Press release from City of Muncie:
In his ruling on June 18th, Special Judge Haviza confirmed that Muncie City Civil Engineer, Brian Stephens Hotopp, who was appointed by newly elected Mayor, Dan Ridenour at the start of the year, is entitled to serve as a member of the Board of Commissioners of the Muncie Sanitary District by virtue of his office. This court ruling ends a long delay as Hotopp was denied his seat by the current board during the January 15, 2020 meeting, the first meeting of 2020. “I am very pleased that Brian can now serve on the MSD Board as he has been entitled by statute to do since January. It is about time.” – Mayor Ridenour.
Judge Haviza also held that the MSD Board would have four members until the end of 2020, despite the fact that the city ordinance creating the district and the state law under which it was created only provided for three members. This may call into question future decisions of the Sanitary Board. “With all due respect to the judge, I am not excited to add a member to a board in a manner that clearly doesn’t follow council ordinance language. It seems off to me. I feel I was elected by the public to create a city government that follows the rules. The ordinance clearly says 3 members, so I am working to get the council to authorize this action prior to the July 1st MSD Board meeting so that we do this the right way.” – said Mayor Ridenour.
News Director, Steve Lindell notes: it is not clear how the Board can operate, even temporarily, with 4 members – and, Party affiliation is also in question (some Boards have a requirement of some sort of “balance of party affiliation.” It is also not clear about Mayor Ridenour’s contention (on Facebook) that the rule only allows for a 3 member Board – in fact, he asked Muncie City Council to consider in January “expanding the Board to 5 members,” a notion that was later tabled. The Mayor was asked for comment, and as of this post was non responsive to Woof Boom Radio news.