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Dem. Councilwoman/Party Chair claims raises never based on merit — then pushes political retaliation

Diana Hess St. Joseph County Indiana
Diana Hess, St. Joseph County Democrat Chair and Councilmember of the St. Joseph County Council — Photo: Facebook

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Democrat St. Joseph County Councilwoman and party chair Diana Hess made multiple excuses for voting against raises for elected officials, including that raises had never been merit based. The raises, which were approved in a 5-4 vote at July 11th’s Council meeting, brought the salaries for the County Assessor, County Clerk and County Auditor up to industry standards. Now, the officials are being paid comparable salaries to what people in their positions across the state make, giving both Democrat and Republican officials a boost in pay.

During the committee meeting on June 27th, Hess spoke out against the raises by stating that they’ve never given raises to anyone based on merit in the past. Then, during the full board meeting, Hess lambasted only Republican Clerk Amy Rolfes by claiming she could not assess her job performance. That’s despite Rolfes absorbing the Voter Registration Office into the County Clerk’s Office, hiring multiple bilingual and diverse employees and saving the taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars in the process.

“I don’t see that we have any measure of performance to support… a raise.” Hess said.

However, it’s evident Hess’ true intention on attempting to derail the raise for Rolfes was based on political retaliation after the Democrats lost the County Clerk seat for the first time in history this past November.

In a Facebook post on June 26th, the St. Joseph County Democrat Party (of which Hess is the Chair) made false allegations against Rolfes, claiming she “spread misinformation” and lied about former St. Joseph County Clerk, Democrat Rita Glenn.

During the election, Glenn was under investigation by the Indiana State Police following an RNM investigation that uncovered Glenn created multiple secret keys to gain access into the secured absentee ballot area. Video obtained by RNM showed her entering the ballot area without a Republican present, which is a violation of state law. These were all talking points used by the GOP and Rolfes during the campaign last year.

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