GREENCASTLE -- County employees will be paid this week despite issues in the county treasurer's office.
According to County Commissioner Kristina Warren, who is also claims deputy in the auditor's office, "There will be paychecks one way or another. Sharon (Owens) really spoke out of turn about that."
The issue came up during the Putnam County Commissioners meeting Monday morning when Owens, who took office on Jan. 1, told the group the treasurer's office would have to remain closed until the county paid the insurance company for her bond.
"The treasurer's office has to be closed according to state law. The issue is that a claim was submitted from the insurance company two weeks ago and the county has not issued the check for the bond and until they do I cannot open the office. It is required under Indiana State statute that the county is required to pay the premium for elected officials bonds," explained Owens.
"The State Board of Accounts said the treasurer's office could not be open without someone who is bonded in the office. That means checks can't be issued either because I can't sign them," said Owens,
An issue with the amount of the bond payment to the insurance company surfaced when the bill was given to the auditor's office to process two weeks ago.
Warren told the group the state had not had a similar occurrence and they recommend turning over the issue to the county attorney.
On Tuesday, Warren told the Banner Graphic she couldn't make many comments but the problem was being worked on with the help of the Association of Indiana Counties.
She added that several different avenues were being explored. "We haven't picked one yet. The AIC is helping us look at options."
Warren also stated that she was unsure about how they were going to open the treasurer's office, but were also looking into that with the help of the AIC.
Commissioners referred the issue to county attorney Scott Hoff and tabled doing anything until their next meeting on Jan. 19 pending his input.
Owen also asked commissioners to approve hiring a new first deputy for the office and changing the other deputy's hours to part time.
By making changes to office personnel, she believed the county commissioners would save $20,000 in their budget due to reduced or no benefits for personnel.
Owens was also able to cut about $30,000 from the budget in other ways, bringing the savings to about $50,000.
The request was tabled until the next meeting.
Commissioners voted on the organization of their board, naming Gene Beck as president and Warren as vice president.
Beck reported he heard from Roachdale ambulance service PMH about a concern with Operation Life (OL) not providing daily coverage in the town of Bainbridge from 8 a.m. to 5 or 6 p.m.
Apparently, OL is only staffing the Bainbridge area one or two days a week. PMH is concerned about not being dispatched in northern Putnam County when OL is not in Bainbridge.
Hoff recommended a meeting between all the parties plus one of the commissioners to hammer out an agreement.
Putnam County Highway Manager Jim Smith reported to the board the West Walnut Street project ended up costing $844,388.83. The projected cost was $881,715. The cost of the project was paid by INDOT.
The next meeting of the county commissioners is at 4 p.m. Jan. 19.