Hammond resident and acting Hammond City Court Judge Gerald Kray has been doing a professional and competent job acting as Hammond City Court Judge since the sudden passing of Hammond’s elected Judge Jeffery Harkin. Nonetheless, Hammond City Officials learned from the media today that the Chairwoman of the St. John Republican Party, Amy Jorgensen, has been selected by Indiana’s outgoing Governor Mike Pence, as Hammond’s next City Court Judge.
In reaching his decision, Governor Pence overlooked several Hammond Republican attorneys who expressed an interest in the City Judge vacancy and chose a St. John resident instead. This St. John resident, who will be Hammond’s new judge admits (link here) that she has never even practiced law, yet Gov. Pence still appointed her.
The City of Hammond has a “Residency Ordinance” that has been in effect since 2006. This appointment flies in the face of Hammond’s longstanding policy on residency and sends the wrong message to the employees of the city and the citizens of Hammond. The Hammond City Court is one the busiest in the state and it requires a working knowledge of our city its residents as well as criminal and civil law.
Needless to say, this move by the outgoing Governor is wrong for Hammond. Had anyone from the Pence administration asked me as the city’s four term mayor who I thought would be effective in this position, I could have supplied him with names of qualified Republicans in Hammond who would have been thrilled with this opportunity. Instead, the city of Hammond will get an appointed political ally of Gov. Pence who admits to have never practiced law and doesn’t live in our city.
-Mayor Thomas M. McDermott Jr.