Council Woman Did Not Violate State Nepotism Law When Voting on Today's Salary Vote
LAWRENCE COUNTY - OCTOBER 4, 2022 - The Lawrence County Council voted today to increase wages for county employees and elected leaders for a three percent raise.
Lawrence County Council woman Julie Heweston's daughter Anah Gouty serves as a Juvenile referee for Lawrence County. Because Gouty's salary is set by state statue this is not a violation of Indiana Code.
However, any vote that Heweston makes that directly votes related to Gouty's work in the courts, and other related matters may require her to abstain from her vote.
To date over the years, no one has challenged her vote on matters relating to the juvenile court overseen by Gouty.
Heweston maintains that she did not violate the state's nepotism laws.
" I have looked into this previously, and because the salary of my daughter is made by state statue, I am not in violation of Indiana law," said Heweston after being asked whether she can vote on today's salary increases.
In another matter, Lawrence County Zephyr is looking into whether Lawrence County Aviation manager Jeff Lytton can vote on today's salary increases and matters related to the airport. At this time, it is not known whether he violated Indiana law on this matter.
Many county employees after the vote could be heard in the audience saying " This is b***it". County employees are still upset that their salaries did not increase five percent like the Sheriff's Department. Many would not speak on record today fearing reprisal for speaking out on this year's budget process and salary matters. The 2023 Budget was designed with a 5 percent increase with many department heads making cuts to address the county council's wishes to decrease the budget by $1 Million.