Court finds no issues with Harp, transition

By Dave Pearce

Chris Harp

Chris Harp

In a decision handed down late last week, Judge Carl Heldt ruled in favor of County Treasurer Justin White and Chief Deputy Chris Harp in the matter involving the position of Posey County Treasurer.
“The Posey County Republican Party is very pleased with today’s decision,” GOP Party Chairman Greg Newman said in a prepared statement. “Judge Heldt’s decision reaffirms the wishes of the voters in the November 2012 election.”
Harp, who was elected to the position of Posey County Treasurer, had difficulty securing a suggested $300,000 surety bond. Harp eventually resigned after securing a $100,000 surety bond. The Posey County Republican Party held a caucus and selected Justin White to serve in the capacity of Treasurer.
Harp, on March 6, 2013, sent a letter to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence stating she would be resigning effective March 18, 2013. That same day, Posey County citizen and chairman of the Posey County Democratic Party Ed Adams filed a Verified Complaint for Declaratory Judgment against Harp in Posey Superior Court.
Posey Superior Court Judge Brent Almon recused himself from the case and the parties agreed that Heldt would serve as a special judge in the case.
Heldt found that the county executive of Posey County is the Posey County Commissioners and Heldt also found that the county executive is required to approve the county treasurer’s surety bond before it is filed with the county recorder.
However, in Heldt’s findings, he ruled that Harp was duly elected to the position and the reason she was unable to secure the $300,000 bond was an error that appeared on her credit record, that indicated Harp had an unpaid tax liability.
On April 11, Adams filed a Second Amended Complaint for Declaratory Judgment against both Harp and White in Posey Superior Court. Adams contended that Harp’s initial bond was insufficient and therefore, never qualified and never took office. The document continued stating that Harp’s resignation was not effective because she never held the office and that therefore, White was not the duly elected Posey County Treasurer by virtue of the GOP Caucus.
Heldt also ruled that the statute requiring County Treasurers in Indiana to post a surety bond is directory and not mandatory.
Despite that fact, Heldt found that Harp was reasonably diligent in her efforts to secure a surety bond in a timely fashion. He found that she was duly elected and found no errors in the way the entire process was handled…

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