Cloverdale clerk-treasurer allowed an attorney

Friday, September 30, 2011

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.

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  • Thank you B-G & Lauren Boucher for the great reporting and follow-up analysis! Local newspapers continue to be relevant in the 21st century for this reason. Access to stories on-line help reader's productivity with the opportunity to catch the news before receiving the hard copy to be filed.

    Sadly, the political shenanigans continue in Cloverdale. Patty Truax was re-elected to the office of Clerk-Treasurer in the last election, beating Ms. Monaco (who was the current board's choice) by a couple of votes.

    The board then eliminated Patty's long-time assistance and Patty quit under the oppressive workload. In comes an untrained Ms. Monaco who also struggles under the workload. This is after a consultant was brought in by the town to sit with her and train her.

    If only the Town Board would grow up, learn to get along with others, not be sore losers, and reduce Yackey's babysitting hours, perhaps a part-time assistant could be re-hired for the Town Clerk.

    -- Posted by letspulltogether on Fri, Sep 30, 2011, at 5:51 AM
  • Who is Yackey????

    -- Posted by goodthoughts on Fri, Sep 30, 2011, at 8:33 AM
  • Yackey is the town's attorney.

    If Monaco only wants someone to defend her, get a guard dog not an overpaid attorney. Or better yet, do your job and not give people the reason to question you.

    -- Posted by longtimecitizen on Fri, Sep 30, 2011, at 8:50 AM
  • Wow such negativity towards a person who came into a job that was already messed up by the previous people who had the position. Given the news today about corrupt town boards, case in point Hartmanville. I could understand why she would protect herself. I think it was best said by someone about George W . " I Screwed you all but thanks for blaming the other guy..The needs to have the common Courtesy to shield the new person from the last persons issues.

    -- Posted by Oh My Goodness on Fri, Sep 30, 2011, at 9:18 AM
  • "but it is doubtful that she has a right to hire an attorney at public expense". The article gives you the Indiana statute that gives her the authority to hire an attorney and that it has to be approved in the annual budget. There is a nice web site at IN.GOV that you can go to and actually read all the statutes.

    -- Posted by bradsdad on Fri, Sep 30, 2011, at 3:34 PM
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