By JEROD CLAPP
The Jeffersonville City Council approved a resolution Thursday to add the clerk of the city court to the city clerk’s duties, but not without some resistance from the city court judge.
Ken Pierce, city court judge, said though the city is doing some reorganizing now that it’s a second-class city instead of third-class, he thinks his office should still maintain control of the Probationary User Fee.
Pierce maintained an opinion issued by the State Board of Accounts put control of the fund with the probation office, not the clerk.
“I don’t believe, and this is with all due respect,” Pierce said, “I don’t believe the council has the authority to direct who collects the probation fees.”
In an interview following the meeting, council attorney Scott Lewis said Indiana State Code gives the body the ability to assign those duties either to the court or the clerk. He said it made sense for the probation office to collect those fees before Jeffersonville was classified as a second-class city, but that’s not the case anymore.
District 6 Councilman Bryan Glover, said with the yearlong dispute over the issue and legal battle between the court and the clerk, it was time for the council to do something about it.
“I think it’s time that we take the action that we need to take as a council,” Glover said. “And the parties that are involved in whatever lawsuit, let them argue that case outside of this council. Let us control what we can control and what happens outside this council room, so be it. It’s time to put this to bed and move forward. We’ve been fighting this for a year and nothing seems to be resolved. How long did we let it linger?”
A motion to table the resolution pending further review by Pierce was defeated and the council passed the measure 6-2, with Council President Ed Zastawny and at-large councilman Nathan Samuel voting against it.
The council also approved shared office space for the city court and the clerk’s office, something else Pierce said he wasn’t sure about.
Pierce said with so much money coming into both offices, he didn’t want disputes to arise if anything came up missing between the offices’ employees. The council approved shared office space 6-2, with Zastawny and Samuel opposing.