- Associated Press - Monday, February 2, 2015

MARKLEVILLE, Ind. (AP) - The former marshal of a small central Indiana town is fighting his recent removal from the post, alleging town council members met illegally when they decided to fire him.

The Madison County town of Markleville, a few miles south of Anderson, has been without a police force since Jan. 1, when Sam Weist was removed as town marshal.

Weist’s attorney, John Wilson, has asked a local judge to void his client’s removal. He alleges in court documents that the council held an illegal meeting on Dec. 17, when council President Landis Harper and Councilman Bob Fesler discussed town business together.

Wilson also contends the council limited to 40 the number of people who could attend a Dec. 29 meeting where the final action taken against Weist, who had served 24 years as town marshal.

Wilson’s filing argues that the meeting violated Indiana’s open door law because the initial action was conducted at an illegal meeting, The Herald Bulletin reported (https://bit.ly/1BV5Yoh ).

Attached to the court filing is a screenshot of a text message Harper allegedly sent to a police officer stating that the council “may refuse” to renew Weist’s contract at the Dec. 29 meeting and asking if a particular councilman would support a motion not to renew that contract.

Harper said at the council’s Jan. 12 meeting that the text message was meant for the town’s attorney John Reeder and he believed he could discuss town matters with the town attorney.

He said the town is taking applications for the town marshal post. Harper said he hopes to introduce the new town marshal at the Feb. 9 council meeting.

Wilson said he wasn’t sure what would happen if Markleville names a new marshal and the court were to later rule in Weist’s favor.

Madison County Sheriff Scott Mellinger said that as the town awaits the resolution of its vacant marshal post his deputies are helping provide a police presence in Markleville.

“All of our officers are aware of the situation,” he said.


Information from: The Herald Bulletin, https://www.theheraldbulletin.com

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