SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned a Democrat appointed member of the St. Joseph County Board of Health is currently illegally serving another term.
According to the St. Joseph County website, Board Member Emily Dean was reappointed to the position by Mayor James Mueller in January of this year, going against state law.
The Board of Health is made up of 7 members. All of the members are appointed to their position, either by the Mayor of South Bend, Mayor of Mishawaka or Board of County Commissioners. Here’s the catch: Only 4 members can be from the same political party, according to Indiana law, as seen below.
IC 16-20-2-4Composition of board
Sec. 4. A local board of health is composed of seven (7) members, not more than four (4) of whom may be from the same political party.
RNM obtained St. Joseph County Voter Registration data from each current member of the board. It turns out, 5 of them (including Dean), have declared Democrat tickets in their most recent primary elections.
Here’s how they break down:
Emily Dean: Voted in the 2020 Democrat Primary. Has only voted in Democrat Primaries.
Heidi A. Beidinger-Burnett: Voted in the 2020 Democrat Primary. Has only voted in Democrat Primaries.
Michelle A. Migliore: Voted in the 2020 Democrat Primary. Has voted in only Democrat Primaries.
Jason Marker: Voted in 2020 Democrat Primary. Has voted in Democrat primaries 4 times since 2000. He voted in Republican primaries twice in that time frame.
Ilana Kirsch: Voted in the 2018 Democrat Primary. Has only voted in Democrat primaries.
John Linn: Voted in 2018 Republican Primary. Has voted in Republican primaries since 2012.
James Shoemaker: Voted in 2020 Republican Primary. Has only voted in Republican primaries.
You can view all of the voting data below:
According to this data, Dean should not and cannot be re-appointed. Instead, it appears Mayor James Mueller may have to appoint someone from another party.
Because the make-up of the board appears to be illegal at this point, it’s not clear if any action the board decides to take would even be legally binding.
RNM reached out to the Board of Health for comment. A BoH official claimed there are 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 1 independent. Those numbers fly in the face of the above voting records. The administrator also did not specify who identified as which party.
A PREVIOUS VERSION OF THIS STORY EXPLAINED EMILY DEAN WAS OVERSERVING HER TERM ACCORDING TO COUNTY RECORDS. A COUNTY OFFICIAL UPDATED THEIR RECORDS AFTER BEING CONTACTED BY RNM TO SHOW SHE WAS RE-APPOINTED BY MAYOR MUELLER IN JANUARY OF 2021.
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