Lalouette resigns 1st District county commission seat

Patty Decker / Free Press<p>Lori Lalouette (foreground), 1st District Marion County commissioner, provided notebooks filled with work she does in research and analysis of projects within the county, which is one of her strengths. <p>First District Mar­ion County Commissioner Lori Lalouette submitted her resignation at the Jan. 23 meeting effective March 20.

“After careful consideration and deliberation with my trusted advisers and friends,” Lalouette said, “I acknowledge that my competing priorities and illness have affected my attendance and availability to my constituents.”

Lalouette said she’s been looking at all the issues in a positive way.

“I need to know what my district’s thoughts are,” she said. ”I certainly wish (my constituents) could have sat down and tried to discuss it before it got to this point.”

Lalouette said when she ran for commissioner, it was never her intent to “just collect a paycheck.”

One of Lalouette’s constituents, Kevin Suderman, was at the meeting to hear what, if any, decision she had made.

“I can understand this is a hard decision,” Suderman said. “I gave you different types of leadership (scenarios) and you chose the one that was very hard.”

Sometimes people can run into time restraints, health issues or whatever it might be, he said, and then sometimes they have to make that hard decision.

“I applaud you for that,” he said, “and hope your future endeavors bring your work to everyone on this commission and the people in this district.”

The work is important to Hillsboro, the surrounding communities and the state,” Suderman said.

Commissioner Randy Dallke thanked Lalouette for addressing the issue.

Candidates, other issues

Lalouette said she did know of someone wanting to be a candidate in the 1st District.

“Whoever this person is,” she said, “she will be equal or better and all I ask is to not prejudge them.”

Even though much her work, Lalouette said, has been done behind the scenes, she has a lot of large files full of research and analysis.

“I’ve done a lot of research with the budget, EMS, where we are going from here, ideas outside the box, but again, that’s my fault that none of those things get in the newspaper,” she said.

Lalouette said she is fifth generation in the county and she has never had any hidden agendas.

“Commissioner Dan Holub always had a saying about the three reasons why people run for political office,” she said. “He would say the first one is for money, the second power and third reason was because they care.”

Lalouette said looking back, the expectation was for her to be at the meetings.

“Certainly sometimes I had been sick or perhaps my level of engagement was different,” she said.

Lalouette said she believes she adds value to the commission.

“I am committed to documenting and transferring my knowledge and ideas in my various areas of expertise to my replacement, once one is chosen,” she said.

Resignation to governor

When a county commissioner resigns, it is required to be sent to the governor’s office by the commissioner, which Lalouette said she planned to do Monday.

The townships included in the 1st District are: Lo­gan, Moore, Durham Park, Lehigh, Risley. Menno, Liberty, Hillsboro City First Ward and Hillsboro City Second Ward.

County Clerk Tina Spencer said, as of the middle of last week, the only precinct person in the first commission district was CleoBeth Friesen of Liberty Township.

“The committee began making appointments to fill some of the vacant seats last week and, as of this morning, most of the Republican seats in the district were filled,” Spencer said.

“We are currently checking to be sure all those appointed are registered Re­­publicans in the correct district.

“Now that the resignation has been announced, it is considered a pending vacancy,” she added, “and the Republican Committee will not be able to make any additional appointments until after this position is filled.”

By law, she said, it might be possible for them to continue making appointments until they are officially contacted by the governor, but in the interest of transparency, she didn’t think additional appointments would be made.

Recount

In the November 2014 election, Craig Dodd, an independent candidate, and Lalouette-Crawford were separated by three votes.

At the end of Election Day, Nov. 4, 2014, Dodd was leading Lalouette-Crawford, 670-668, with about 22 provisional ballots needing to be reviewed for various reasons.

After the canvass, the final count was 678-675 in favor of Lalouette-Crawford.

Because of the slim margin, Dodd requested a recount at his personal expense. Prior to the recount, only three votes separated the two candidates, but Lalouette-Crawford was credited with a one-vote win over Dodd, 676-675.