WAYNE TOWNSHIP — Local business owner Jeb Bardon, a Democrat, was unanimously elected as the new Wayne Township Trustee Saturday.
“Restoring trust and accountability to this office is an enormous responsibility and I am honored to be given the opportunity to do that as Wayne Township Trustee,” said Bardon in a news release. “My top priorities will be to improve transparency, financial oversight, and overall services to the public as well as to recover any taxpayer dollars that have been misused. Today marks a fresh start for Wayne Township and I am excited to get to work.”
Bardon replaces former trustee Chuck Jones, who resigned on June 27. Previously, Jones had refused requests from his fellow Democratic leaders to step down from office.
Jones and three other current and former Wayne Township employees pleaded guilty last month to Conflict of Interest, a high-level misdemeanor, following a 2021 WRTV investigation into compensation involving a nonprofit.
Prosecutors allege between December 20, 2019, and May 19, 2021, they "knowingly or intentionally" profited from contracts between the nonprofit, Wayne Township Fire Department, Inc, and the fire department.
As WRTV reported in 2021, township officials have been receiving compensation through the nonprofit, which is funded through donations and taxpayer money.
Their criminal charge can be expunged after a year if they pay the money back to the taxpayers.
According to the prosecutor’s office, Indiana law says Chuck Jones will no longer be allowed to serve as an elected public official.
“Jeb Bardon is a true public servant, who is humble, hard-working, and will always do what’s best for the taxpayers of Wayne Township. He is the perfect person to unite our community and to bring the changes needed to this office,” said Marion County Democratic Party Chair Kate Sweeney Bell in an email. “We are thrilled with the outcome of the caucus and look forward to all the good work Trustee Bardon will do.”
Bardon assumes office immediately and will serve out the remainder of Jones’ term, which ends on December 31, 2022. He currently owns and operates three Subway franchises and previously served as a state representative from 1998 through 2014.
Voters will elect a new township trustee, Bardon or Republican Rick Scott, on November 8, 2022.
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