was resolved by county officials Wednesday, Shallenberger withdrew her request for the special meeting of the Election Board.
The payroll issue, which could have prevented the six employees in the Voter Registration office from getting paid this Friday has been resolved.
County Attorney Larry Murrell advised the Howard County Auditor’s office to pay both claims, although they were not signed by both Shallenberger and Rakestraw.
“This week Carol (Shallenberger) and Beth (Rakestraw) departed from their usual procedure and submitted separate and different salary claims, which is not consistent with that statute,” Murrell wrote in an email.
“I am advising you to pay both claims so that the county does not violate federal and state wage laws which require employees to be timely paid for their work,” he wrote. “Further, this advice will apply to future payroll claims of a similar nature, until such time as underlying dispute between Carol and Beth is resolved.”
Shallenberger refused to sign the payroll voucher alleging that Rakestraw, may have committed ghost employment and misused county-owned equipment.
Shallenberger said Rakestraw performed “get-out-the-vote” activity Saturday while being paid by the county and while using county-owned property to make political calls.
The Howard County Employee Handbook prohibits the use of county property for political activity, including telephones, computers and fax machines. It also prohibits political activity during working hours.
Rakestraw and Shallenberger are appointed by the chairman of the two political parties in Howard County, under state statute.
• Ken de la Bastide is the Kokomo Tribune enterprise editor. He can be reached at 765-454-8580 or via e-mail at email@example.com.