Commissioners interview attorneys for county position

Beth Rumsey
Staff Writer

The Ripley County Commissioners interviewed three candidates for the county attorney position at the regular meeting on Monday, January 24. The position became available after Neil Comer retired as the county attorney on December 31, 2010. Neil continues his private law practice at his Osgood location.

The candidates included John Watson, Jeff Sharp and John Ertel.

John Watson has been practicing law since 1993 and currently has an office in Sunman. According to Watson, he got into municipal law about eight years ago and currently represents the towns of St. Leon, Moores Hill and Patriot, as well as several utilities. He was a resident of Ripley County until recently when his family moved to Dearborn County, just a few minutes from Sunman.

Jeff Sharp started practicing law in Batesville in 2005 with experience in criminal law, wills and estates, and litigations. Sharp noted that he has not represented a government entity before, but says he is a quick learner. He has been a life-long resident of Ripley County.

John Ertel began his practice in Osgood in 1995. According to Ertel, he has experience with personal injury and workman’s compensation cases as well as experience with planning, zoning, and drainage issues. Ertel is currently the attorney for the Planning and Zoning Commission for Ripley County and for the Town of Holton.

The commissioners thanked each applicant for their interest and will take each application under advisement for a decision at a later date.

In the annual board of finance meeting, the commissioners agreed to renew the contract with the online credit card company used by the treasurer’s office. The commissioners unanimously agreed to give treasurer Earline Copeland authority to invest funds on the behalf of the county as well as approved the list of depositories.

In other business, the commissioners unanimously approved the recommendation to reappoint Marianne Wiggers and appoint Paul Sipples to the county tourism board.

All commissioners were in attendance. The next meeting will be on Monday, February 7 beginning at 7 a.m. at the Ripley County Highway Garage in Osgood and reconvening at 8 a.m. at the courthouse annex in Versailles.