Order temporarily returns clerks to Lake Station city judge

2012-06-28T21:00:00Z 2012-11-27T14:57:03Z Order temporarily returns clerks to Lake Station city judgeBy Deborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

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

Lake Superior Court Judge Calvin Hawkins on Thursday granted Anderson a temporary restraining order sought in a complaint filed on his behalf by attorneys J. Michael Katz and David W. Weigel.

"It's a temporary mandate, but the affect is that Anderson's position has been vindicated," Katz said.

A trial set for late July or early August will determine whether action taken by the Lake Station City Council on June 16 was legal, Lake Station City Attorney Ray Szarmach said. 

"The temporary mandate puts a hold on the council's action until we go to trial," Szarmach said.

The City Council agreed June 13 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 recently fired stepdaughter of Mayor Keith 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.

"The two positions are going back under the budget and supervision of Clerk-Treasurer Brenda Samuels where they belong," Soderquist said.

Hawkins' order will return Brakley, who was rehired, to her previous status of being terminated, Katz said.

Anderson said before the June 16 meeting that 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 department from which they were removed four years ago.

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.

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