He observed that the board cannot run a purchasing department if it does not have the power to negotiate contacts.
Further, Dull said the change goes against the separation of powers mandated by the Indiana Constitution and state law for the council to raise tax revenue, decide how it should. be spent and now spends the money in place of the county executive, the commissioners.
“There is no form of county government (in Indiana) where the tax authority and the contracting authority are in the same body,” Dull said.
Szarmach, meanwhile, repeatedly went back to the 1981 law he declared, and Sedia had previously agreed, allowing the council to take control of the county’s purchasing at any time.
He also downplayed the threat to county government operations claimed by Dull by pointing out that commissioners will still have a long way to go even if future purchases are overseen by the council.
All parties, including the judge, conceded that no matter how the case turns out, it will likely be considered by the Indiana Court of Appeals.
In that vein, Commissioners’ attorney Matt Fech urged Sedia to postpone the execution of any decision and leave the commissioners in charge of purchasing, until any appeals are concluded.
Council attorney Derek Molter said in response that there was no reason the council could not move forward with its plan to take over the purchases on Monday, assuming the judge consent, as the appeal process could take years.