SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Following a REAL News Michiana investigation proving the St. Joseph County Board of Health is illegally comprised of too many Democrats, the latest Democrat appointee was noticeably absent from last week’s Board of Health meeting.
While the board has refused to address the issue further through requests by RNM, a member of the public asked the board about the absence of member Emily Dean while referencing RNM’s story outlining her illegal appointment by Mayor James Mueller.
“Last week there was an article that talked about the illegal composition of the Health Board. Apparently right now you have 5 democrats and two republicans. I know Emily Dean is not here today. I don’t know if that has something to do with it. My question is, is the board dealing with this or how will it be addressed?” A woman asked during public comment.
“The issue is under advisement. Of course we have a board attorney. So, we are working on the issue.” Board President Heidi Beidinger-Burnett responded.
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: According to Indiana state law, only 4 members can be from the same political party.
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.
RNM reached out to the Board of Health for comment. A BoH official claimed there are 3 Democrats, 3 Republicans and 1 independent. “Independent” is not a recognized party in the state of Indiana. Those numbers also fly in the face of the above voting records. The administrator also did not specify who identified as which party. The BoH has ignored further requests for clarification from RNM.
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