Monroe County commissioner resigns amid harassment allegations

Amanda Barge (file image)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – A member of the Monroe County Board of Commissioners announced her decision to resign after being accused of sexually harassing a contractor.

Monroe County Commissioner Amanda Barge said her resignation is effective immediately. Barge was the subject of a story in the Indiana Daily Student on March 25 that alleged she sexually harassed a contractor. Contractor Brandon Drake alleged that she repeatedly asked him to date her and later used her position to “dismantle his project for the county.”

Barge denied the allegations.

After the story appeared in the Indiana Daily Student, Barge suspended her mayoral campaign. The Monroe County Democratic Party called for her to step down.

Here’s her resignation letter:

To Residents of Monroe County:

The past two weeks have been difficult for our community. It is with a heavy heart and concern for my family that I announce my resignation from the position of County Commissioner, effective today.

I struggled mightily with this decision and how to defend myself in a way that is respectful to all. I feel strongly that an independent investigation and restorative-justice mediation would be appropriate, a full and fair process by which allegations can be evaluated. I will reach out to the ministerial community for help with this.

I am thankful to the voters for this incredible opportunity to serve. It has been an honor to work with county staff I have learned to call family and who are the backbone of our government. The resignation does not indicate I am abandoning issues that matter in our community. I will continue to fight for those causes.

Thank you for this opportunity, Monroe County.

(signed) Amanda Barge

(signed) Be free from judgment and love each other.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this story contained a different letter from Barge. The commissioners’ office said that letter was an earlier draft that had been mistakenly released.

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