Starke County Prosecutor Talks about Decision to Replace Chief Deputy Prosecutor

Nicholas Bourff

Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff, in an exclusive interview Wednesday with WKVI, talked about the need to replace his Chief Deputy, Todd Wallsmith, with former Chief Prosecutor Mary Ryan.

“There were several factors that led to a quick decision,” said Bourff. “I knew going into it that this was going to be an issue I’d have to face. About a month ago when I gave an interview here, I said ‘if I’m creative enough with how I handle this, I think I can work through it’. I really did think that and then I got into the office and I learned that in order to make it work, I was going to have to absorb not only the previous Prosecutor’s case load, but also the previous Chief Deputy’s case load.”

But it continued to go downhill from there.

“To make it worse, after one week, I got a two weeks notice from my full-time Deputy Prosecutor, Jeff Williams. He was offered a more lucrative position closer to home and I don’t fault him for wanting to take that, but that really sped things up, as far as how I needed to go about handling this.”

In the end, it was a tough decision for the new Prosecutor to make because both he and Wallsmith had come out of the same law firm, Nichols and Wallsmith.

“Personally, it was a very difficult move for me to make because Todd Wallsmith is a good friend of mine and he’s a good, intelligent attorney. It was a difficult thing because it’s this conflict is not something that I can fix or something that he can fix. It’s not anyone’s fault, it’s just the way it is.”

Bourff told Ted Hayes in the interview that he is well pleased with his new Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan, saying “we will work well together.”

There is no word yet on who will be taking Jeff Williams’ position in the Prosecutors office. Both Ryan and Williams were on former Prosecutor Julianne Havens’ staff.