Election Year Controversy Looms Between State and Metamora

Can a four-legged horse employed by the state of Indiana hold the office of Mayor in the town where the horse is employed? Some think not, others don't mind, in the honorary Mayor fundraising program in a small tourist town in southeast Indiana.

Metamora, IN, April 28, 2006 --(PR.com)-- Metamora, Indiana – May 1, 2006 – In the first-ever election for honorary Mayor in this small historic town in Southeast Indiana, candidates must meet only two requirements—they must be breathing, and they must have no more than four legs. Jerry, the Belgian draft horse that tows the state-owned canal boat down the state-owned canal, meets those two requirements. But some think that it would be a conflict of interest for a state employee to hold the only public office in the town. So the question facing the State of Indiana today is whether or not a draft horse is truly considered a state employee.

This small historic canal town and tourist village is conducting an Honorary Mayor election as a fundraiser for additional public restroom facilities and for the construction of a Southeast Indiana regional Interpretive Center. Since this is an honorary position, there are no residency requirements for the job of Mayor. Anyone who meets the two requirements can run for the office. But, as is frequently the way in small-town American politics, there is always someone trying to stretch the rules- such as, in this case, running Jerry, an employee of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, for Mayor in the town in which he works.

With Candidate registration just beginning Saturday, the only candidates currently on the ballot are Bonnie, the horse that pulls the carriage ride through the scenic town, and Whiffy, the skunk- mascot of a shop on Main Street in Metamora.

It is believed there will be several other candidates on the ballot, which only requires a $20 fee to register—and gets the candidate a nice frameable certificate stating they ran for Mayor in the town. Other possible candidates include one of the town’s ducks (who better to deal with the duck poop issue?), a fish (which brings up the question about whether or not the thing fish do with their gills is actually “breathing”), and several humans including possibly the local chicken hypnotizer known for hypnotizing his rooster into thinking it’s a duck. But since the job is open nationwide to anyone with $20, its hard to tell who might materialize as the election continues through the summer.

And in any case, its hard to tell which candidate might win the election- voting will continue through the summer as the campaign progresses, and electors are genuinely encouraged to “vote early and often”. As is usually true, but frequently denied, in all elections, all votes are purchased – in Metamora’s case, for $1 each. Voting commences June 3 and continues through August.

But the overriding issue at the moment seems to be whether or not Jerry’s candidacy will be allowed by the state of Indiana, and would it violate Indiana’s conflict of interest laws by Jerry’s running as Mayor while he is a state of Indiana employee in the town.

No response has yet been obtained from the Indiana Secretary of State of Department of Natural Resources (Jerry’s boss) offices.

Anyone can buy their way onto the ballot, and cast their votes, with their credit card by going to www.MetamoraIndiana.com/Mayor.htm.

Metamora Economic Development Corporation
Steve Collier