News From Terre Haute, Indiana

News

September 11, 2013

Judge panel rules against Seelyville official

TERRE HAUTE — A panel of five Vigo County judges has ruled that Seelyville’s clerk-treasurer is not entitled to be paid a salary as office manager of the town’s sewer and water utilities in addition to the clerk-treasurer’s pay.

In March 2012, Connie Hinsenkamp, Seelyville’s clerk-treasurer, filed a lawsuit against the town’s council, claiming it had overreached its authority in a separation of powers for elected officials.

In the lawsuit, Hinsenkamp states she receives $16,636 a year as clerk-treasurer and claimed she should also be paid an additional $31,559 as compensation that had been paid to the former clerk-treasurer, plus health insurance and 12 days of vacation.

Hinsenkamp has been paying herself compensation since taking office in January 2012. A dispute over that arose with the town council in February 2012, and Hinsenkamp filed a lawsuit a month later.

In an Aug. 28 ruling, signed by judges John T. Roach, David R. Bolk, Phillip I. Adler, Michael J. Lewis and Chris A. Newton, the court stated “that the duties of the office manager for the Seelyville municipal sewer and water departments are not the duties of an elected town officer and the person who holds the elected clerk-treasurer’s office is not entitled to be paid the money allocated by the town council in its salary ordinance for that position and therefore petitioner [Hinsenkamp] is not entitled to that sum set out in the salary ordinance for that position of office manager as compensation.”

The judicial panel was requested by Chou-il Lee, attorney for Hinsenkamp.

“This ruling means the town will no longer be paying an individual for two jobs when they are only doing one,” said Richard Shagley II, the town council’s attorney.

Asked if Hinsenkamp would have to refund any salary money, Shagley said “that has not yet been determined.”

Attorney Lee, reached Tuesday evening, said he had spoken with Hinsenkamp and “we are going to appeal.” An appeal was likely in this matter regardless of the outcome at this level, he added.

“This is a case of first impression, so there are no cases that speak to this. When you are dealing with cases of first impression, to find out what the answer really is, you take it up to the next level,” Lee said.

Hinsenkamp, reached later in the evening following a Seelyville Town Council meeting, said she had no comment at this time.

As to Hinsenkamp’s contention she has the right to control billing and collections in the utility department and the right to be paid the salary of the utility office manager, the court ruled whether Hinsenkamp is responsible for the billing and collection of two utilities is not relevant to the issue of who gets the pay of the utility office manager.

The responsibility for billing and collections has historically, for more than 44 years, been that of an employee of the town council, not the clerk-treasurer, the judges ruled.

“While the title previously used was utility bookkeeper, it was changed to utility office manager in 2004. But the functions were the same,” the court ruled. Hinsenkamp, the court ruled, “does not have the responsibility for billing and collection of sewer and water bills in Seelyville.”

When the dispute arose in February 2012, the town council took action, making it clear the duty to bill and collect for water and sewer utilities were not duties of the clerk-treasurer. The council voted unanimously and adopted a document on Feb. 14 stating that the clerk-treasurer was not responsible for billing and collections in the utility departments.

On participating in a group insurance plan provided by the town, the judicial panel ruled Hinsenkamp is entitled to the insurance as an elected official as of Jan. 1, 2012, and is deemed an employee by law for purposes of group insurance.

“The town must allow the clerk treasurer to participate like any other employee of the town in any group insurance plan provided by the town to its employees,” the court ruled.

The court also ruled that a prior practice of approving claims after the public part of the town council meeting had been adjourned did not violate the referenced statutes because at least two of the three council persons approved the claims, which constitutes a quorum and a meeting of the legislative body.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com. Reporter Arthur Foulkes contributed to this report.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
News
Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Airstrike Shatters Fragile Calm in Gaza Fox Dons 'Bondage Strap' Skirt at Comic-Con Raw: Violent Clashes Between Libyan Militias Today in History for July 28th Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US
NDN Video
'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth Bradley Cooper Explains His Voice in 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity
Real Estate News