By Scott Tibbs, July 28, 2014
There was an excellent letter to the editor last week about a wasteful abuse of tax money by Monroe County Assessor Judy Sharp, and judging from the hysterical reaction of local Democrats in the comments, it really struck a nerve.
Here is the story: Assessor's office employees went to Nashville, Indiana for a conference and paid for a hotel to stay there for the night. According to Google Maps, the trip to Nashville takes about a half hour. No one is saying that Sharp's employees should not be attending conferences to improve their skills, but it is absurd that taxpayers should be on the hook for food and lodging for a trip to a conference in the neighboring county, when many people commute farther than that to work in Monroe County every day.
Nashville, of course, is a popular tourist destination.
Judy Sharp needs to apologize to the voters and property owners in Monroe County for this unnecessary and wasteful use of our tax dollars. She should also reimburse county government for the cost of the trip. Voters have placed their trust in Sharp for six consecutive elections, and this wasteful expense raises questions about whether she continues to deserve that trust or whether it is time to elect someone else.
Finally, it is shameful that the Herald-Times has once again betrayed the public's trust by covering up this scandal. It is shameful that the H-T's readership had to learn about this abuse of tax money in a letter to the editor instead of on the front page of the newspaper, especially given all of the scandals in local government surrounding former Monroe County Auditor Amy Gerstman and former Benton Township Trustee Heather Cohee. How are voters supposed to make an informed decision when the "newspaper" is actively covering up scandals in local government.