The City County Observer is proud to announce Cheryl Musgrave as a 2015 Mole Award Winner for Good Public Policy. Musgrave currently sits on the Vanderburgh County Board of Zoning Appeals, is a Commissioner on the Evansville Redevelopment Commission, co-hosts the local television program Tri-State Voices, and was recently given credit by State Representative Gail Riecken for the idea of tying local permit approvals to a business demonstrating it is current on its real property and personal property taxes. Her ability to work with people of every party affiliation has kept her relevant to local government and a lauded decision maker for over twenty years. Her work for the community is done while she also is building her own business in Musgrave Consulting, LLC.

    Musgrave’s family has long been involved in public service. After her grandfather’s B-17 Bomber crashed during a mission in World War 11 he was a prisoner of war in Nazi Germany. Her father continued the family’s military service as a Sergeant in the United States Air Force, serving on bases in Europe and Alaska during the height of the Cold War. Thereafter her family settled in Greencastle, Indiana, and both of her parents entered politics. Her father served multiple terms on the Putnam County Council and was elected by the body as President. Her mother was elected Township Trustee-Assessor in Putnam County, and as County Chairman of her party.

    Cheryl married Robert Musgrave, an Evansville  attorney and the United States Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Trustee, in 1979, the year they both graduated from DePauw University.  They moved to Evansville in 1983, and have made their home in the city’s historic Downtown.

    Musgrave was first elected as the Vanderburgh County Assessor in 1994. When she arrived, the office staff still used typewriters and liquid correction fluid to process their paperwork. She updated and streamlined her office, adopting a hands-on approach to the job of assessing property values. She earned her Level I and Level II assessing certifications from the State of Indiana. She offered her staff nationally recognized training courses as well. Thanks to her improvements, Vanderburgh County was often the first county in the state to complete its reassessment.

    Musgrave’s understanding of technology resulted in the creation of a website that was the first of its kind. Citizens were given constant access to both property records and sales information. The site went online in 1997, and has significantly altered the real estate industry in Vanderburgh County. Musgrave also took the lead in developing the county’s Geographic Information System an online map used by both the private and public sectors.

    Cheryl was asked to serve on the Legislative Committee of the Association of Indiana Counties and was Legislative Co-Chairman of the County Assessor Association. Many of her suggestions and innovations have been incorporated into Indiana law.

    Musgrave was elected Vanderburgh County Commissioner for District Three in 2004, and a year later became President of the Board of Commissioners. She was praised for her efforts to help victims of the Evansville tornado of November 2005 and also for accomplishments in economic development, improved government performance and road projects.

    She was a member of the 1999-2000 Lugar Series Class.  The Lugar Series selects approximately 20 women annually to participate in a year-long leadership training program.

    In the summer of 2007, Governor Mitch Daniels appointed Cheryl as Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance in an effort to respond to widespread outrage and protests at local property tax assessment increases. Cheryl reigned in the growth of local governments’ budgets. She also led reforms in consolidating assessing at the county level. During her tenure, the State Legislature through a series of public referenda eliminated all but 13 of the state’s 1,016 township assessors.

    Musgrave, a Republican, is a long term resident of the City of Evansville and is known for her no nonsense pragmatism when it comes to due diligence regarding the spending of public money. Her public policy background and accomplishments make her well deserving of a Mole Award. Our annual luncheon honoring Mole Award winners will again be in late October, and details about this year’s event will be released very soon.


    1. We lost our township assessor. We now must go to “clowntown” Evansville to do our business.
      We lost our township precinct voting poll place. We don’t vote as a community anymore, just
      scattered out like rats. Just results of a overall political plan.

      Those Republicans should had dump the chump, and had Cheryl run for mayor this year!
      Likely see this happen in 2019 when the republicans try to regain the mayor’s seat?

          • Arm, Meant to include the vote also. Point is things change over time. Consolidated voting an Assessors work was overdue for a change. More needs to be done to consolidate government.

    2. Mayor Musgrave. Could be the best thing to come out of a mayor Riecken term in we survive that.

    3. This lady seems to be looking out for the taxpayers on the Redevelopment Commission, so she deserves some recognition.

      • She is a lady of some accomplishment. The local Republicans blew a chance to dump the dummy and run a candidate with an actual résumé and demonstrated ability to get things done.

    4. It would be great if Cheryl would provide local citizens with the data showing just how much in the way of tax dollars have been pumped into the American General/ Springleaf Headquarters project for the ten year period 2005 to 2015. I believe most all of the funds were run through the Evansville Redevelopment Commission, with the Evansville City Council’s approval.

      • Press, I say this in all sincerity. You would be a great person to use the freedom of information act to request that data and present an opinion piece to the CCO about this issue. I know this information would open a lot of people’s eyes. It could even result in Evansville recovering some funds.

    5. Congratulations Cheryl !!!! Your work is much appreciated and respected. To keep your head while others are losing theirs is a most needed attribute in Evansville, IN.

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