(La Porte County, IN) - For now, the selection of a new attorney for La Porte County government has not put a damper on two years of ongoing political turmoil as hoped.
Andrew B. Jones was appointed County Attorney Wednesday by a majority of the three member La Porte County Commission during its first meeting of 2023.
Jones replaced Shaw Friedman, who was alleged by his political opponents to be the primary source of the tremendous unrest on the commission and elsewhere in county government.
The 37-year old Jones lives and owns a legal practice in South Bend. He openly expressed appreciation for his appointment.
“It is my solemn promise to everybody in this room that I will never seek to embarrass anyone, to ridicule anyone, to make anyone feel like a public comment that they have made is something that shouldn’t be taken seriously by this commission,” he said.
Jones also said he looks forward to working with all three commissioners and contributing to a more peaceful environment.
“I try to be a no drama, no non-sense type of person. I think we need to lower the temperature in these meetings,” he said.
County Attorney is among the positions filled by the commissioners at the beginning of each year.
Opposing the appointment was Commissioner Rich Mrozinski, who helped provide majority support of Friedman being named county attorney the past four years. Mrozinski is in the minority now that Connie Gramarossa took her seat beside Commissioner Joe Haney after she defeated Sheila Matias in November.
Mrozinski challenged the appointment because Jones once represented La Porte County Auditor Tim Stabosz in one of the lawsuits Friedman filed against Stabosz.
“To me, this sounds like a conflict of interest,” he said.
The lawsuits alleging defamation of character and wrongful non-payment for some of his legal services provided to county government remain undecided.
La Porte resident Rick Kentaft said the connection between Jones and Stabosz is nothing more than the “cronyism” Friedman and his supporters were accused and heavily criticized by their political opponents of taking part in.
“You’ve done exactly what you complained about before. I find that very interesting,” he said.
Stabosz said he had nothing to do with Jones being hired and the appointment caught him by surprise.
“I was in no way involved with the interview or solicitation process involving any attorneys this new commission pursued or considered,” he said.