(Iron Mountain - November 27, 2017) - "These courts are money makers," said County Board of Commissioners Chairman Henry Wender (R-Dist 4), at the Board's Monday night meeting.

Wender's comments came during a discussion on the filling of the position of chief deputy for the Dickinson County District Court, and were amplified by Judge Christopher S. Ninomiya, who said that failure to fill the position might "interrupt the revenue stream."

Judge Ninomiya had requested that the position be filled several weeks ago, but the decision was delayed until the Monday night meeting of the Board of Commissioners.

The discussion began when Commissioner John Degenaer, Jr. (D-Dist 5) objected to filling the position saying that it was not budgeted for. Degenaer said that if the board continues agreeing to every hiring request, they are eventually going to have to start laying people off because "the money just isn't there."

Commissioner Joe Stevens (R-Dist 1) said he had been assured by the County Controller, Brian Bousley, that the money is available in the budget.  Commissioner Ann Martin (R-Dist 2) who chairs the Finance Committee said she had received no such assurance. Nevertheless, Martin voted in favor of filling the position.

Before the vote was taken, Judge Ninomiya addressed the board, saying that he had no choice but to fill the position since it is required by statute.

The compromise appears to be that the Judge will fill the position by promoting from within the court staff. The board will then have to decided if that vacated position should be filled.

The motion to proceed with filling the position was made by Commissioner Stevens. It was approved by a vote of four to one, with the only dissenting vote coming from Commissioner Degenaer.