Crothersville Town Council president fills vacancy after clerk-treasurer resigns


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Danieta Foster made an unexpected change Wednesday.

That morning, she went to the Jackson County Courthouse in Brownstown to submit her resignation as a member of the Crothersville Town Council.

Then she turned around and raised her right hand, placed her left hand on her father’s Bible and took the oath as Crothersville clerk-treasurer.

“Though my role with the town will change, I will tackle the position with the same passion as I have had for the last six years,” she posted on Facebook the night before. “There is a lot to learn, so bear with me. A prayer or two wouldn’t hurt, either.”

Foster’s new role comes as a result of Staci Peters resigning as clerk-treasurer for personal reasons, effective Tuesday. On July 29, Peters also resigned as office manager of Crothersville Town Hall.

“I feel I have helped in some ways, but I don’t feel I was living up to what needed to be done. I was bringing my work into my home life, and it was affecting my family,” Peters said in a Facebook post July 29.

While she said it was not an easy decision, she needs to be happy and healthy.

“I love this town and would do anything to make it a better place. I don’t feel I was doing as good as I set out to do,” Peters wrote. “That job is very important and very difficult. My family comes first, and that hasn’t been happening for a very long time. I don’t like the person I was becoming. Today, my shoulders aren’t heavy, I’m not screaming on the inside and above all, I am on the road to get my family life back the way it was.”

Peters ended with a message to the other town hall employees and town council.

“I know you all are very strong and have a bond that will keep going strong and doing what is best for our town,” she wrote. “I will be cheering you on from the sidelines. I love you all.”

To open Tuesday night’s town council meeting, Foster announced Peters’ resignation and her own resignation from president of the town council and her position on the board and that she was being appointed and sworn in as clerk-treasurer the next day.

She said the Jackson County Republican Party is now searching for a person to fill the vacancy on the five-member council.

“As we have done since the day we all started doing this, we’re going to work as a team and continue to do what’s best for the town,” Foster said before going into the regular business on the agenda.

Foster was in her fourth year serving as president of the council. She was elected to the council in the November 2015 election and began serving in January 2016 when the council changed from three to five members.

The other council members are Jason Hillenburg, who is vice president, Jamy Greathouse, Chad Wilson and Terry Richey.

Peters was elected clerk-treasurer in the November 2019 election, replacing Richey, who chose not to seek re-election. Peters’ term began in January 2020 and was set to expire in 2023. Now, Foster will finish out her term.

Richey joined the council in June to replace Katie Masters, who resigned her seat to become the town’s second deputy clerk-treasurer.

Later during Tuesday’s meeting, the council unanimously approved giving 3.5% cost of living wage increases to town employees in 2022, learned about new town hall hours and discussed the office manager position.

Greathouse recommended the 3.5% raises, which he said will cover the national rate of inflation that’s 2.78%.

“We’ve worked hard the last two years to get everybody into a pay scale that we felt was comparable with what they should be earning,” he said.

When the council voted last year on raises for 2021, the pay increases varied.

“A couple of those positions were $4 or $5 increases,” Greathouse said. “We brought everybody up last year on everything. We set up a timeline standard of 10 years plus years of service for the police department and brought all of the utility guys up. The minimum was a $3 raise.”

Richey asked if raises had been considered for the council and clerk-treasurer. Those were last given when she was clerk-treasurer but have been status quo ever since. Currently, the yearly pay rates are $3,600 for council members and $10,000 for the clerk-treasurer.

Wilson asked to table that until the September council meeting so they can look at the budget.

For the town hall hours, Foster said those have been changed to 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon Wednesday.

Also, Foster said while she will be in the office at least 20 hours a week as clerk-treasurer, she is not taking the office manager position.

Richey said Michele Teipen served as office manager and first deputy clerk-treasurer when she was clerk-treasurer and recommended her for those roles with Foster.

“The person pretty much fields everything that comes in when the clerk-treasurer isn’t there full time,” Richey said. “I relied on my office manager a lot to keep me informed, to make decisions that they could make for me when I wasn’t there. I feel like it’s a pretty important position to keep just to keep things rolling when the clerk-treasurer is not there. I personally feel like we need one.”

Richey then made a motion to appoint Teipen and for her hourly pay rate to increase to the office manager rate of $19. It was approved with Foster abstaining from the vote.

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