News and Tribune

Clark County

April 11, 2007

Jeffersonville ethics panel answers Waiz: Wilder stays

A little more than 24 hours after Mayor Rob Waiz demanded that the Jeffersonville Ethics Commission fire attorney Larry Wilder, the panel issued its response: Wilder stays.

On Monday, Waiz issued an ultimatum to the commission, stating in a letter that if the board failed to remove Wilder as its attorney, his campaign would refuse to cooperate with the panel in the future.

A day later, Ethics Commission members voted 5-0 to keep Wilder as the panel’s lawyer.

Commission member Bruce Barkhauer read a statement on the board’s behalf, in which he said, “All of our meetings are open to the public, and anyone who is interested in witnessing our proceedings is welcome to attend. We invite your observations, in particular, as we rule on findings of fact related to the law. You may judge for yourself as to whether or not we are acting in the best interest of the citizens of this community.”

Waiz has attended no Ethics Commission meetings, including Tuesday’s, and only during a training session for candidates did he send someone to represent him. During Tuesday’s meeting, Wilder assumed that Assistant City Attorney Jack Vissing was representing Waiz, but Vissing said he was simply observing the meeting as a resident, rather than on behalf of a client.

Barkhauer also said that every Ethics Commission member would be willing to step down if asked by a majority of the City Council, which appoints the ethics panel’s members.

Waiz based his request for Wilder’s removal on the fact that Tom Galligan, Waiz’s opponent in the May 8 Democratic Party primary, used a bulk-postage permit issued to Friends of Peggy Wilder to send several mailings. Peggy Wilder, the city’s clerk-treasurer, is married to Larry Wilder.

Larry Wilder served as an assistant city attorney during the first two years of Waiz’s administration, but the two had a public falling out in January 2006.

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