CLOVERDALE -- Many people have voiced concern about the issues regarding the attorney of Cloverdale Clerk-Treasurer Cathleen Monaco. At the most recent utility board meeting, the board raised some concern about being over-budget and having to pay more than the budgeted amount for Monaco's attorney fees.
When the board was presented with the first bill from attorney Jon Hughes, it was asking for almost the entire amount budgeted for the year. Hughes also presented the council with an estimate of his legal costs from August to December that came to a total of $12,500, which is $8,500 over the budget.
The council said it does not have a problem with Monaco having her attorney, but it doesn't understand why she does.
"I've never been with a town council with two legal counsels," said town attorney Alan Yackey.
By law, Cathleen Monaco is entitled to an attorney, as are all county and municipal officials. It is the discretion of the official to decide if he or she would like to appoint an attorney to represent them.
According to Indiana State Statute IC 36-5-6-8, "a clerk-treasurer may hire or contract with competent attorneys or legal research assistants on terms the clerk-treasurer considers appropriate." The salary for the attorney or research assistants must be approved in the annual budget.
In the case of Monaco, she believed it was best to hire her own counsel. Monaco said there have been several instances within the past year where the town council will show up to a meeting and put additions into the agenda without letting her know until the day of, making her look unprepared and unprofessional.
"I'm tired of being blindsided and not being prepared," explained Monaco. "I'm sick of it and I'm entitled to have one."
As previously stated in the most recent utility board overview, she felt her character was being attacked during each meeting.
"I came to the first meeting in August solely for the purpose because she felt there was some tension rising," said Hughes. "I'm there to help keep communication between the town council and Cathleen running as it should."
Monaco has been concentrating her efforts on getting the town back into a stable financial state after coming into an office in disarray.
"This is a very difficult job," said Monaco. "They are pointing the finger at me. I don't have a deputy clerk and I'm here by myself busting my hump."
Having an excessive workload, which she says keeps growing, and with little help from others, Monaco is struggling to catch up. Because of a lack of communication and tension between council members, Monaco is taking measures to protect herself.