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March 1, 2013

Floyd County auditor to resign

Darin Coddington to step down May 3; GOP caucus will vote on replacement

NEW ALBANY — Floyd County Auditor Darin Coddington announced Friday he will resign his post effective May 3.

In a prepared statement, Coddington cites personal reasons for the decision.

“It is with great regret that I must inform you that effective May 3, 2013, due to personal matters, I will no longer serve as your Floyd County Auditor,” Coddington wrote. “Thank you for your trust. Floyd County will always have a special place in my heart.”

Coddington came under criticism Thursday night at a special Floyd County Council budget meeting. Many council members said they were given the wrong figures from the auditor’s office in the fall, when preparing the 2013 budget, which is why the county now has a $2.4 million deficit. And many were upset that Coddington was not present at the meeting, since his office was at the center of the problem.

“With the severity of this, I wonder why we don’t have the auditor here,” Councilman Brad Striegel said at the meeting.

However, Coddington said by phone Friday he is not resigning due to the budget crisis.

“It’s for personal reasons,” he said. “I have a lot of respect for the taxpayers, and I am going to miss it.”

The Floyd County Republican Party precinct committee members will have to hold a caucus and elect someone to fill the final 20 months of Coddington’s term which expires Dec. 31, 2014. However, Republican Chairman Dave Matthews said a caucus can not convene until Coddington’s resignation becomes official, which means the office may have to function a few days without a sitting auditor.

“We can’t replace the [sitting] auditor with another auditor,” Matthews said.

“I was not involved in his decision,” he continued. “I am trying to come to an [of] understanding how we feel about it.”

Floyd County Commissioners President Steve Bush said it’s “unfortunate” for Coddington that he has to resign due to personal reasons.

“I hate that for him,” Bush said. “He says it’s for personal reasons so that is where we are at. People can read into it what they want ... I wish him the best.”

Floyd County Council members Dana Fendley and Lana Aebersold, both Republicans, said it’s time to move forward.

“He is a nice person, but if someone can’t do the job it’s time to leave,” Aebersold said. “I think it would have been very difficult for him to continue. It’s sad ... he had an opportunity to help the county grow.”

Fendley agreed.

“He was the first Republican in there in years, and he has to leave before his term is up ... looks bad on all of us,” Fendley said. “I’m sorry for his troubles. I wish him well.”

Striegel said considering the circumstances, “Mr. Coddington’s decision to step down was probably the appropriate action and I wish him the best in the future,” he said.

The council placed a 30-day hiring and spending freeze in the county until the budget situation is cleared up. Director of Floyd County Operations Don Lopp, his assistant and former auditor Teresa Plaiss, and Amanda Ault, the new chief deputy auditor for Floyd County have been tasked to make recommendations to fix the budget. Lopp said Thursday they already found $2 million in cuts/savings, but another $400,000 will have to be found in the next few weeks.

“I think we have a good path forward,” said Council President John Schellenberger. “We have a good plan I think and if it gets approved it will get us back on track.”

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