Legal questions raised about Gibson County councilman’s position


GIBSON COUNTY (WEHT)- Questions are being asked about whether a Gibson County official can hold the jobs he has. Derek McGraw is a Gibson County Councilman and the chief of Princeton Police.

Indiana law prohibits one person from holding two lucrative government positions, but the word “lucrative” in this case may be hard to define.

As current and former Gibson County council members debate whether they’re following state guidelines, McGraw is closing in on the end of his second term.

But like former council member Cecil Allen, some are questioning if McGraw should be allowed to hold both positions.

“If your county government is doing something wrong, that needs to be corrected,” Allen explains.

The Dual Office Holding Guide from the Indiana Attorney General in 2010 shows both positions were considered lucrative and it explains a position is considered lucrative if there is compensation attached to it.

In 2019, these guidelines were amended and chief of police was removed from the list of lucrative positions. The guidelines also say if the duties of the officeholder are purely municipal, then the position is not considered lucrative.

McGraw says his predecessor held the same positions and is questioning why this is being brought up now.

“It didn’t get brought up until the election, so the timing is not coincidental in my opinion,” McGraw said. “Instantly I spoke with the mayor, I spoke with the city attorney who is also the county attorney. I said ‘what do we need to do? I want to make sure we’re doing everything right’.”

But Allen says it’s just about keeping everyone accountable.

“It’s nothing against Derek what so ever. it’s not politically motivated or anything,” Allen said.

McGraw says if he’s doing something wrong he will fix it. For now, McGraw’s name is on the ballot for reelection this fall and unless he removes it or unless a judge says so, it will stay there.

The guidelines from 2010 and 2019 are below.

2010 guide form Indiana Attorney General’s Office:

2019 guide form Indiana Attorney General’s Office:

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(This story was originally published on July 14, 2020)

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