Elected Officials and Local Government and Hamilton County and Westfield and Elections and Politics and Government & Economic Development and Government

Challenger alleges misconduct in Westfield mayoral race

April 6, 2011

Russell Cameron, who is challenging Westfield Mayor Andy Cook in a May 3 Republican primary, accused Cook’s deputy mayor of improperly using his position and city resources to campaign for Cook’s reelection.

Cameron’s complaint, sent Monday to the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office, has since been forwarded to the Indiana State Police, according to Cameron.

Cameron argues that Bruce Hauk, Westfield’s deputy mayor, functions as a city manager because he is the chief administrative officer of the city. Yet Indiana law does not allow a city manager to engage in political campaigning.

Cameron’s complaint accuses Hauk of working on campaign activities during city business hours, using his city vehicle for campaign purposes and pressuring city staff to hold political events at their homes.

Cook, in an interview, confirmed that Hauk is a volunteer for his campaign but countered that Hauk does not qualify as a city manager under Indiana law.

“It’s an entirely different form of government,” Cook said of Westfield, which became a city in 2008, with Cook as its first mayor.

Cook called the filing of the complaint “despicable behavior” and “purely political.”

“This gentleman who is my opponent is taking some drastic steps to create momentum in his campaign which he cannot from the minimal amount of supporters that he has,” Cook said.

Cameron said the prosecutor's office would not have forwarded his complaint unless it had some merit. He said his complaints about Hauk are part of a pattern of the Cook administration looking for ways to circumvent the law.

"This is typical of the Cook administration," Cameron said.

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