Fired employee to return to job in Carmel clerk-treasurer’s office

An employee fired last week from the Carmel clerk-treasurer’s office last week is set to return to her job next week after the city council got involved in the matter.

Ann Bingman served as director of internal controls for the office for three years before she was fired by Clerk-Treasurer Christine Pauley on April 17.

Pauley, in a written statement issued Friday, said she apologized to Bingham for the firing.

"Last week, a key CT employee, Ms. Bingman, was terminated but not due to fraud, misappropriation of funds nor poor performance," Pauley said in the statement. "Ms. Bingman had performed at a high level with many external and internal stakeholders depending on her expertise in the area of municipal financing and bond issuance, including myself. So, in the air of cooperation and good will for the betterment of the upcoming statutory changes to the city’s governance structure, Ms. Bingman has accepted my apology and offer to return and will be rejoining the CT staff beginning Tuesday, April 30, in her normal capacity."

Earlier this week, the Carmel City Council held a special meeting to evaluate whether the clerk-treasurer’s office would be able to complete a State Board of Accounts annual audit without Bingman’s help. Bingman was the only CPA on staff and had been paramount in completing audits in the past, she said.

Pauley told the city council much of the documentation work for the audit has already been completed and her staff is cross-trained.

Still, the discrepancies between Pauley and Bingman regarding the office’s capabilities to get the audit done by the June 30 deadline left councilors concerned.

On Friday, Carmel City Council President Jeff Worrell told IBJ that Bingman would return to her role in the clerk-treasurer’s office, but wouldn't report directly to Pauley.

He and Pauley met Thursday and reached an agreement in which Bingman would report to the deputy clerk rather than Pauley. And once the audit is complete, Bingman would not be terminated again, he said.

Bingman had previously said she was not interested in working directly for Pauley, saying Pauley had made the office a “toxic environment” ever since the primary election campaign season began.

Bingman will have no direct interaction with Pauley, Worrell said.

“It’s almost as though she never left,” he said.

Worrell said reaching the agreement was in the best interest of the city, its taxpayers and Bingman.

“This sends a message to the rest of our employees that they’re valued and respected,” he said. “The city council takes very seriously our responsibility that we’re watching out for them.”

The controversial firing comes amid other turmoil involving Pauley, who has accused Mayor Jim Brainard of unwanted personal advances.

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