New job for coordinating cleaning of Monroe County jail now has description, on clear path to creation

Now finally settled is the wording of the job description for a new position at Monroe County’s jail, which is supposed to help put the jail into a clean and sanitary condition and keep it that way.

The job description was the topic of a Friday noon meeting of the county council’s personnel administration committee (PAC), which agreed to forward the job description to Waggoner, Irwin, and Sheele, Inc. (WIS)—which is the county’s HR consultant.

WIS will incorporate the job description into the county’s job classification scheme, which determines compensation. The final step in the process will be for the full county council to approve the creation of the position, and its compensation.

That approval could come at the county council’s March 14 meeting. Continue reading “New job for coordinating cleaning of Monroe County jail now has description, on clear path to creation”

Monroe County sheriff fires jail guard who “failed to follow our high standard” in struggle with prisoner

Monroe County sheriff Ruben Marté has fired a guard at the county jail after an altercation with a prisoner, because the guard “failed to follow our high standard requiring de-escalation whenever possible.”

Monroe County Sheriff Ruben Marté addresses the community justice response committee (CJRC) on Jan. 23, 2023.

In the bodycam footage  that was released by the sheriff’s office, as three guards tussle with the prisoner, one of them can be seen throwing punches at the prisoner.

A still frame from that part of the altercation is included below.

According to the news release from the sheriff’s office, the prisoner and the guard were both injured: “One of the corrections officers suffere[d] a split lip and [the prisoner] suffered a fractured nose and orbital bone.”

The bodycam footage, in condensed form  and also in a full-length version, was released along with a statement from Marté around 3 p.m. on Friday.

The incident took place 10 days earlier on Jan. 31. Continue reading “Monroe County sheriff fires jail guard who “failed to follow our high standard” in struggle with prisoner”

Monroe County sheriff on racist graffiti in jail cells: “When I see that word…I cannot move slow.”

“It looks like that’s not even the United States of America.”

That was Monroe County’s new jail commander Kyle Gibbons talking about a photograph he had displayed for Monday’s meeting of the community justice response committee (CJRC). It was from a slide deck he’d prepared, in order to show committee members conditions inside the jail when he took over at the start of the year.

In the photo, a pitcher of water had been placed on the floor outside a cell door. Jail staff were using it as a stop gap to give inmates water on request—because the water wasn’t working in the cell at the time.

Gibbons told committee members, “The staff was just trying to make sure people had water. …They were trying to ensure that everybody had access to basic human rights.”

But the color of the water inside the pitcher looked sketchy enough that county councilor Peter Iversen asked Gibbons, “That’s drinkable water?!” The glum reply from Gibbons: “That’s drinkable water.”

Monday’s slide deck was a visual followup to oral presentations that Gibbons has given to county commissioners and county councilors in the last couple of weeks.

The visuals he presented on Monday appeared to have a sobering impact on committee members. Continue reading “Monroe County sheriff on racist graffiti in jail cells: “When I see that word…I cannot move slow.””

2022 Monroe County primary election results: As available [final unofficial]

The B Square is on site at Election Central at the corner of 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington where the 28 duffel bags from each of today’s polling locations will be deposited by a bipartisan team of poll workers.

cropped i voted IMG_2070

The polls closed at 6 p.m.

Monroe County clerk Nicole Browne has said no results are anticipated until at least 8 p.m.

The B Square will provide status reports here until the final results are announced.

6:26 p.m. Election Central: No precincts have yet arrived with their materials to report in. Monroe County. Election board members are here as well as election supervisor Karen Wheeler.

The election board has three members: the county clerk (Nicole Browne) and one appointee by each of the two major party chairs. The two appointed members are Democrat Shruti Rana; and Republican Donovan Garletts.

Continue reading “2022 Monroe County primary election results: As available [final unofficial]”

Monroe County campaign finance: 4 races, 17 candidates, $115K

Primary Election Day is May 3.

One limited measure of how much support candidates have among voters is the amount and range of financial contributions to their campaigns so far.

text is "pre-primary campaign finance filings" overlaid on top of a bag with a dollar sign on it

For the 2022 election season in the state of Indiana, pre-primary campaign finance forms were due at noon last Monday, April 18. Those forms are supposed to cover donations and expenditures for the period between Jan. 1, 2022 and April 8, 2022.

The B Square took a look at some of the early campaign finance filings by candidates in four Monroe County races— county commissioner; sheriff; circuit court judge; and recorder.

Those are races that have contested primaries this year for the Democratic Party.

