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Open door lawsuit dropped

November 17, 2010

COLUMBIA CITY — The plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Whitley County Council has dropped the suit, according to County Attorney Dan Sigler.
Sigler told the Whitley County Commissioners on Monday that the suit was dropped.
The plaintiff, Steve Sickafoose of South Whitley explained Tuesday part of the reasoning for the decision to drop the suit.
“A taxpayer was going to have to pay for it (the suit) and it was going to come down to nothing more than a slap on the hand and a ‘don’t do that again.’”
The lawsuit was filed against the council by Sickafoose in response to an alleged illegal meeting July 28.
The meeting in question was the second gathering of the council that day. Proponents of the second and alleged “illegal” meeting say it was called in order to correct an illegal act in the earlier meeting.
Those on the other side of the issue say the second meeting violated Indiana’s Open Door Law.
In that first meeting, the council voted down a tax referendum which the Whitko Community School Corporation sought to place on the Nov. 2 ballot for residents living within the school district.
Council members Jim Banks and Bill Overdeer were absent from the voting.
According to state statute, the board, which serves as the tax governing body of the school corporation, cannot vote down the proposed referendum. The statute reads that the council “shall” approve the proposal.
On Election Day, Whitko residents in both Whitley and Kosciusko counties voted down the referendum 2,192-870.
Sickafoose said the results of the voting made the lawsuit moot.
“It was dropped because with the results of the election, there was nothing more to gain,” said Sickafoose.

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