Recorder hopes to prevent resale of public records

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By Kevin Koelling, Managing Editor

Commissioners approve animal-shelter contract

TELL CITY - Perry County commissioners tabled at a regular meeting May 19 a request from County Recorder Jane James to implement rules for fining people who resell information provided by her office.

The Indiana Code requires the recorder to provide batches of information to "bulk users," those who want information on transactions performed over a day, week, month or year, James explained.

"We've never had a request until recently," she said. Recipients aren't supposed to resell the information, but do in some cases, reaping revenues that would otherwise go to the counties that provide it.

She was proposing an ordinance that would impose a $500 fine on a reseller and prohibit them from buying Perry County records again.

"Is $500 enough to keep someone from doing it?" Commissioner Don Sherry asked.

"Some other counties charge $2,500," James answered, explaining she'd conferred with county attorney Chris Goffinet before deciding on the $500 fine.

"I'm not sure what they're worth," Commissioner Gary Dauby said. "Maybe they can sell them for $10,000."

The county leaders agreed to table the request until they can talk to Goffinet, who was on vacation last week.

The commissioners did approve a new contract with Perry County Animal Shelter Inc. that changes the way a county animal-control officer is hired. They agreed previously that the officer should work directly for the shelter organization. Two men who held the position briefly were under contract to the county but reported to the shelter's board of directors.

Under the new contract, the shelter organization will hire an officer, who will then be appointed by the commissioners.

"We have to have some control in case he doesn't enforce the ordinances," Commissioner Jody Fortwendel said.

The contract was discussed by the shelter board at a meeting Wednesday. Its members opted to approve it upon clarification of an issue raised by incoming President Mike Neyenhaus.

Police officers in Perry County have some legal representation in court, he said. If the county's animal-control officer follows proper procedures in seizing an animal, and the owner claims he or she stole it, "I want to make sure he's allotted the same legal representation as other officers in the county," he explained.

"What's in (the contract) is acceptable," outgoing President Gene Ritchie said, but that issue isn't addressed.