Except for one small point, AssessorGate is a tempest in Squire Adam’s chamber pot.

The Democratic brain trust convened a meeting.

AssessorGate has been a very confusing way to begin the New Year.

Floyd County Assessor-elect can take oath, but not office, by Brooke McAfee (Be Fruitful and Multiply the Tom May Content, Hallelujah!)

FLOYD COUNTY — Floyd County Assessor-elect James Sinks will soon be sworn in, according to Floyd County Republican Party Chair Shawn Carruthers. However, he will not be able to take office until he receives the proper certification.

The assessor-elect still needs to obtain a Level II Assessor-Appraiser certification before taking office, according to a letter from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. The letter was sent Dec. 20 to Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton.

He failed to pass a Level II exam this month, and he will not be able to retake the test until January, since he is out of state through Dec. 30. Trish Badger-Byrd, who has served as Floyd County Assessor since 2010, will remain in office until Sinks receives his Level II certification, according to the DLGF letter.

This isn’t quite as clear as it might seem, but viewing the code helps.

An Indiana code passed in 2015 requires those elected to the position of assessor to be Level II certified before taking office, according to the letter. This is the first election cycle with the provision in effect.

Here is the code.

IC 36-2-15-2 Election; eligibility; residence; term of office
Sec. 2. (a) A county assessor shall be elected under IC 3-10-2-13 by the voters of the county.

(b) To be eligible to serve as an assessor, an individual must meet the following qualifications before taking office:

(1) If the individual has never held the office of county assessor, the individual must have attained a level two assessor-appraiser certification under IC 6-1.1-35.5.

(2) If the individual has held the office of county assessor, the individual must have attained a level three assessor-appraiser certification under IC 6-1.1-35.5.

(c) A county assessor must reside within the county as provided in Article 6, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana. The assessor forfeits office if the assessor ceases to be a resident of the county.

(d) The term of office of a county assessor is four (4) years, beginning January 1 after election and continuing until a successor is elected and qualified.

[Pre-Local Government Recodification Citations: 17-3-1-1 part; 17-3-69.5-1 part.]

As added by Acts 1980, P.L.212, SEC.1. Amended by P.L.5-1986, SEC.37; P.L.3-1987, SEC.550; P.L.1-2004, SEC.61 and P.L.23-2004, SEC.63; P.L.88-2005, SEC.15; P.L.167-2015, SEC.6.

This passage doesn’t say Sinks couldn’t run for the assessor’s office. Rather, it specifies what he must attain in terms of certifications before taking office (emphasis mine).

(d) The term of office of a county assessor is four (4) years, beginning January 1 after election and continuing until a successor is elected and qualified.

This clause reads almost as though the legislature foresaw the possibility that with new standards, confusion might arise.

Back to McAfee:

Even though he cannot yet take office, Sinks can take his oath of office at any point until Jan. 31, according to Brad King, co-director of the Indiana Election Division of the Secretary of State’s Office.

He said Sinks will only be considered an office holder once he completes both parts of the qualification process for assessors, which includes both the oath of office and the Level II certification.

“As a result, until the individual completes both parts, the incumbent holds over until the individual completes qualification. There is no limit on how long that could be. He could qualify at any point in a four-year term.”

Sinks will not be paid as an office holder until he passes his Level II certification test, King said.

Mountain, meet molehill.

Having searched far and wide, I nevertheless cannot find a bone to pick with Badger-Byrd. I’ve no way of knowing, but she might be the best qualified county assessor in the state.

However, contrary to the faux anguish and agitated blathering of local Democratic functionaries, who’ve smiled and grinned in the past while promoting candidates who were either barely literate or scarcely alive — and sometimes both — a fair election is a fair election, and one must wonder whether any of them bothered to read the relevant code before soiling their diapers.

Perhaps party chairman Adam Dickey has participated in so few fair elections that he can’t even recognize one when it occurs.

As it stands, logic is taking another hammering as Dickey pontificates and caterwauls, complaining that straight ticket voting by Republicans is pure evil, with the best antidote being straight ticket voting by Democrats, and until then, advocating fair election results be overturned because of something the law does not appear to prohibit.

Ultimately, the Democratic Party’s crocodile tears, while understandable in the context of its recent string of electoral failures, is little more than a tempest in Dickey’s chamber pot, as Republican chairman Shawn Carruthers can see perfectly clearly.

“They know if we take the city they have nothing at all. We are coming for the mayor’s office.”

That’s the real issue, but in closing, make no mistake: there are remnants of egg on Republican faces, too, primarily because of this:


Sinks failed an open book test?