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Defendants-Appellants Tom Shetler, Sr. and Suzan Nicholson, individually and as members of the Knight Township Board (collectively, “the Board”), appeal the trial court’s determination in a declaratory judgment action filed by Plaintiff-Appellee Linda K. Durham (“Durham”). The Board raises one issue for our review, which we restate as: Whether the trial court erred as a matter of law by interpreting Ind. Code § 5-4-1-9 to allow an elected official to secure her bond after the date she was scheduled to take office.
Conclusion (slip op. at 5-6): We hold that the trial court was correct in determining that Ind. Code § 5-4-1-9 does not require Durham, the choice of the people for Knight Township Trustee, to forfeit her office absent evidence of fault on her part. Furthermore, because the Board does not argue or the record indicate the existence of such fault, the trial court’s determination must stand. Affirmed.
Key Analysis (slip op. at 5): When the current wording of the statute was first set forth, the statute provided that if an official required to give a bond did not do so within ten days after commencement of her term of office, the “office shall be vacant.” . . . our supreme court held that the requirement for posting bond under this predecessor statute was “directory, and not mandatory.” . . . We believe that the supreme court’s holding, which applied to a form of the statute that was more mandatory in nature than the current form of the statute, which is devoid of reference to vacancy or forfeiture, is still applicable.
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