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December 6, 2006

I-TEAM BACK AGAIN—TV SEGMENT EXPECTED TONIGHT

A call from a citizen that was in the Courthouse yesterday afternoon said Dale Russell from the I-Team was back and he was interviewing Comm. Bernard and Judge Ken Jackson. At 3:00 PM the Judge was still in his office because there was no basketball practice yesterday—the JV Games started at 4PM.

Under the term of Bennett, Wyatt, Crow, Pennamon, and Hill, Judge Jackson was given a $20,000 supplement on top of his salary. According to information provided by the Clerk of Court, Dan Jordan, Judge “Coach” Jackson has been coaching and doing “private practice law work” for over 5 years. The letter requesting the supplement obtained by the TWG under Open Records shows that the Judge promises to have MORE of a presence in the County if he gets this supplement. He also promises a variety of other things that have not materialized. He certainly hasn’t had more of a presence in the County.

The BOC voted on Monday to require Judge Coach Jackson to verify his hours in order to be paid. If he does not do this, the BOC will turn the matter over to JQC (Judicial Qualifications Commission.) TWG has presented some questions to the BOC about this vote after the meeting:

1. How long will they give Judge Ken Jackson to verify his hours? By the next pay check or 5 months like it took him to answer and decline their last request?

2. Nothing was said about allowing the Judge to practice law during the same hours he is "full time judge." Will they let that continue?

3. Are they going to allow him to be paid as Juvenile Defender in Jasper County while being Magistrate Judge at the same time? This is truly double dipping.

4. Judge Ken Jackson SAYS he is full time. When was the position made full time? There is nothing in the minutes that says he is after reading the minutes from the time he was appointed (September 1997) through 2004. When he was appointed, the Magistrate job was part time. Just because he was elected doesn't make him full time—there are plenty of part time Magistrates that are elected in counties much larger than Jasper. The law states he has to work 40 hours a week or more to be full time.

5. How long must Judge Jackson verify his hours and will he paid by the hour or maintain his salary?

Either tonight (Wed, 12/6/06) or Thursday (12/7/06) the new interviews are supposed to air on Fox 5 Atlanta at 6:00PM and 10:00PM. Be sure to tune in!

Meanwhile, contact Rep. Jim Cole (jmalcolmcole@hotmail.com), Senator Johnny Grant (sengrant@alltel.net), and your Commissioners (see www.taxdogs.com) about this.
Rep. Cole and Sen. Grant can introduce legislation to make the Magistrate job a part time job and to have the law rewritten to clarify what is full time and when Judges can practice law. (Superior Court judges and others cannot practice law while serving.) Your involvement by calling these people that are in the position to do something will make a difference.

TWG
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