Q&A: Fire chief wants to be trustee too


From the Ellettsville Journal:

Q: A township trustee passed away a few days ago. One of the interested parties in replacing him is the fire chief. Can he be trustee without resigning as fire chief? It seems it might be a conflict since our township contracts with the town for the fire department, purchased new fire trucks for them, etc.

A: If the fire chief for the volunteer fire department becomes the township trustee, the question of a conflict of interest under Indiana law might arise if the fire chief is paid by the volunteer fire department because the contract would lead to a monetary benefit for the fire chief.

That doesn’t mean the fire chief can’t hold the trustee position and even vote on a contract (if the trustee has a vote) with the volunteer fire department, as long as he/she files a conflict of interest disclosure statement prior to the vote with the advisory board at a public meeting and with the county clerk and state board of accounts after the vote.

See IC 35-44-1-3.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.