Pension of former jail matron questioned

2012-03-13T15:00:00Z Pension of former jail matron questionedBy Stan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
March 13, 2012 3:00 pm  • 

LAPORTE | The wife of a previous LaPorte County sheriff is collecting a pension but several deputies want it to stop because she wasn't an actual officer.

Current Sheriff Mike Mollenhauer said he has the authority to cancel the pension, but that could mean a costly lawsuit.

He said he'll decide what to do after speaking to each of his deputies on what they feel should be done.

"I will see what their wishes are," Mollenhauer said.

Lauren Arnold collects $500 per month from the merit officer's pension fund -- supplied by a percentage of the revenue collected from civil processing fees.

She was jail matron during the eight years her husband, Jim Arnold, was sheriff. She began collecting the pension after he left office.

Several deputies went before the LaPorte County Police Merit Commission last week asking her pension be terminated saying the fund is only for law enforcement officers.

Mollenhauer agreed with his deputies but said pulling the pension could result in a lawsuit much more costly than the pension Lauren Arnold is now collecting.

The sheriff's wife, Sue Mollenhauer, is now the jail matron.

The matron's primary duty is to operate the kitchen and feed the offenders.

Mike Mollenhauer said his wife, along with workers in the jail and civilian officers, are entitled only to a pension from the Public Employees Retirement Fund.

LaPorte County Councilman Rich Mrozinski said he sees no need to try to discontinue Lauren Arnold's pension.

He said it went into effect after all of the necessary approvals processes at the local and state level had been followed.

"It's a done deal. I don't see why we need to go digging into the past. Does that mean we're going go back and spend money on lawsuits. For what? What is that going prove. I'm not going to concern myself with it,'' said Mrozinski.

Jim Arnold served as sheriff until 2006.

He is now the District 8 state senator. He's seeking another four-year term and feels politics are being played to derail his bid for reelection.

"It's an election year, so it's seems to be time to raise the dead," Jim Arnold said.

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