MARTINSVILLE, Ind. - Ashland Township Trustee Sandra Norman appeared in Morgan County court Friday morning to face first-of-its-kind charges and possible removal from office.
Prosecutor Steve Sonnega charged Norman with two Infractions for failure to file reports, including the fiscal year 2012 annual report and 100-R report, which also includes compensation of officers and employees.
Norman pleaded not guilty.
"No comment," Norman told Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney as she left court Friday. "You guys should stop. I said no comment."
Under Indiana law, a public official who fails to keep financial books can be removed from office.
Norman's case is the first time in Indiana history that a county prosecutor has taken such action against a public official.
"It's very problematic when a trustee doesn't do the job the law requires," Sonnega said after Norman's hearing. "The filing of reports is pretty fundamental."
A judge would have to find Norman guilty and impose forfeiture of office as a penalty.
Norman isn't facing jail time because the infractions aren't criminal, similar to driving on a suspended license.
She also faces up to $1,500 in fines, Sonnega said.
"We came up with a course of action we thought would be in the taxpayers' best interest and the government's best interest," said Sonnega. "It is a new area."
The Attorney General’s Office sent demand letters to Norman, requesting she repay $7,860 after the State Board of Accounts found Norman made purchases without supporting documentation, including hotel stays, mileage, conferences, utilities, repair work and other expenses.
Morgan County Republican Chairman Daniel Elliott told Kenney that once the legal process is complete and there's a vacancy, the party will hold a caucus to select a new Ashland Township trustee.
Norman replaced her mother, Dorothy Brummett, who submitted her resignation in 2010 saying the township was out of money for poor relief.
While she was still in office In 2010, Brummett told Kenney that because of personal issues, she didn't do the best job as trustee.
"I'm not dealing with all the things that have happened in my life," she said in 2010. "I just basically shut down."
Brummett drove her daughter to court Friday and also declined to comment.
Norman is due back in court Oct. 2. RTV6 reached out to Norman’s attorney Josh Moudy, but he declined to comment.