Don’t Shoot the Messenger


Kathryn Martin

Kathryn Martin has Exceeded Expectations in Cleaning the Knight Township Mess
By: Don Counts

Kathryn Martin was appointed to serve the remainder of the term of Linda Durham the elected Knight Township Trustee by Democratic Party caucus in March 2010. Linda Durham was seated to the trusteeship over objections raised due to her difficulty in obtaining bonding resigned from office and has since been arrested on felony theft and official misconduct charges.

Ms. Martin is currently seeking that office as the democratic candidate running against republican Jim Braker. If the past five months are any indication of what the job of township trustee is, then Kathryn Martin has certainly been battle hardened.

The job of a township trustee typically include recommending an annual budget to the elected legislative body of the township, reporting to that legislative body about the condition of the trustees office, managing the office, and managing the protective and humanitarian services that townships provide to the approved budget. It is certainly not required or even expected that the township trustee should have the responsibility of auditing a predecessor’s performance for fraud, negligence, and abuse. It however appears that Ms. Martin has willfully taken the bull by the horns and led the effort to do exactly that. The City County Observer applauds her can-do spirit and commends the way that she has carried out her responsibilities thus far.

It has been widely documented that the alleged actions of Ms. Durham and her Chief Deputy, Tonda Pauley have left Knight Township in dire financial straits. It was abundantly clear from the time she was seated that she would need substantial guidance and oversight to succeed as township trustee. The responsibility for that oversight falls squarely on the shoulders of what Indiana Code IC 36-6-6 refers to as the legislative body of the township. Locally this term legislative body has been commonly referred to as the advisory board. Despite the less official term adopted locally, the duties of the legislative body are truly legislative as the full body of Indiana Code IC 36-6-6 spells out.

Specifically, in IC 36-6-6-9, the legislative body is tasked with conducting an annual meeting on or before the third Tuesday after the first Monday in January of each year consideration and approval of annual report of executive; disposition of funds. During this meeting the annual report of the executive including the budget and the financial performance of the previous year are approved, altered, or disallowed by the legislative body. A member may administer oaths necessary in the examination of the report. The legislative body has broad powers to go along with its broad responsibilities.

As Ms. Durham was seated as Knight Township Trustee in early 2006, by statute there must have been two annual budgets and two reviews with oversight provided by the legislative body. The City County Observer is quite curious to know about the outcomes of the budgetary and financial reviews of these annual meetings. If the recent revelations regarding the dire financial straits of Knight Township came as a surprise to anyone, they certainly should not have been. The performance of the legislative body should be under just as much examination and scrutiny as the performance that led to Ms. Durham’s resignation. The legislative body in its annual meetings, quarterly reviews, and by calling special meetings could have and should have averted the current situation before the Knight Township Trustees office became financially functionally insolvent.

This insolvency leaves Knight Township in need of a loan to enable the office to remain open until its next allocation of taxpayer money is available in December. Indiana Code provides for the mechanism to seek and secure loans in IC 36-6-6-15. Sec. 15. states that (a) If the legislative body finds that an emergency requires the borrowing of money to meet the township’s current expenses, it may take out temporary loans in an amount not more than eighty percent (80%) of the total anticipated revenue for the remainder of the year in which the loans are taken out, and (b) The legislative body must authorize the temporary loans by a resolution.

The local media has been reporting during the last news cycle that Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel has floated an idea for a $200,000 loan from the Evansville Bond Bank that is funneled through the Vanderburgh County to Knight Township. As good as this intention may be, haven’t we been down this path before? This convoluted solution sounds eerily similar to the scheme hatched by Mayor Weinzapfel to supplement the salary of Evansville DMD Director Tom Barnett by funneling Evansville Bond Bank money through GAGE to Barnett. This time it’s different because the Mayor is conducting the people’s business in public.

We believe it is appropriate for the Evansville Bond Bank to make a loan directly to the Knight Township Trustee’s Office because the public good demands it. The City County Observer would like to thank Mayor Weinzapfel for seeking ways to circumvent the major financial challenges facing Knight Township Trustee’s office.

There are legal and appropriate ways for Knight Township to seek and secure a temporary loan. The first step as codified by IC 36-6-6-15 is for the legislative body of Knight Township (Advisory Board) to adopt a formal resolution to seek such a loan. The City County Observer acknowledges that this important first step was taken by the Advisory Board. We hope that a legal and palatable lending source can be secured to keep the Knight Township Trustees office open and functioning. State law states the County Commissioners signs contracts and the County Council find ways to financially honor them.

The fate of keeping the Knight Township Volunteer Fire Department protecting homes and lives and the Knight Township Trustee’s Office to continue helping serve the basic needs of the “poorest of the poor” is now in the hands of the Evansville Bond Bank, Knight Township Legislative Body (Advisory Committee), County Commissioners, County Council and Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel! We believe they are up to the task! In our heart of hearts we believe if the Knight Township Trustee, Kathryn Martin seeks the wisdom of advise of Pigeon Township Trustee Mary Hart and gets the funding for this office we will quickly see if she is worthy of reelection to this office. If she makes any missteps or blunders running this important position that serves the needs of the “Poorest of the Poor” the City-county Observer will hold her accountable.

IC 36-6-6 Township Legislative Body


  1. mr.braker would get my vote cause to many democrats are getting caught with hands in the cookie jar and their lack of trust

  2. What was the balance of the Knight Twp. bank account on Jan. 1, 2006?
    What was the balance of the Knight Twp. bank account on Dec. 31, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and on June 30, 2010?

    It would be interesting to see where this financial saga began and how it looked during the fiscal periods prior to the exposure of Ms. Durham’s misadventures.

    Ms. Martin has taken on a difficult task, but I can’t help but wonder, what qualifications and experience does she have, not counting CJ’s Bus?

  3. Judging by the Courier’s recent article, it looks like the hold-over employees “chumped” Kathryn on her first day in office asking her to sign off on paychecks. The advisory board should not have let her step into that kind of situation without having first called for a “full” audit from the State Board of Accounts. It’s now time to return that office to capable Republican hands.

  4. From what I understand Pierre, the entire advisory board is made up of all Republicans. I hardly think that they can be considered capable if they overlooked Durham’s and Pauley’s misuse of public funds. They are the legislative body that signed off on the budget AND the annual report. Where are the capable hands there? This is not a D or R issue. It’s a public issue where the poorest of the poor should not be pawns in a political game. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones!

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