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Mediation between County and Judge Unsuccessful

Friday, June, 7, 2019

The dispute over employee pay will head back to court after mediation failed between the Howard County Council and Howard Superior I Judge Bill Menges.  The failure came after several mediation attempts passed without a resolution.  


Had mediation been successful, it could have meant the opportunity to avoid a heft legal bill for the county since mediation is less expensive.  The judge’s funding mandate will now head to trial.  The mediation attempt came after the Indiana Supreme Court ordered the judge and the council to try the process regarding salaries for Superior I court employees.


The details of the mediation and why it failed were not released publicly, which is the norm as mediations are typically private and confidential.  According to a member of the county council, “That’s all confidential.  The mediation is all confidential.  No one can talk about it at that point. ”


As a result of the failed mediation, the Indiana Supreme Court will appoint a new attorney to preside over the upcoming trial.  It must be someone different than the attorney overseeing the mediation and must be from outside of the area.  A date has not yet been set for the trial.


Additionally, both sides have hired their own legal representation.  They were accompanies by their lawyers during the mediation and the same will be true during the upcoming trial.  


The failure of the mediation is the latest development in an ongoing dispute that began in February when the mandate was issued to the county by the judge.  The goal of the mandate was to raise funds for his court’s employees who are not paid as much as those working in other courts within the county.