The winner of those races will face a Republican Party candidate in the fall. None of the four races are contested in the Republican Party’s primary. The B Square has included Republican candidates in this roundup, which is compiled in a shared Google Sheet, with links to individual filings.

[Shared Goog Sheet 2020 pre-primary]

The 17 candidates in the four races have raised a combined total of around $115,000.

Counting money raised last year, six candidates for sheriff have raised a combined total of $58,000. The five candidates for judge have raised a combined total of around $28,000. The three candidates for county commissioner have raised a combined total of around $22,300. And the three candidates for county recorder have raised a combined total of around $7,000. Continue reading “Monroe County campaign finance: 4 races, 17 candidates, $115K”

Election 2022 candidate notebook: Three weeks to go, but some races shaping up

Through last Friday, the 2022 candidate filings that have been reported by the Monroe County election division still have gaps for some races.

Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler on Jan. 5, 2022, the first day for candidate filings.

But there are three weeks to go before the filing deadline at noon on Feb. 4.

The B Square maintains a spreadsheet of candidate filings, with links to official government records and news releases issued by candidates.

The topic of voting locations for this year’s elections will be taken up by the county election board at its meeting next week, which is scheduled for Jan. 20 at 1 p.m.

For local offices, one of the two contested primary races so far is to replace Democrat Stephen Galvin as a judge on the Monroe County circuit court.

Galvin is not seeking re-election, and it looks like at least four Democrats will be vying for their party’s nomination in the May primary: April Wilson, Allison Chopra, Emily Salzmann, Karen Wrenbeck.

Official paperwork for a 2022 candidacy declaration is on file for Wilson and Wrenbeck. Chopra and Salzmann have campaign exploratory committee paperwork on file from 2021. A news release from the Monroe County GOP indicated Carl Lamb will be standing as a candidate for the Republicans. That would set up a contested race for judge in November. Continue reading “Election 2022 candidate notebook: Three weeks to go, but some races shaping up”

Day 1 for candidate filings in Monroe County: Some Hoosier Democrats, Republicans make it official

Publicly announced intentions and exploratory committees are one thing. Official candidate filings are another.

Wednesday was the first day when it was possible to declare an official candidacy for one of the state or county public offices up for election in 2022.

Election Central, at 7th and Madison streets in downtown Bloomington, was not exactly teeming with candidate filing activity through the day on Wednesday.

But by 4 p.m. when the building closed, a dozen and a half candidates had made their way through the doors to the building and on to the registration office, which was marked with signage indicating only “one person at a time” should enter. Continue reading “Day 1 for candidate filings in Monroe County: Some Hoosier Democrats, Republicans make it official”

A look ahead at some Monroe County offices up for election in 2022

In 2021, voters enjoyed their regular respite from local political races, which comes in the year following a presidential election.

In 2022, voters will be choosing several positions in Monroe County government.

The positions include four different seats on the county council, three circuit judges, one county commissioner, as well as assessor, clerk, prosecuting attorney, recorder and sheriff.

Monroe County went decisively for Democrat Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential race. Biden received about 63 percent of votes compared to 35 percent for Donald Trump.

All county positions except the four county council seats are elected countywide, which means Democrats have a significant advantage in the fall general elections.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be any choices for voters in November. Continue reading “A look ahead at some Monroe County offices up for election in 2022”

First annual Monroe County event: “The complexities of the Latino community are tremendous.”

On Monday evening, during question time at a community gathering, Hana Yuisa Vargas rose to speak from a seat in the second tier of the auditorium at Monroe County’s public library.

Vargas said, “My ancestors helped [Christopher Columbus] to survive. We indigenous people, we’ve been helping everyone. White people. African people. Asian people. And we’ve been mistreated and invisible until today. And I’m raising my voice, because today is my day and supposed to be not just one day—supposed to be three hundred and sixty-five days, all my life, every single year.”

Vargas had earlier identified ancestors from the Taino, Mexica, and Apache tribes, as well as the Yoruba nation in West Africa.

It was the second Monday in October, a day that in some places is still called Columbus Day, but recognized this year by President Joe Biden as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Locally, the designation was put on the calendar by Bloomington’s city council two years ago.

The occasion for Vargas’s remarks was the first annual “State of the Latino Community in Monroe County” event. The evening was sponsored by the La Casa/Latino Cultural Center at Indiana University, the city of Bloomington’s Latino programs and outreach, Bloomington’s commission on Hispanic and Latino affairs, and the 9th District Latino Caucus.

Vargas put a question to the panelists: “Why do you generalize the Hispanic or Latino community in general, like it was one community, where in reality it is a division of languages?” Continue reading “First annual Monroe County event: “The complexities of the Latino community are tremendous.””