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Legislator resigns as Bargersville town manager

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A local state lawmaker has left his job with Bargersville town government.

State Rep. John Price took over as Bargersville town manager in December, shortly after he was elected to the state Legislature.

He had planned to give priority to his work as a state representative during the legislative session and do his work as town manager on weekends and evenings.

But after the session began last month, he was working 80 to 90 hours a week on legislative work and decided he needed to leave the $90,000-per-year Bargersville job, he said.

Price had told Bargersville Town Council members when they hired him that he would leave the job if he felt he was unable to do both. He decided to quit about two weeks ago, he said.

“It got to a point where it was interfering with my job up there,” Price said of the Statehouse in Indianapolis.

Price previously worked in county government for 36 years. Town officials asked him to take the job as town manager because of his experience in local government. He has worked as the county highway director, planning director, sheriff’s office chief deputy and fleet director and also has served on the county council and White River Township Advisory Board. Last year, he was elected to a two-year term as a state representative.

Before accepting the town job, Price talked with three attorneys about whether working for town government would be a conflict for a state legislator. Each attorney said the town job would not conflict with his elected state position because he was not holding two elected positions at once and not serving in an elected role while also working for the same local government, and so taking the job was legal.

Since the legislative session began, Price has spent most of his days at the Statehouse and was putting in his hours with the town at night.

He had identified a list of projects and priorities for the town but felt he didn’t have the time to address those, do his work overseeing Bargersville’s daily operations and the town’s 40 employees and his work as a state lawmaker, he said.

The town needs someone to be working full time, and he needed to attend committee hearings, review legislation and vote on proposals at the Statehouse, Price said.

“I felt I had to do something, and this was the right thing,” he said.

Town council members are seeking a replacement for Price and hope to hire someone soon, Bargersville Town Council member Rowana Umbarger said.

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