KOSCIUSKO COUNTY — There is a question on the mind of taxpayers in Kosciusko County. Will the taxpayers be responsible for paying the bill for Sheriff C. Aaron Rovenstine’s defense on charges brought against him by a grand jury?
The question may remain unanswered until the wheels of judicial system are complete. Some believe the taxpayers will be footing the bill as the charges relate to his duties as the county’s sheriff. Others feel he is personally responsible.
Chad Miner, attorney for the county, stated “At this point, I am not aware of any claims having been submitted to the auditor with respect to this matter. I am sure that Michelle Puckett could give you a definitive answer as to what has or has not been submitted. In the event that a claim is submitted in the future, then, as with any other claim, the county would need to evaluate that claim at that time to determine if it would be appropriate for the county to pay or not. But unless and until a claim is submitted and approved, the county will not have any financial responsibility with respect to fees incurred regarding this matter.”
Michelle Puckett, county auditor, stated she has not received any claims to date for legal fees by Rovenstine. “If we were to receive a claim, it would be taken to the commissioners prior to paying,” she said. She added she believes the county attorney, Miner, would be asked to research the county’s responsibility in such matter.
Kosciusko County Commissioners have not discussed the possibility of being asked to pay for Rovenstine’s defense.
Kosciusko County Commissioner President Ron Truex stated “Absolutely not,” he further stated “He is funding his own attorneys, these are personal charges, not as his duty as sheriff.” He did state should any claims be received, the commissioners would discuss the matter before any payment.
“It has not been brought to us,” stated Commissioner Brad Jackson. “The first thing we’d want to know is what does the law say,” pointing out there would have to be research and an attorney’s opinion received. He added this would also be something that until brought before the commission would not be investigated.
Vice President of the county commissioners, Bob Conley could not be reached for comment.