COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DENY REQUEST BY DISTRICT JUDGE NINOMIYA FOR HIRING OF FULL-TIME CLERK FOR COURT

(Iron Mountain - January 09, 2018) - Adhering strictly to the recently adopted County budget, County commissioners on Monday denied a request by Judge Christopher Ninomiya for the hiring of a full time clerk for the District Court.

Though Ninomiya was recently appointed to replace retired Judge Richard Celello in the Circuit Court, he continues handling his duties as District Court Judge pending appointment of a replacement for the District Court judgeship. That appointment must be made by the Republican Governor, Rick Snyder. There has been no indication from the Governor's office as to when that appointment might be made. It is generally believed that the position will go to current Prosecuting Attorney Lisa Richards, also a Republican, though that remains speculation until the Governor announces his decision.

The motion to hire a clerk was made by Commissioner John Degenaer (D-Dist 5), who chairs the County's Employee Relations committee. Degenaer cast the only affirmative vote.

The four to one vote denying the Judge's request came after County Controller Brian Bousley informed the Board that the position is not included in the current budget, and that he doesn't know where the money would come from. Before the vote, Board Chairman Henry Wender (D-Dist 4) said that he would like to hold off on the hire for awhile, until they are able to see how the Court manages without that position.

Degenaer later explained the reason for his affirmative vote, saying that the Board has approved every other hiring request that has come before it.

In other action, the Board approved the reappointment of Sally Blom and Steven Zurcher to the Dickinson County Healthcare System Board of Trustees. While both appointments are for terms ending in December of 2021, it is unlikely that the board will still exist at that time, due to ongoing negotiations which will likely result in the system being taken over by Bellin Health, of Green Bay. That takeover is anticipated due to the continuing financial problems being suffered by the system, due to low reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid, as well as Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Officials negotiations are underway, with County Controller Brian Bousley tasked with negotiating on behalf of the County.

 

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