Q&A: Are town marshals public officials?


From The Banner (Knightstown):

Q: A town is preparing to interview applicants for a vacant town marshal position. A question has arisen as to the proper protocol for interviewing applicants based on whether the town marshal is considered a town employee or whether the marshal should be deemed a public official.

If just an employee, IC 5-14-1.5-6.1(b)(5) would permit the interviews to take place in executive session. However, if the marshal is a public official, section (b)(10) requires the interviews to be conducted during a public meeting.  What do you think? Employee or public official?

A: I think your answer is found in IC 5-14-1.5-6.1(a). For 6.1, public official is defined as a member of a governing body of a public agency. A town marshal isn’t part of a governing body, so the hiring process falls under what’s good for an employee. So interviews can take place in an executive session.

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