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Palmyra town marshal resigns


April 11, 2012
Being investigated by the Harrison County Sheriff's Department, Steve Hamm, Palmyra's part-time town marshal, recently submitted his resignation, which was accepted by the three-member Palmyra Town Council.

At its April 3 regular monthly meeting, the town council was scheduled to swear in its interim town marshal, Elizabeth Stinson. Stinson has law enforcement experience at the Harrison County Sheriff's Department as well as at the Georgetown Police Department.

According to Palmyra Town Manager Cheri Banet, the resignation was received on March 22, the same date the town board met with the HCSD and Harrison County Prosecutor's Office in an emergency executive session, which was followed by an emergency public meeting. It was during the emergency public meeting in which Hamm's resignation was accepted.

Banet said notice of the meeting was posted at the town hall and post office, but the town failed to give proper notice to this newspaper or its sister publication, The Corydon Democrat, which had requested notice of all meetings covered by the Indiana Open Door Law.

"Even if the two meetings met the qualifications for an emergency session, which I don't believe they do, the newspaper was to be given the same notice as town council members about the meetings," Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, editor of The Corydon Democrat said, said.

The newspaper is checking with its legal counsel on possible recourse.

Hamm, who was hired as Palmyra's town marshal in 2008, was the Harrison County coroner from 2005 until 2008, and, until recently, was a deputy coroner under the man who succeeded him, Rusty Sizemore.

Sizemore said Hamm resigned as deputy coroner about four weeks ago, after Sizemore had been contacted by the sheriff's department regarding the investigation.

"I let him know of the options, and he said he would resign, and that was about three weeks ago," Sizemore said last week. "The sheriff said my department was clean, and he wanted to keep it that way."

Controversy is nothing new to the town marshal position in Palmyra.

In April 2004, Roy (Speedy) McClanahan, was arrested on charges of Class D felony criminal recklessness along with pointing a firearm and battery, both misdemeanors, after an altercation with a town resident regarding a water bill. At the time, McClanahan was president of the Palmyra town council. McClanahan was found guilty by a jury and was sentenced to one year (suspended) and probation.

In March 2006, then-marshal Rex Frederick, who had also served as marshal several years in the '90s, was suspended from duty after being charged with theft and receiving stolen property. Frederick was accused of using his access as club treasurer to write several checks on the Morgan Township Fish and Game Club's account for personal expenses in 2004 and 2005 as well as writing checks directly to himself. An investigation of the club's records identified $12,397 he was accused of taking.

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