Mark Casteel
Mark Casteel
The Paper has learned that County Administrator Mark Casteel has turned in his resignation Wednesday.
Casteel was the first person tabbed to be in the job that was created in 2019. He became official in September when the county commissioners unanimously voted to hire him.
“This is new to us,” county commissioner president Jim Fulwider said. “Obviously we just learned about this. We will be having some discussions about where we go from here.”
Fulwider said that if the position is replaced, it will be a challenge to find someone as qualified as Casteel.
“I obviously knew this was a perfect fit for the job when we started talking about the position,” Fulwider said. “(Casteel’s) time as a county employee and his eight years as a sheriff made him a perfect fit. He came in on day one and hit the ground running. There wasn’t any training or anything. He’s proved himself. It’s very heartbreaking to me to lose a guy like this.”
The Paper obtained a copy of Casteel’s resignation letter in which he cited an inability to get along with one of the commissioners. Later in the letter, he said that he would be willing to work with Fulwider or commissioner Dan Guard on the transition, leaving out commissioner John Frey.
The Paper could not reach Casteel. Frey said that he was “just as surprised as everyone. He’s obviously made his decision and I wish him all the best.”
Montgomery County joined a limited number of Indiana counties with an administrator when it hired Casteel in September last year. It is unclear at this point if the county will keep the position or not.
“I feel the position is a very valuable position,” Fulwider explained. “Not just because it’s Mark. It’s been a very valuable position. My initial feeling is I would like to see us look to continue. The decision comes to the commissioner but obviously the council is very important. If they choose not to fund it, then there is no position.”
The Paper reached out to County Council President Terry Hockersmith but did not receive a reply yet.
The job paid $70,000, according to the council.
As Fulwider mentioned, Casteel served as Montgomery County sheriff for two terms. He was credited with turning the department around. His organizational and leadership skills were a major factor cited by several elected officials when Casteel was chosen for the county administrator job.
During his time, the county has worked closely with the city – a fact that was not lost at all on Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton.
“It’s a tremendous loss for the county and the community,” Barton told The Paper. “I don’t use that word lightly – it’s a tremendous loss. Mark had elevated county government to a new level. He’s really streamlined things. His departure, I think is a devastating blow to the county.”