Cedar Lake Park Board can’t meet until town’s appeal is final
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent August 16, 2012 12:06PM
Updated: August 17, 2012 10:12PM
CEDAR LAKE — The newly reinstated Park Board will have to wait until the town’s appeal of the decision to put them back in office is decided before they can continue conducting business.
Lake County Superior Court Judge E. Duane Daugherty ruled Aug. 10 in favor of a stay requested by the town in July when it filed an appeal of the ruling reinstating the board. The ruling prohibits the Park Board from conducting any business until the appeal is decided.
“Basically I found there are legitimate appealable issues. They are addressing a law that is really unclear in Indiana,” Daugherty said Wednesday. He said it would be up to the state Appellate or Supreme Court to interpret the law.
Daugherty said he decided to issue the stay because if the Park Board continues to conduct business, such as set a budget or make changes to Park Department personnel, it could create problems for the town if the appeal is successful.
“I thought there was a possibility of the defendant winning on appeal,” Daugherty said.
On May 14 Lake County Superior Judge Diane Kavadias Schneider sided with the complaint filed by former Park Board members Gina Alessia, Candi Reiling and Andrew Balkema that the Park Board was illegally disbanded by the Town Council, the three were improperly removed from their posts and the property held by the Park Board was unlawfully transferred to the town.
The ruling called for the Park Board and the three members to be reinstated despite the disbanding in March 2011, and enjoined the town from interfering with the Park Board operations.
Town Attorney David Austgen declined to comment on the matter, saying only the stay was approved and the judge’s “order was real clear.”
Karen Tallian, attorney for the plaintiffs, said she was disappointed by Daugherty’s ruling. She said Kavadias Schneider is moving to a different courtroom and Daugherty was temporarily hearing cases in Superior Court Room 1.
“He didn’t know the case as well as Judge Schneider,” Tallian said.
She said the Park Board will not hold any more meetings while the appeal is pending unless they need to meet regarding the pending litigation.