No clear legal authority yet on who is interim Fairfield Township trustee

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Friday dawned with no clear legal authority as to who is serving as Fairfield Township’s interim trustee.

An attorney for the Indiana State Board of Accounts told Tippecanoe County Clerk Julie Roush on Friday that agency is not going to “opine on who is the rightful heir of the township trustee position,” Roush said. The State Board of Accounts, however, pledged to assist the township in its transition.

The interim trustee question arose after Taletha Coles, the Democratic trustee elected in 2018, resigned Wednesday, hours before a judge was to decide if she should be removed over allegations she wasn’t doing her job and had used taxpayer money for personal purchases.

More:Battle continues over who is Fairfield Township’s interim trustee

The rightful replacement — whether that’s Township Board President Perry Schnarr or Cheryl Watkins, one of Coles’ township employees — will have a short tenure. The Democratic Party has scheduled a Nov. 12 caucus to elect a trustee to serve through Dec. 31. Election Day is Nov. 8, and Democratic candidate Monica Casanova faces Republican candidate April O’Brien for the office.

While county and township officials and employees await a legal opinion possibly from the Indiana Attorney General’s Office or an attorney from the Indiana Township Association, Schnarr and Watkins agreed Thursday to work together to serve the township residents.

“I’m all good,” Watkins said Thursday night after an emergency meeting of the township board. “I’ll look into the paper he got up there.”

Schnarr brought copies of Indiana law that bolstered his argument to be the rightful heir to the office.

“I want to make sure everything is fair,” Watkins said. “I’m going to research. I’ll work with them, but I want to make sure things are right. I don’t want them making up

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