Brownsburg Town Council member faces probe

Prosecutor appointed to look into multiple offices

BROWNSBURG, Ind. - Brownsburg Town Councilman Robert Kendall is facing scrutiny for holding multiple paid offices which some argue is a violation of Indiana’s dual office holding law, Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney reported.
Kendall has four jobs, including elected and appointed public offices.

The Republican serves on the Brownsburg town council, an elected position from January 2012 to December 2015 at a salary of $13,703.

He is also a member of the Brownsburg Redevelopment Commission and the Hendricks County Solid Waste Management District board, both appointed positions.

Documents provided by the Town of Brownsburg show redevelopment commission members and town council members appointed to the waste management board earn $100 per meeting.      

Kendall also makes $45,500 as the director for the Indiana Board of Pharmacy, which is neither an elected or appointed position according to Ashley Hungate, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Personnel Department.

The dual office prohibition was adopted by the framers of the Indiana Constitution to prevent consolidation of power among a small number of government officials, according to the Dual Office Holding Guide published by the Indiana Attorney General.

Holding two paid public offices can be a constitutional dual office violation, according to the guide.
Concerned citizens say Kendall is illegally holding multiple offices, and filed complaints with the town of Brownsburg, the Attorney General’s office and Hendricks County prosecutor Pat Baldwin, who requested a special prosecutor look into the matter.

A judge appointed Boone County prosecutor Todd Meyer, who told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney he is reviewing the complaints.

"We’ll look into all the various issues involved, and ultimately I’ll render a final report that I’ll file with the court," said Meyer. "A lot of times with elected office holder positions the lines get blurred with regard to is this criminal, or is this just an ethical breech? The judge gives us the jurisdiction as special prosecutor to investigate and file charges if warranted."

According to the Dual Office Holding Guide , a violation of the dual office holding law may result in removal from office, the loss of federal funding or a class D felony of conflict of interest.

“Should he go to jail, probably not,” said Kurt Disser, a Hendricks County resident who filed complaints regarding Kendall. “I just think he should be forced to vacate all his positions, and also pay back all the compensation from all the jobs he should have never had.”

According to the Indiana Gateway for Government Units, Kendall received $1,080 in 2013 for serving on the Redevelopment Commission.

“There’s just conflicts of interest, they’re abound, they’re everywhere,” said Disser. “It’s definitely a major public policy concern if he’s on the RDC which deals with major infrastructure projects.”       

RTV6 political analyst Abdul-Hakim Shabazz has been following local government for 10 years, and said the dual office law is in place to help eliminate conflicts of interest.
“What you don’t want is people double dipping,” said Shabazz. “It’s not uncommon to serve dual roles, the question is always are they being paid twice for the same job.”

It’s an issue that pops up a lot in Indiana because so many elected official positions are part-time.
“Criminal? No,” said Shabazz. “Should (Brownsburg) have been paying more attention? Yes.”

The Call 6 Investigators reached out to Kendall for comment via phone, email and through the town manager but did not hear back.

The Town released a statement at 4:28 p.m. Friday.

“The Town has reviewed this matter to make sure all action being taken is consistent with its Ordinances and it is communicating with the appropriate third party governmental agencies to resolve it,” read the statement. “In that regard, the Town is fully cooperating with those agencies as part of this process.

With those discussions currently pending and ongoing, the Town will not be commenting further on this matter at this time. We will provide updates as appropriate through this process.”

Kendall was hired by Nick Rhoad, executive director of the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency, on June 23, 2014 to his position as director of the Board of Pharmacy.

Kendall is listed on Governor Mike Pence’s campaign website as a “most loyal supporter.”

Disser has filed a complaint with the Public Access Counselor alleging the PLA has not provided basic information about Kendall’s job duties and how he was selected for the position.

The Town of Brownsburg will hold a public meeting Monday at 10:45 a.m. to look at hiring an independent firm to investigate the matter.

Follow Kara Kenney on Twitter: @karakenney6 | Facebook: KaraKenneyNews

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