The discussion between the Starke County Commissioners and outgoing Prosecutor Julianne Havens came to an amicable agreement Monday night. Havens had earlier submitted claims for law enforcement needs and the Commissioners questioned whether the funding was appropriate for the funding source. Havens, herself, eliminated some of the items from questionable categories.
“It gets complicated because I can use the IV-D fund for child support enforcement and for five years I’ve been using it to support child support,” explained Prosecutor Havens. “This year, I was going to try and focus on the enforcement aspect of it which, to me, means police. They agreed with my argument. However, they indicated that if an audit were to happen, the way they look at it is a proportional nexus. They are going to look at it whether or not the police are out supporting child support, making arrests, picking up people on body attachments and things of that nature. Their fear is that the proportionate nexus is not going to be enough for them to say that these funds that were spent were reasonable.”
All along, Havens claimed that what appeared, to some, to be a “hasty” draining of funds before leaving office, but she was only speeding up what she had promised to do if reelected.
“One request was a car for the Knox Police Department, there have been various weapons that the Sheriff’s Department and the Hamlet Police Department requested, and North Judson had a variety of different things that they had as well,” said Havens. “I know the Indiana State Police had a lot of requests in terms of clothing. They are out in the wind, the cold, the weather, and they wanted to be able to get boots and under armor gear so some of those things basically had to be withdrawn.”
When defeated, she decided to speed up the process. Havens was asked if the spending down in some of these funds would hamper the future Prosecutor in running the office.
“Let me clear up something. I look back when I started in 2005, and on December 29th, 2004, the Pretrial Diversion Fund had $521. In the IV-D fund, there was $95. I built those up under my administration, the IV-D fund up to $63,000 and the Pretrial Diversion Fund was upwards of $100,000. At the beginning of December, it was $89,000. I believe that if I was to leave them with over $20,000 that would be sufficient because those monies are always coming in. That would be sufficient for them to keep going and to be able to handle the office.”
In the end, the Commissioners said that they would approve the claims if enough money is in the funds.