News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 6, 2012

Two with Terre Haute ties key in Pence administration

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Two people with ties to Terre Haute have been appointed to key positions in the administration of Gov.-elect Mike Pence.

Mike Alley, who is on a leave of absence from the Indiana State University board of trustees, will continue as commissioner of the Indiana Department of Revenue once Pence assumes office.

Also, Terre Haute native Heather Neal will serve as Pence’s legislative director. She is a graduate of Terre Haute North Vigo High School.

Pence has announced several appointments to his administration this week.

At the request of Gov. Mitch Daniels, Alley began serving as commissioner of the state revenue department in May. At that time, he was asked to lead a state department hit by revelations that millions of dollars hadn’t been properly routed within state accounts.

At the time of the appointment, Alley had been ISU board of trustee president. Since then, Alley has taken a leave of absence and has been an unpaid adviser to ISU trustees. He is an ISU graduate and member of the ISU Foundation board.

In an April interview, Alley stated the Department of Revenue appointment was temporary and expected to conclude at year’s end, with the election of a new governor.

Now, Pence wants to keep him in that role, and Alley has agreed.

 “I feel we’ve made good progress dealing with issues confronting the Department of Revenue,” Alley said in a telephone interview Wednesday. He wants to continue working on those improvements.

“I’m deeply committed and feel I owe it to the state and the team I have at the Department of Revenue,” Alley said. The department has worked hard to address problems and “we need to keep going.”  

The department has strengthened its leadership team in finance and technology, he said. It has implemented some additional internal controls and process improvements to keep problems from happening and to find errors soon after they occur.

The department also is awaiting results of an audit by the international financial consulting firm Deloitte. Alley appeared before the state budget committee Wednesday to make the department’s budget request for 2014 and 2015.

As far as his role on the ISU board of trustees, Alley indicated he would like to continue as an unpaid adviser, but he will defer to the wishes of trustees.

In a news release, Pence stated that Alley has decades of management experience in the banking industry, serving as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank of Central Indiana; interim chairman and CEO of Integra Bank Corp. in Evansville; and as a small business owner of two operating companies.

 Alley resides in Carmel.

“Mike Alley has extensive experience in the financial world, which he has used to assist the people of Indiana through his role at the [Department of Revenue],”  Pence said. “We are honored to have an individual of his expertise on our team moving forward.”

On Tuesday, Pence announced that Neal will serve as his chief legislative liaison. She still has relatives in Terre Haute, she said in a Wednesday telephone interview. “I couldn’t be more excited to be part of the governor-elect’s new team,” she said.

Neal has served as chief of staff at the Indiana Department of Education, where she directed operations of the agency, which includes 55 percent of the state’s annual budget and an additional $1 billion in federal funds.

Neal also was Gov. Daniels’ first appointee as the state’s public access counselor and served as chief of staff for Secretary of State Todd Rokita.

“Heather Neal has a distinguished record in public service. She has a proven ability to successfully lead legislative initiatives, and she will play a primary role in our efforts to bring our ‘Roadmap for Indiana’ to members of the General Assembly. We are grateful to have someone of her integrity and experience on our team,” Pence stated in a news release.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or