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December 4, 2012

Jeffersonville approves audit for court funds

$10,000 for bridges suit approved, with restrictions

JEFFERSONVILLE — Jeffersonville City Council approved seeking a third-party audit over City Court funds before the City Clerk assumes control over finances and employees of the court.

The Indiana State Board of Accounts agreed that the Jeffersonville City Clerk Vicki Conlin should take over the duties of the clerk of the city court and issued a letter to that effect. There is an ongoing dispute between the clerk’s office and the City Court Judge Ken Pierce about who is responsible for controlling the funds the court collects and the maintenance of its records.

Attorney Larry Wilder, representing City Clerk Vicki Conlin, said at Monday night’s meeting that Pierce may still choose to disregard the letter.

“It is merely an audit opinion,” he said.

The discrepancy between the clerk and judge exists, in part, due to the city’s move to second-class city status last year.

As a third-class city, Jeffersonville’s city judge was allowed to determine who would act as the clerk of his court and collect funds, such as the Probationary User Fee fund. The employees who handle payments and maintained records for the courts remained under the city court’s purview, although it was supposed to — as a second-class city — fall under the duties of the city clerk.

A compromise was offered to allow the employees to remain in the city court office, but report to the clerk.

“We are unable to reach the compromise we offered oh so many months ago,” Wilder said.

As part of the move, he said the council must down determine where to place and pay employees.

None of the employees slated to be under Conlin’s office have been included in the 2013 budget because of the question of control.

“We can accommodate it as soon as Jan. 1, but we did not provide for it because we did not have a final determination,” said City Controller Monica Harmon.

But before any move is made, Councilwoman Connie Sellers asked that an audit of the court’s funds be completed.

The council agreed to allow Harmon to move forward with hiring a third-party auditor to examine the court’s funds.

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