Saturday, May 3, 2008

Is Mandate a "four-letter" Word?

"Mandate" is a a harsh and threatening word. It is unfortuante that "mandate" is the word used to describe the process through which a dispute between two separate but equal branches of the government is resolved.

Under the Indiana Constitution, the county council is required to provide the Carroll County Courts with sufficient funds to operate the courts. If the judges believe the funds are not sufficient, they may initiate an action called a "mandate." The Order of Mandate gives the county council notice of what the judges are requesting. The county council can agree to the request, and the matter is concluded. The county council can resist the request. Then, a special judge holds a trial and determines whether the request is for funds reasonable and necessary for the operation of the courts. If the special judge rules that the funds are necessary, then the Indiana Supreme Court must review and approve the decision before it becomes effective.

Given that "Mandate" is to many a four-letter word, why would we mandate funds? Not for personal gain. The county portion of our salary was among the first items eliminated from the budget. We are not asking for our salary to be reinstated. Our concern is not for ourselves but for the judicial system in Carroll County. It is our duty to assure the efficient administration of justice for the citizens of Carroll County, a duty we take seriously.

"The efficient administration of justice which is the duty of the courts, cannot be made to depend upon the discretion or whim of the county council or any other administrative or executive officer of county government." INDIANA SUPREME COURT

Please look at Financial Impact Upon Courts to see the financial impact upon the courts and why the courts will be unable function normally under the current budget.

Please look at Contingency Plans to see what drastic actions will required of the courts under the current budget.