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Delegation opens door to raising salaries

Thursday, March 14, 2013 10:28 PM
Last updated Friday, March 15, 2013 2:04 AM
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The stage is set for Augusta legislators to adjust the salaries of one or more Richmond County elected officials, whether or not the Augusta Commission agrees.

Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta, said he met a Friday deadline for advertising the delegation’s intentions in the newspaper if it agrees to do so before March 20, the deadline to file local bills.

“The groundwork is there in the event that (commissioners) send us something saying they support it, or if they can’t get the support, we’ll have to make the decision on our own,” Howard said.

In January, new Richmond County Sheriff Richard Round­tree and new Solicitor-Gen­eral Kellie Kenner-McIn­tyre went through City Administrator Fred Russell in seeking salaries higher than the minimums required under state law.

Russell put the question to commissioners, who voted 6-4 after heated debate to pay the increases.

Other requests for raises soon followed from Richmond County’s two civil and magistrate court judges, probate judge and clerk of courts.

On Monday, a commission committee declined to approve a resolution for the delegation to review all Richmond County elected officials’ salaries. The matter is set to go before the commission Tuesday.

Commission approval is not required for the delegation to pass a local bill raising the salaries, though a majority of local House members and both Augusta senators must approve it.

Among those who have reached out to the delegation are civil and magistrate judges Bill Jennings and Scott Allen and Coroner Grover Tuten, whose salaries the delegation has not examined or adjusted in years, Howard said.
In 2007, legislation raised the salaries of the clerk of courts, solicitor, district attorney, sheriff and Superior Court judges. It left the rest of Augusta elected officials’ salaries as is.

Jennings and Allen earn $116,702 and $118,206, which they noted in a letter to commissioners is less than what is made by Au­gusta’s general counsel, Rich­mond County State Court judges and Augusta circuit Superior Court judges.

Tuten’s salary is $65,000 according to the human resources department, and he hasn’t had a pay increase since 2002, when the delegation set his salary. Probate Judge Harry James makes $109,500, while Mayor Deke Co­pen­haver’s salary is $75,844.

Howard said the delegation has had little time to meet to discuss making changes but would be able to craft a bill addressing all of the salaries by the deadline if it chose to do so.

“I’m sure each member is probably doing some of their own research,” he said, but, “It’s a process that requires the will of the majority of the body.”

Representing Augusta in the Legislature are Howard, Earn­est Smith, Gloria Frazier, Quincy Murphy and Har­die Davis, all Augusta Dem­ocrats, and Republicans Barbara Sims of Augusta and Jesse Stone of Waynesboro.

AUGUSTA DELEGATION

• Rep. Gloria Frazier, D-Hephzibah

• Rep. Wayne Howard, D-Augusta

• Rep. Quincy Murphy, D-Augusta

• Rep. Barbara Sims, R-Augusta

• Rep. Earnest Smith, D-Augusta

• Sen. Hardie Davis, D-Augusta

• Sen. Jesse Stone, R-Waynesboro

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studmuffin1533
305
Points
studmuffin1533 03/14/13 - 10:27 pm
5
0
Overpaid

They're all overpaid. Cut their salaries by 50% so they'll have to get by on less like the rest of us.

rebellious
21419
Points
rebellious 03/15/13 - 12:25 am
5
0
Look at the list

and what strikes me dead (no pun intended) between the eyes is Grover Tutens paltry salary. This man is a humble servant who sees people at their worst (literally). But he would never ask for an increase. He knows what the radio is playing!

The rest.....anyone making over 6 figures and especially those serving on the legal side... should just shut up. If they want more money, the private sector is calling. Let them compete like the rest of us do.

With the economy and unemployment as it currently stands, and county rank and file foregoing annual increases, it is unthinkable for them to accept raises.

But keep this up, and the pitchforks will start coming out!

jpbrig
277
Points
jpbrig 03/15/13 - 03:24 am
0
0
Sen Jackson

Is Sen Jackson a part of the delegation now?

nocnoc
47279
Points
nocnoc 03/15/13 - 04:50 am
2
0
My 1st thought was

Heck let them, and make the State of Ga pay the salaries.

Then after that brief Blonde moment.
I said #@^&, I pay GA taxes, so matter how they worm their way around to get the raises, I end up paying for a raise, for somebody that knew walking in the door the salary.

So I asked why the end run using State level elected officials?

Then I started counting The (D') vs. (R's) beside the names and I had an Einstein moment and my answer. But surely there had to be more than party politics?

So I pull up the Bio's and pictures of those state officials and had a Stephen W. Hawking moment.

Riverman1
90647
Points
Riverman1 03/15/13 - 05:34 am
4
0
Last night I went to sleep in

Last night I went to sleep in Detroit City.

Marion Williams said just take the money out of the Water Dept. funds to pay for raises for everybody. What a county...free money.

bubbasauce
23036
Points
bubbasauce 03/15/13 - 11:00 am
2
0
Squeezing Blood out of

Squeezing Blood out of Turnips! Just when you think you've seen it all. Great idea from Marion Williams, NOT!! Isn't this what did in a political figure several years back? Oh yes I forgot,we have evolved now so it's quite alright to steal ( I meant borrow) from another pot.

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