LAKE STATION | The City Council on Wednesday agreed to move two clerk positions back under the supervision of the city's clerk-treasurer.
Mayor Keith Soderquist said the move, which transfers two clerks out of the supervision and budget of City Judge Chris Anderson, has nothing to do with judge's firing last week of Miranda Brakley, the mayor's stepdaughter.
"The two positions are going back under the budget and supervision of Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Samuels where they belong," Soderquist said.
Anderson, who didn't attend the meeting, said over the phone that he believes the illegal transfer of power is being made in retaliation for his firing Brakley as one of his two court clerks June 7.
"In my opinion the council doesn't not have the authority to transfer the control of my staff to the clerk-treasurer. And the only reason this is being done is the mayor is retaliating against me because I fired his stepdaughter," Anderson said.
Anderson declined further comment at the advice of his legal counsel.
Soderquist said city officials have been planning to move the two positions back under the department from which they were removed four years ago.
"They are going home," Soderquist said.
The City Council in 2008 took action amending the clerk-treasurer's duties which included removal of two clerks under Samuel's supervision and budget and placing them under Anderson's supervision.
"Now the council wants to put the positions back," Soderquist said.
Soderquist denies the move has anything to do with the termination last week of his stepdaughter, a former city court administrator.
Rather the move is something he and other city officials have been discussing for several months, Soderquist said.
"Transferring the two positions back to the clerk-treasurer's office will be more efficient. We began talking about this two months ago. It was already in the works of being done," Soderquist said.
Samuels, at the end of the meeting, confirmed that she will likely hire Brakley back as one of the two clerk positions she now supervises because of her on-the-job experience.
"It would make only sense to hire her," Samuels said.