|Wed, Jul 23, 2014 08:03 PM
November 20, 2013 | 09:00 AM
Following questions about her residency, Peggy Bullington resigned Nov. 11 from the Marengo Town Council.
In an interview the next morning, Bullington said the issue began when she was asked at a previous meeting if she still lived at 280 W. Old Main St. or if she had moved into her husband Wayne's residence outside of the town limits. (The couple wed March 28.)
Bullington said that she answered that she was staying with Wayne, but, in last week's interview, she noted that her mailing address remains 280 W. Old Main St. and her personal items, including clothes, are there.
She added that, following the earlier meeting, she contacted an official with the Indiana Election Division, who told her that, if she stayed there one day a week and it is the address on her voter registration, she still could consider it her residence.
At the previous meeting, Mike Haverstock, president of the town council, asked Bullington for clarification, and the matter was to be discussed during closed executive session Nov. 11.
Bullington said she went into the executive session planning to resign at the end of the year, as she wanted to remain on the council through December so she could help with the town's annual children's Christmas program. She said she instead decided to resign immediately after being given a letter by the council's attorney stating what the law is and being pushed by Haverstock.
The letter, from Justin B. Mills and addressed to the town board president, stated:
"In regards to residency of a town board member, IN Code 36-5-2-6 states that in the event a town board member ceases to be a resident of said town, that member shall vacate his or her spot on the town board. If in fact Ms. Bullington is no longer a resident of the town of Marengo, she will have to vacate her position on the town board immediately."
The letter, however, did not make a judgment on whether Bullington is a resident of the town or not.
Bullington said she told Haverstock and Glen Laws, the third member of the council, that, if they believed she shouldn't be a member of the board, they could vote her off, but they wouldn't do so.
Saying she felt pressured to do so, Bullington then submitted a hand-written resignation letter.
During the public meeting, which Bullington did not attend, the council voted 2-0 to accept the resignation after Haverstock motioned to do so.
Bullington said she had not received any questions about her residency from anyone outside of the town council meetings.
Bullington may not be the only town council member with residency concerns. When she was questioned at the earlier meeting, she noted that Laws' camper that he lives in doesn't comply with town standards. She said the camper measures eight feet by 20 feet, but a town ordinance requires residences to measure 10 feet by 40 feet.
On Thursday, Mills said he would research the matter, but Indiana Code, which defines residency for purposes of candidate eligibility, doesn't have such a stipulation.