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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Ind. Decisions - More on: State high court takes Clark County dispute

Updating this ILB entry from last week on the Supreme Court's grant of emergency transfer to a fee dispute between the Clark county judges and the county council, the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel had a brief editorial commentary Friday:

Why should you care about a dispute between the Clark Couny Council and four elected judges? Because it could affect the way all Indiana counties spend public money. Due to the statewide implications, the Indiana Supreme Court has agreed to decide the case instead of leaving it in the Indiana Court of Appeals.

The dispute is over who has control of nearly $1.9 million in fees from court-supervised probation programs. The council argues that it should be able to tap the money for salaries and other court-related costs as part of the county’s annual budget. But the judges say they should control where the money is spent, accusing the council of overstepping its authority. Before the dispute arose, two years ago, the council and judges often agreed to use a certain portion of the fee money each year to pay court-related costs. But growing expenses have prompted the council to appropriate almost all the money to cover salaries and other expenditures to avoid employee layoffs.

This is also a struggle over power – who has it and how it is used. That affects us even more than how the fees are spent.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on June 11, 2006 05:05 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions