Official: Property not yet retrieved

FORTVILLE — Three weeks after former Fortville clerk-treasurer Marcie Stafford left office, town officials still are trying to retrieve property they say she hasn’t returned.

When Stafford, who took office in 2012, lost her bid for re-election last spring to Sherry Durbin, she said she would not aid her successor as she prepared to transition to the office. Communication with town officials in the months that followed was sparing, and Stafford rarely worked from her town office.

The items Stafford hasn’t returned include a town cellphone, printer and several town documents, said town manager Joe Renner, adding he is unsure which specific documents are missing. Stafford often worked from home, Renner said.

Stafford could not be reached for comment.

At a January council meeting, members discussed having the town’s attorney, Alex Intermill, issue a formal notice demanding the items from Stafford within a certain time period.

Stafford’s final days in office were tumultuous; she was arrested in early December by the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department after being accused of threatening to burn down a local family’s house and kill their children. By state law, elected officials charged with crimes may remain in office unless they are convicted.

Stafford, who posted bail shortly after her arrest, finished her term while facing four Level 6 felony charges of intimidation, court records show. The case is pending.

Several members of the Fortville Town Council said text messages and phone calls to Stafford in recent weeks asking for the property have gone unreturned.

Stafford also left several personal items in her office in Fortville Town Hall, which town officials said they want to return to her.

Council president Bill Hiday said he’d like to resolve the matter without legal action; he’s asked the town attorney to hold off on a issuing a formal legal notice while he coordinates with one of Stafford’s family members to try to retrieve the property.

“In the grand scheme of things, if we can get it all solved without any conflict, that’s everybody’s goal,” Hiday said. “Hopefully, we don’t have to take any further steps.”

During her four-year term, Stafford clashed with town officials, who criticized her bookkeeping and absence from public meetings.

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Daniel Morgan is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (317) 477-3228 or