‘Save the Pulaski County Courthouse Group’ Offers Safety, Security Recommendations

As Pulaski County officials consider long-term facilities plans, the Save the Courthouse group has come up with some recommendations to address safety and security concerns in the meantime. A list of two proposed solutions was presented to the county council Monday. One involves locking all the doors except for one set, and creating a single point of entry staffed by an officer.

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Fiscal Planning Consultant to Pulaski County Council: ‘You’re on a Track That You Can’t Continue On’

Pulaski County’s tax structure is not sustainable. That’s what fiscal planning consultant Jeffrey Peters told the county council during a public hearing Monday. “You’re on a track that you can’t continue on,” he said, “and those income taxes are going to have to be shifted around in some fashion, in order to get you back to an equilibrium to provide services under a revenue model that does not eat up all your cash over time.”

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Pulaski County Chief Deputy Coroner’s Resignation Leads to Heated Wage Discussion

The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office is facing a staffing shortage, following the resignation of the chief deputy. Coroner John Behny told the county council last week that his lone deputy Jon Frain had “had enough.” “I not only lost my chief deputy,” he said. “I also lost a facility for which to check the bodies over and do our autopsies and so forth. I’ve lost all of that. I’ve lost storage of our files. I’ve actually gone backwards. I’ve gone from having an office. I got displaced. I have nothing. Our building isn’t going to be ready for some time.”

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Pulaski County Building Inspector Requests Funding for Full-Time Assistant

Pulaski County Building Inspector Doug Hoover is urging the county council to upgrade his assistant to full-time status. “We’ve got a person that deals with money, does everything with the computer, has got real estate license, got many different things, and you know what? The janitor that pushes a broom makes one dollar more than she does,” Hoover told council members during last week’s public hearing on the 2019 budget. “I’m not very pleased with that.”

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State May Be Looking to Crack Down on Courthouse Security, Judge Tells Pulaski Council

If Pulaski County doesn’t take action to secure its court system, the state may decide to step in. That’s what Circuit Court Judge Michael Shurn told the county council Monday. “The Supreme Court promulgates what we call administrative rules,” he explained. “Security’s always been in the administrative rules. And they had a committee that suggested ‘should’ in some of the stuff. And the board which controls all of the judges sent to the Supreme Court the rule I gave you, which was created by the committee, again, with revisions, and it said ‘It shall,’ not ‘should.’”

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Pulaski County Council Defers Action on Salary Matrix Update

Confusion remains over Pulaski County’s salary matrix, in spite of a new set of written guidelines. Last month, the county council adopted a written set of “Matrix Rules” to help department heads interpret the pay structure that’s already in place. But during last week’s meeting, Auditor Laura Wheeler said the matrix itself would have to be updated to comply with the guidelines, and presented a proposed update to the salary ordinance.

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Pulaski County Officials Continue Working on Masonic Lodge Purchase

The Pulaski County Coroner’s Office is pushing the county council and commissioners to finalize the purchase of the former Winamac Masonic Lodge as close to the original deadline as possible. Last month, the council and commissioners approved a joint ordinance to purchase the building for $50,000 from the Royal Center Masonic Lodge. The plan is to convert it into a dedicated morgue and coroner’s office, which the county has lacked until now.

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Pulaski County Council May Look at Property Taxes to Resolve Budget Shortfalls

The Pulaski County Council is working to make sure the maintenance department has enough money to pay its part-time employees through the end of the year. Maintenance Supervisor Jeff Johnston reminded council members Monday that they’d cut money for part-time pay when they put together this year’s budget. “You guys, at that time, told me to come back halfway through the year and request enough to cover the rest of the year,” he explained. “It’s for $30,016 for Part-Time Help.”

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Pulaski Council Makes Funds Available to Pay Five Sheriff’s Department Staff Members

Making sure money is available to pay Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department employees was the goal of a couple budget items approved by the county council this month. To help balance the county’s General Fund budget, council members had previously moved several staff members’ salaries into other parts of the budget. But that’s led to some new issues.

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Pulaski Council Votes to Correct Improper Payment Made to Highway Department Employees

Confusion about checks paid to two Pulaski County Highway Department employees led to a heated debate during last week’s county council meeting. The first had to do with $2,500 paid to Secretary Jessica Rausch for her duties as asset management coordinator. Last month, council members agreed to transfer that amount into the department’s asset management services line item. Auditor Laura Wheeler then apparently paid the money to Rausch as part of her paycheck. She asked council members last week to adjust the salary ordinance accordingly.

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