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February 15, 2013

Another suit filed between Jeffersonville court and clerk

Legal wrangling continues between Conlin and Pierce

JEFFERSONVILLE — A fight over control of court documents has fired back up between Jeffersonville’s city court judge and the city clerk.

Clerk Vicki Conlin filed a request for an emergency restraining order against Jeffersonville City Court Judge Ken Pierce and one of his employees, Stacy Kelly.

According to the petition and two affidavits by clerk’s office employees, records that are supposed to be maintained by the city clerk have been taken out of the office and the clerk’s employees have been subject to threats of intimidation.

 

PREVIOUS LAWSUIT

A dispute between Conlin and Pierce — which included a previous lawsuit being filed — existed as the transition of duties was set to take place as part of Jeffersonville’s switch from a third-class to a second-class city.

As a second-class city, the clerk’s office is supposed to collect fines, fees and maintain records for the court. A dispute existed about which office would control the Probationary User Fee, or PUF funds, and where court funds would be collected.

But Pierce, after an initial agreement was reached, alleged that the court’s entire collection of ledgers containing financial records had been taken from his office without knowledge of him or his staff — an act Pierce called “unethical” and “reprehensible.”

Conlin subsequently admitted that she took the documents and had turned the financial information over to the City Controller Monica Harmon.

As a result , Pierce questioned the authenticity of the documents and requested a third-party audit to review the records.

The dispute eventually made its way to the Jeffersonville City Council at its last meeting of 2012, at which it denied moving forward on a third-party audit and it passed two resolutions that outlined the clerk’s duties. The council assigned the duties to collect PUF funds to the clerk as well as an approval for shared office space for the city court and the clerk’s office. Pierce was against the approval on both issues.

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