Teising closes trustee's office, rejects plan to save township fire department

Wabash Township Trustee Jennifer Teising closed the trustee's office Thursday and is directing the public to her personal address, 132 Knox Drive in West Lafayette.

Posted: Jun 17, 2021 3:13 PM
Updated: Jun 17, 2021 3:17 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Wabash Township Trustee Jennifer Teising closed the trustee's office Thursday and is directing the public to her personal address, 132 Knox Drive in West Lafayette.

The closure comes after Tuesday's township board meeting, where she faced outrage over her management of the fire department.

As News 18 previously reported, Teising will terminate the township's three paid firefighters this month. She blames the layoffs on budget shortfalls.

The township's advisory board approved a last-minute money transfer they say could keep the firefighters employed through 2023.

But in emails posted to Facebook by the Wabash Township Fire Department Association, Teising suggests she will move forward with the layoffs and says the resolution for the transfer shouldn't have been considered.

"You did not have the resolution listed on the agenda and it was not posted," she writes in the email.

But board president Angel Valentín said members had one day to prepare the resolution after Teising emailed firefighters Monday their last day of work was June 29.

Valentín said the Indiana Public Access Counselor ruled the resolution didn't violate open door laws.

The emails suggest Teising is asking the State Board of Accounts to investigate the issue.

"The SBOA has been contacted and will be issuing a decision on if the board can move money from the cumulative fire fund to the the fire fund," she writes in the email.

Teising said during Tuesday's board meeting, which she attended virtually via Zoom, that she needed to look into the legality of the transfer.

"I'm going to have to look and see what exactly it is they're doing and what they're proposing and what we can do and what's legally allowed for us to do," she said.

But Valentín said the Department of Local Government Finance has signed off on the resolution.

Mike Dwyer, the fire department association president, issued this plea during the board meeting:

"Trustee Teising, please, please, please do not terminate these three paid guys," he said. "They have families, they have lives and you're trying to ruin them ... We're asking you, please, do not go through with your plan for the benefit of everyone, for the safety of our township, please do not do this."

News 18 reached out to Teising and is awaiting comment.

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