For the second time this month, a New Palestine elected official has tendered their resignation.
Council woman Jan Jarson has resigned her position after first being elected in 2012 and being re-elected twice. She made it official in a letter to town council and county clerk of courts Lisa Lofgreen.
The letter states, “I am writing to inform you that it has become increasingly apparent that I cannot devote the necessary time and energy I feel is necessary to the office of Town Council Member. I have spent a great deal of time and thought before arriving at this decision and find that my priorities should be with my family and serving my community in other less stressful occupations. I have enjoyed the honor and privilege of serving our community and look forward to the future.”
Fellow council member Angie Fahrnow told Giant FM that she wishes Jarson the best.
“I think it was for the best, and I wish her well,” Fahrnow said of Jarson’s resignation.
The resignation brings an end to a dark cloud that has been over the town council and town since January, when the town council transformed from three members to five. Jarson lost her bid to serve as town council president.
Also in January, Jarson voted against censuring former town clerk-treasurer Tonii Pyle, who also offered her resignation earlier this month. In August, town officials discovered that Pyle, former clerk-treasurer Becky Hilligoss, former town manager Dave Book and Jarson all played a role in modifications to the town’s employee handbook pertaining to return to work provisions for employees returning from medical leave. The changes included alternate job descriptions for light duties with medical exceptions. It is believed Hilligoss put the changes in the handbook.
“There were a lot of things that were being done behind Clint Bledsoe and Brandee Bastin’s back,” Fahrnow said, adding there is documentation stating that Jarson was aware of the changes.
Despite the last few months, Fahrnow tells Giant FM she believes the town and council are now headed in a “positive direction.” As for winning back the trust of residents who may still have questions about their government, Fahrnow said she understands.
“Our focus is to do what’s in the best interest for the town. I think trust is earned. A lot of changes have happened, and I know there is uncertainty with some people. As long as the council does the right thing and keeps the town’s best interest at heart, the trust will be there,” she said.
It is now up to the Hancock County Republican Party to find a replacement for Jarson. The party has 30 days to fill the vacancy through a party caucus. Once the date of the caucus is set, candidates will have 72 hours to submit paperwork declaring their intention.