School Town of Munster

A recent state audit did more than reveal additional apparent past financial improprieties within the Munster school district.

The audit results also should serve as a wake-up call to all Region school districts — and other units of local government — that opulent benefits ought not be a part of the compensation for part-time public servants.

The Indiana State Board of Accounts recently released a special audit of the School Town of Munster, asking former School Board member Carrie Wadas to repay nearly $30,000 in insurance benefits to which she wasn't entitled.

Wadas resigned from the School Board in January 2014 but continued to be covered under the school corporation's health insurance plan until August 2015, even though she didn't meet the criteria for benefits, the audit concluded.

The matter also has been referred to the Lake County prosecutor and Indiana attorney general.

It's bad enough Wadas appeared to have been allowed to collect tens of thousands of dollars in taxpayer-supported benefits to which she wasn't entitled.

But the bigger issue is that Wadas, whose role as an elected School Board member constituted part-time employment, was afforded health insurance benefits in the first place.

Munster schools aren’t alone in local government entities offering such benefits to officials, many of whom don't work full time in their public positions.

The practice should stop.

How many of these public officials' constituents are afforded such benefits for part-time jobs?

Many Region residents toil in multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet for themselves and their families. Health insurance doesn't typically accompany such positions in the private sector.

In the Wadas case, the availability of the benefits evolved into an apparent abuse.

It never would have happened with sensible changes in local government policy.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Regional News Editor Sharon Ross, Assistant Deputy Editor Andrew Steele.