County commission approves filling family court vacancy

Despite a pair of dissenting votes, St. Joseph County commissioners on Tuesday approved a staffing request for an impending vacancy in Family Court.

The 3-2 vote means Judge David Tomlinson and director Tom Robertson can begin searching for a candidate to replace Cathy Coleman, juvenile register. Coleman’s last day is Feb. 28, as she accepted the county’s early-retirement incentive.

Commissioner Allen Balog prefaced his opposing vote by saying commissioners last year made a commitment to a hiring freeze. Approving the request, he said, would set a precedent and be counterproductive to the county’s goal to re-establish its financial footing.

County administrator Teresa Doehring said she is confident Tomlinson and Robertson explored every option as an alternative to replacing Coleman.

With benefits, Coleman’s position cost the county about $73,000 annually.

In addition to Balog, Commissioner John Dobberteen opposed the motion.

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