Lake Station city judge has supervisory rights returned after court ruling

2012-10-31T18:00:00Z 2012-12-03T17:15:59Z Lake Station city judge has supervisory rights returned after court rulingDeborah Laverty, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223

LAKE STATION | City Judge Chris Anderson had his supervisory rights and court budget permanently returned to him following a court order issued Monday.

Lake Superior Court Judge Calvin Hawkins issued his ruling in response to a complaint filed against Lake Station city officials on Anderson's behalf by his attorneys J. Michael Katz and David W. Weigel.

The ruling restores to Anderson's supervision two court deputy positions and their salaries approved for 2012.

City officials named in the suit, including the City Council, Mayor Keith Soderquist and Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Samuels, are also ordered by Hawkins to pay the $31,257 in fees charged by Anderson's two attorneys.

Katz said the litigation has resulted in a better relationship between the mayor, the council, the court and the clerk-treasurer's offices.

"And I anticipate that sense of cooperation will continue," Katz said.

Soderquist and Lake Station City Attorney Ray Szarmach said an agreement could have been reached among all parties in mid-August when a verbal resolution was reached.

Soderquist said city officials agreed that Hawkins was correct in giving Anderson authority over his two clerks.

"But there were other, non-related issues, including the storage of files, that surfaced and that's what prolonged it,"  Soderquist said.

Katz said those non-related issues, which arose after the case was filed, have now been resolved to Anderson's satisfaction.

Anderson filed a lawsuit on June 28 after action by the City Council on June 13.

The council agreed to move two clerk positions back under the supervision and budget of the city's clerk-treasurer.

The move transferred the two clerk positions, including the previously fired stepdaughter of Soderquist, out of Anderson's supervision and budget.

Soderquist, at the time of the June 13 meeting, said the transfer had nothing to do with the judge's firing of his stepdaughter, Miranda Brakley.

Prior to the meeting, Anderson said the council didn't have the authority to transfer the control of his staff to the clerk-treasurer. He said the only reason for the change was retaliation by the mayor.

Soderquist said city officials had been planning to move the two positions back under the clerk-treasurer's department from which they were removed four years ago.

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