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Allen County Commissioner Linda Bloom failing to follow work-reporting requirement she supported

Allen County Commissioners Nelson Peterst and Linda Bloom. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)

Allen County Commissioner Linda Bloom, whose absence from two recent meetings delayed votes on two contentious development proposals, is failing to report how many hours she works despite a resolution she supported last year requiring her and the other two commissioners to do just that.

The policy adopted last August requires the commissioners, who comprise county government’s executive and legislative branches, to submit a regular record of their work hours and activities to the county auditor’s office. At the time, Commissioner Nelson Peters said the plan was intended to serve as an example for others to follow but also acknowledged it was directed at least in part at Bloom, whose lack of attendance at meetings and other functions has long drawn criticism from other county officials.

According to Auditor Nick Jordan, Bloom failed to file a work report for the periods covering Dec. 1, 2017 to April 30 of this year and May 1 through July 25. Commissioner Nelson Peters, meanwhile, reported 706 hours worked between March 1 and June 30, while Therese Brown reported 652 hours worked during that period.

The commissioners are also expected to give a general description of duties performed, although the records are done strictly on the “honor” basis, and there is no penalty beyond public disclosure for non-compliance.

As The News-Sentinel reported last December, Bloom’s compliance with the policy was spotty from the start. Peters and Brown submitted reports covering July through August of last year, while Bloom filed reports covering only July and August, when she logged a total of about 317 hours. Peters reported working 728 hours from July through August and Brown reported 764.

Bloom has said she does not need to be in the office to serve the public, but Brown said last year her incomplete reports were “unfortunate, inasmuch as it was an attempt to be transparent for our constituents.”

Recently, however, Bloom’s absences have resulted in a lack of action. In April, Brown and Peters delayed a vote on a controversial residential project on Schwartz Road, and earlier this month the commissioners deferred action on a 150-lot subdivision on Union Chapel Road. Although only two votes would have been needed to overturn or uphold the previous approval by the Plan Commission, Peters said at the time he believes all three commissioners should vote on controversial projects. Peters also noted a tie vote would have allowed the Plan Commission decision to stand.

Bloom showed up the following week, and the project was quickly approved.

All three commissioners are Republicans. Bloom will not seek re-election in November to the $71,000-a-year job she has held since 1995.

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