Lake Station court closing helps clerks balance books

2013-05-13T18:30:00Z 2013-05-13T23:29:04Z Lake Station court closing helps clerks balance booksDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

LAKE STATION | The City Court office is back to business as usual after a one-day closure to the public last Thursday, City Judge Chris Anderson said.

A sign posted in the window of the City Court last week stated, "As of May 7, Lake Station City Court will be closed on Thursdays until further notice."

Anderson said his two clerks used last Thursday to catch up on paperwork and to have time to balance cash books.

The court clerks were able to get enough work done so there shouldn't be an immediate need to close the office this week.

Anderson said he and his staff aren't ruling out the possibility of closing the office to the public at noon on Thursdays because it is one of the slower days.

"We're in the beginning stage of discussion," Anderson said.

City court clerk Kim Frizzell said the office closure was just temporary and allowed her and a second clerk a chance to catch up on paperwork, including some 1,000 bench warrants not taken care of in five years.

"This is just temporary and a chance to straighten out the mess that was here before me," Frizzell said.

Anderson said City Court, which is held every Tuesday and once a month on Friday, has remained unchanged.

Some city officials said they feared revenue being generated by the court had declined and the matter came to a head late last year when the City Council considered abolishing the City Court by Jan. 1, 2014.

The City Council dropped that decision in a move that was applauded by a standing-room-only crowd that came to City Hall to support Anderson.

The council agreed to instead meet with Anderson to work out any issues involving the court.

City officials and Anderson held a two-hour meeting in January but have not met since, Anderson said.

"We've provided the documentation that we're making money. There's nothing else for us to do," Anderson said.

Anderson has maintained that the issues with the court surfaced when on June 7 he fired the mayor's stepdaughter who had been a clerk under his supervision.

Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist has continued to deny that allegation.

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