Lake council funds 2 juvenile court positions
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent February 11, 2014 8:44PM
Updated: February 12, 2014 1:00PM
CROWN POINT — Juvenile court Judge Thomas Stefaniak will get a new chief deputy for the courts and a nurse for the juvenile detention center.
The Lake County Council on Tuesday approved both positions and the transfers needed to fund them. Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago, voted against both measures.
Stefaniak said the way the system currently works is there are a number of individual managers across the departments under his supervision. His responsibilities include juvenile court, IV-D child support court and the detention center.
“The chief deputy will coordinate everything,” Stefaniak said.
The chief deputy would be responsible for handling the day-to-day administration issues that the various managers bring forward, freeing Stefaniak up to concentrating on the courts. He said the position will allow him to focus on the law and not administration. The chief deputy would also coordinate outside placements of detainees.
Stefaniak moved $30,000 from maintenance and services contracts to help pay for the position. The remainder of the salary will come from the commissioners’ budget. He expects the department will be able to pay for the position on its own in 2015.
The nurse position is an existing position but it had not been filled. Originally Stefaniak said he was trying to work with the Sheriff’s Department and Correctional Health Indiana to share nursing services, but it did not work out. Officials approved moving $36,585 from medical and hospital services to professionals to pay for the position.
Cid maintained her stance against adding new county workers until all county employees, who have not received pay increases in years, receive raises. She said those positions also would add more pressure to the already stressed self-insurance pool.
“I just feel this is not the time to create new positions,” Cid said.
Councilman Eldon Strong, R-Crown Point, said he is a supporter of Stefaniak and the things the judge is doing and plans to do with the juvenile justice system, but the decision to approve the position was a causing him a “little struggle.” Strong generally opposes the addition of unfunded positions. He said he is trusting the position will be funded in the future as Stefaniak said.
“The judge is a man of his word. He said next year,” Strong said.