Commissioner Shoulders Should Had Recused Himself From Vote Because of Conflict Of Interest

This week we posted many comments concerning the misguided decision to fire the hardworking and qualified Director of Burdette Park.

County Commissioner Ben Shoulders (D) appeared to have cut a backroom deal in order to repay his campaign manager for a job well done.  We consider this to be an act of political patronage at its best. During the campaign, Mr. Shoulders pledged that if elected he would be extremely objective and transparent. The voters signed off on his campaign pledge and elected him to the District 1 County Commissioner seat. We’re disappointed to report that it didn’t take to long for Mr. Shoulders to break his campaign pledge to the people of this community to be open and transparent.

District 3 County Commissioner Cheryl Musgrave’s participation in the firing of the qualified and hard working 28 year old Burdette Parks Director took many by surprise. We consider her decision to support Mr. Shoulders desire to fire Burdette Park Director Jacob Murphy was without cause.   Also many people feel that the hiring of Ben Shoulders campaign manager to replace Mr. Murphy was an unacceptable act of “political patronage.”   For what we are hearing this may have caused her some serious political problems with the general public in the future.

What’s disappointing is that the decision to fire Mr. Murphy was done in private.  Commissioner’s Shoulders and Musgrave never took the time to discuss this matter with all the members of the Burdette Park Advisory Board in order to get their input concerning Mr. Murphy’s overall job performance. They never directly discussed their desire to terminate Mr. Murphy employment with all members of the Vanderburgh County Council.  They didn’t alert the media or the public about the firing of Jacob Murphy and the hiring of Pat Tuley and his wife until after the fact.   Most importantly they didn’t  put this issue on the official County Commission agenda for public discussion.

Pat and Z Tuley have served in different elected and appointed position for many years. Both have serve well in the public sector during the last 25 years. Both have received handsome compersations for the work they did for the taxpayers of Vanderburgh County. However, it looks like it may be time for them to find employment elsewhere other than Burdette Park.  With their political and business connections we expect that they will have little trouble doing so.

We hope that Commissioners Ben Shoulders and Cheryl Musgrave will not only publicly apology to the taxpayers of Vanderburgh County for their bad misjudgment in this matter but they should also rescind the firing of 28 years old Jacob Murphy as the Burdette Parks Director because it’s the right thing to do.

Its time to put this situation behind us and focus on the important issues that will help our county to become even more progressive in the future!

FOOTNOTE: Todays “Readers Poll”  question is: Should County Commissioners Shoulders and Musgrave withdraw their decision to fire the Director of Burdette Park?


  1. Now Cheryl, in this mornings paper says Murphy was not doing a good job. She better have some real proof of that or she may have slandered this young mans character.

    • So he was doing his months 5 months ago when the city spent $1800 to send him to leadership training, but now, after receiving that training, he has suddenly stopped doing his job? Oh how I loathe politicians and liars…usually one in the same.

  2. Has anyone considered the major disruption to preparing Burdette Park’s facilities, the aquatic center in particular, that 2/3s of the commissioners have caused? Timing is crucial to opening the county taxpayers’ playground for Memorial Day weekend.
    “Sorry, folks, due to new management, the slides aren’t operational and the pool is green”

  3. The CCO editor asked me once over lunch which politician I admired the most. Without a thought I said Cheryl Musgrave. After the action and her justification in the CP, she is at the bottom of my bucket and I will do all I can to prevent her from holding the public trust again. With her justification of this action, I have went from disappointed to disgusted.

    I wonder if Murphy would consider being commissioner? He certainly can prove that is is not politically connected.

  4. Boy do I regret voting for these individuals. Never again for either. Another example of our local “policiticians”. Go away Mr. Tuley. These people continue to defraud the taxpayers of Vanderburgh Co. again and again.

  5. The issues with the overall condition of Burdette Park are not management related – instead, the issues stem from a lack of funding in the county budget. Shoulders helped his political buddy and Musgrave knows what it takes to manage a park because her grandpappy was in parks management… SMH…my grandfather was in WWII, but that doesn’t mean I know what it’s like to be shot at by enemy fire. Give me a freaking break, Cheryl – you’re smarter than that!

  6. The park is beautiful and it takes time and money to improve certain projects. And depending on how the weather is and the time of year, you can’t just “get new mulch” down. When did she drive by? In the middle of a storm? In the dead of winter? She’s just going to try now to turn it all around and make Mr. Murphy look bad so she can retain her rose like power – but this woman obviously has thorns! It’s the Evansville senior leadership that needs help. Mr. Murphy has been caught in the cross-fires of this under-handed, back-room, political mis-fire and yes, to save face, she needs to rescind this firing, replacement, transfer or whatever else she decides to call it or at least hold true to her promise to move him to another position that has now magically disappeared and seems to not be available anymore in the county. What’s this all about? Just ask her, she’s not for young leaders as department heads under her watch. I wonder how old she was when her career started? She should be ashamed of herself attending youth leadership luncheons and acting like she supports the future of our next generation – that’s nothing but a political soap box for her to stand on and smile for the camera – she’s trying to fool all of us.

  7. Wow just when I was getting tired of the CCO lack of coverage of the city council political circus and the shell game city debt that effects all tax payers in our city . they go and load the bases against the only true republican office holder in the county and her dem . partner. Kind of like ignoring OBAMA FOR EIGHT YEARS .for doing nothing but going after Pres Trump for trying to correct things and make us safe from those who would harm us .. Man was John Friend AND Conner Odaniel and S.B.R. on the right track . Can not blame them from getting out of this political nightmare.

  8. I’m shocked Duckworth didn’t get the job. On second thought, maybe Tuley and Tuley are trying to beat Duckworth’s public pension count.


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