Pulaski County Council to Discontinue Salary Matrix Committee Due to Open Door Law Concerns

Pulaski County Council: back row: Mike Tiede, Kathi Thompson, Brian Young; front row: Scott Hinkle, Rudy DeSabatine, Jay Sullivan (not pictured: Ken Boswell)

The Pulaski County Council appears to have disbanded its salary matrix committee, which council members say never officially existed in the first place. Last month, council members referred a series of salary-related requests to the committee for further consideration.

But on Monday, Council Member Kathi Thompson said that a different approach would be needed after all. “In January, I was appointed to the matrix committee,” she said, “which apparently, last year, the council was told we should not be having.”

The issue is that the committee never met in public. County officials had argued that the committee wasn’t subject to the Open Door Law, noting that no official committee had actually been formed. Instead, they said it was more of an informal group that grew organically. But an advisory opinion from the Indiana Public Access Counselor noted that the matrix committee appeared to be taking official action as defined by the Open Door Law, which can include receiving information, deliberating, and making recommendations.

County Attorney Kevin Tankersley told council members Monday that they could take the steps to form the committee officially, but he felt that would defeat the purpose of having it. “The council’s got to make the decision anyway,” Tankersley noted. “Why debate it in a committee and then debate it again here?”

Thompson said that going forward, any salary discussions will take place during meetings of the full council.