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Municipal judge resigns in Delavan

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ANN MARIE AMES
March 20, 2010
— The city’s municipal court judge has resigned a week after firing his court clerk.

The city council this week authorized an outside audit of the court’s records.


Judge LeRoy Himebauch on Thursday wrote a letter of resignation to the city council and administration.


On Thursday, March 11, Himebauch fired Municipal Court Clerk Henry Johnson, Administrator Joe Salitros said.


On Wednesday, the council authorized city staff to hire Baker Tilly to audit the city’s municipal court records. The council discussed the matter in closed session.


Himebauch’s decision to fire Johnson came after reports from the Wisconsin Department of Motor Vehicles that Johnson was not promptly reporting citations to the state, Salitros said.


“There were some gaps in the filing of citations in a timely manner with the DMV,” Salitros said. “They had a significant number that could not be accounted for. They believe they weren’t being sent in on a timely basis.”


The city also authorized Baker Tilley to audit the court’s financial records, Salitros said.


“It’s not that there are any suspicions,” Salitros said. “But as long as we’re having someone come in, they might as well look at everything.”


In the past, questions have been raised about the low amount of money the court was bringing in, Salitros said.


The council authorized the audit on the advice of Kenosha County Judge Mary Wagner, who is the chief municipal judge of the district including Walworth County, Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis said.


“There’s some serious stuff there that needs to looked into,” Nieuwenhuis said.


Baker Tilly could not give the city an exact price of the audit, but it will cost more than $15,000, Salitros said.


The audit will start the week of April 5. The city expects a report by the end of April, Salitros said.


Johnson worked for the city for five years, Salitros said. The position is part-time and is appointed by the municipal judge. When Johnson left, he was being paid $17.32 per hour, Salitros said.


Himebauch has served as municipal judge since being elected in 2000. He is running for re-election in April and is challenged by James Ritchie, 519 Betzer Road, Unit F, Delavan. Ritchie is a retired city of Delavan police officer.


The Gazette could not reach Himebauch for comment.



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