October 22, 2007


At their meeting on July 10, 2007, the BOC voted to cut the Magistrate’s pay in half if he failed to provide written documentation of his hours worked.

See: http://www.taxdogs.com/071507magsalarycut.htm

Through Open Records requests, the TWG has learned that indeed the Magistrate’s hours have been cut from 80 hours per pay period (every 2 weeks) to 40 hours per pay period. The gross pay amount appears to have been cut approximately $1,010 per pay period. However, TWG has questioned how the net pay is so very similar to what it was at 80 hours pay.

See Check stubs for 9/1/07, 9/15/07, and 9/29/07 here.

The latest stub shows ConOffS, which is the Magistrate’s $20,000 supplement, in the amount of $769.23. The salary at 20 hours per week or 40 hours per pay period is $1010.09. The net pay on the 9/29/07 check with 40 hours is $1047.87; the net pay on the 9/1/07 check with 80 hours is $1074.21.

Withholdings are private and that information is redacted or hidden from the public. It is entirely possible that the Magistrate has changed his withholdings to enable him to receive the same amount of net pay. However, sources have told TWG that the BOC was informed that if the Magistrate’s pay was cut, there would be a lawsuit. As of this past week, no lawsuit has been filed.

The Magistrate has yet to document his hours. The Magistrate still works out of the County as a Juvenile Defender and receives an extra pay check from Jasper County as a Juvenile Defender in the courts here. The Magistrate has attended many if not all the Softball games and has coached in some of them.

See: Picture from Monticello News with Coach Jackson sharing in the Victory of the Softball Team (8/23/07, Monticello News, Page 16). http://www.taxdogs.com/images/102207SoftballCoach.jpg

Anyone who is 25 years or older, has a high school diploma, and has lived in the County for at
least one year is qualified to be a Magistrate according to the Georgia Code:

§ 15-10-22. Qualifications of magistrates; restrictions on practice of law
(a) Each magistrate shall have been a resident of the county for one year next preceding the
beginning of his term of office and shall as of such date be at least 25 years of age and shall possess a high school diploma or its equivalent.

With a base salary of $46,408.38, health care benefits, retirement benefits, and a “staff” to help, TWG believes there are a number of people in Jasper County with good common sense that could run for and perform the duties of the office of Magistrate Judge. Many counties in Georgia have non-lawyer Magistrates that do a fine job and are available on a daily basis.


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