Testimony before the Hamilton County (Indiana) Council…Regarding the Misconduct of a Council Member

June 7, 2017

Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Hamilton County Council. My name is Jim DeCamp. I’m a retired Army chaplain and pastor, and I am the Precinct Committeeman for Clay Southwest 1.

One morning in high school, a question entered my mind which I could not shake: “What’s the difference between character and reputation?”

Later I put that question to my mother. She answered with a question of her own: “Should there be a difference?”

I have revisited that question and answer a number of times in my life, most recently in the context of the behavior of a member of the Hamilton County Council, Jeffrey A. Hern––a man with lots of potential, and for whom I truly wish the very best.

Damaging and removing large campaign signs of an opponent, lying to Hamilton County Sheriff investigators and to the public about what he had done, withholding the truth from voters until LONG after the election––and only then as part of a Plea Agreement, as I understand it––this is the stuff of corruption.

Misconduct in a political campaign––resulting in an election that quite possibly would have seen a different outcome––undermines the integrity of this election, and erodes the people’s confidence in Hamilton County government.

More than once, I have requested to meet with Mr. Hern. Last Wednesday, another Precinct Committeeman and I left a voicemail message for him, asking him to sit down with us. No reply.

Thursday, we sent a text message with the same request. No response.

Why this silence by an office holder toward constituents?

Perhaps he has been advised not to speak with anyone about this. How does that relate to the virtue of transparency?

Based on personal conversations as recently as last evening, people in my precinct remember what happened, and they do not like it. Mr. Hern recently was in Hamilton Superior Court. He now stands in the Court of Public Opinion.

His misconduct has cast a shadow over the important work of the Hamilton County Council.

The voters of Hamilton County deserve better.

Mr. Hern, Sir: I call upon you to resign.

Thank you.