Starke County Prosecutor Leslie Baker presented a request to the commissioners last week for a new position and new job titles for two existing positions in her office.
Baker presented job descriptions for a paralegal, a legal secretary, and an investigator, which is a new position.
Baker noted that there are some duties done by two people in her office that would be better suited with these job descriptions in her office.
The positions were discussed during budget discussions with the Starke County Council. Council President Dave Pearman said as long as Baker could find funding within her already approved budget for 2020, the council would have no problem moving forward with those job descriptions, dependent on commissioner approval.
Commissioner Kathy Norem extensively questioned Baker about the pre-trial diversion process, the signing of probable cause affidavits and dropping charges in higher felony cases, in addition to some turnover in her office. In the end, Norem didn’t support Baker’s request for a new investigator and believes the county can’t keep hiring new employees.
“We’ve had a number of requests for that and I don’t think that we can really do that,” said Norem. “The Sheriff’s Department and the other police departments have investigators. I do think you need to mend some of your fences with the Sheriff’s Department in particular and try to work with them on the investigator there because I don’t think that we can afford to add an investigator at this time.”
Baker countered following Norem’s opinion on the matter.
“When we form our opinions I think it’s important to get both sides of the story,” stated Baker. “By the questions you’ve asked me here that I think it’s very clear about conversations that have happened and nobody has asked my side of things. So, I’ll just leave it at that.”
The commissioners agreed to table the requests.