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MERRILLVILLE | The possibility of joining the Shared Ethics Advisory Commission will be a topic during the Town Council's workshop session this month, but it appears Merrillville leaders don't share the same opinion about enrolling in the group.

Town Councilman Richard Hardaway brought up the matter during last week's council meeting. He said he has received many calls from residents asking why Merrillville hasn't joined the commission.

Clerk-Treasurer Eugene Guernsey said he also has received calls about joining the commission. If enrollment were free, Guernsey believes Merrillville would join it immediately.

"We find money to do every other thing we want to do," Hardaway said.

Commission President Calvin Bellamy met with the council last year to present information about the commission and its objectives.

He said the enrollment fee would be $1,250 each year for the first two years. The annual fee would drop to $750 starting in the third year.

Hardaway said he believes joining the commission is needed in Merrillville. Neighboring communities, including Crown Point, Hobart and Schererville, are commission members.

Bellamy has said the main objective of the panel is to ensure employees of member communities are properly trained about ethical decision-making.

Guernsey said sending employees to training would take money away from projects, such as street patching.

"We have to protect taxpayer money," said Carol Miano, council president.

She said taxpayers can come before the council to express their concerns if they believe employees or other town leaders have been unethical.

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