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Bunker Hill council president resigns

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

For the second month in a row, Bunker Hill Town Council cancelled their general meeting on Monday night because they didn’t have the required three members to create a quorum.

Don Jaberg and Rae Ann Panther were the only council members present.

Former Town Council President Carl Wade sat across from the dais.

Wade resigned last week after a citizen informed the town council via a phone call to Bunker Hill Treasurer Andrea Newnum that two council members were in violation of the Hatch Act.

The Hatch Act was passed in 1939 to ensure that federal programs are administered in a nonpartisan fashion, to protect employees from political coercion in the workplace, and to ensure that federal employees are advanced on merit and not based on political affiliation, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. The measure was also referred to as “an act to prevent pernicious political activities.”

The federal law applies to federal employees, and some state, D.C. and local government employees who work in connection with federally-funded programs.

Newnum researched the citizen’s complaint and reported the information she found to both Wade and the Bunker Hill attorney, Brandon Rush.

Wade has worked at Grissom Air Reserve Base as a federal employee for years as a supply technician.

“I resigned the day I found out about it,” Wade said.

Council member Shanna Griffis, who was absent from the meeting, is a U.S. postal worker – which also makes her a federal employee.

However, since Griffis began working for the post office after she took the position, she will be able to continue her position on the board until November.

But she will not be able to seek re-election, Newnum said.

Two Bunker Hill town positions are currently on the ballot: Griffis’ and Luis Nino’s seat.

Wade’s seat isn’t up for reelection until 2019, so the Miami County Republican Party will have to appoint someone to fill that spot.

Interested individuals can submit applications to the Miami County Republican Party, and Chair Ethan Manning will appoint someone to fill Wade’s spot.

This news was upsetting to members of a town tangled in many controversies during these past few years. And the absent council members may have hit a nerve.

“This has been happening too much lately,” Jaberg said.

“It wastes people’s time,” Newnum said.

In the past two months, there was an absence at a special meeting in January – the one that was meant to replace the regular January meeting – and a council member was late to the special meeting about the potential replacement of a police force in Bunker Hill.