Is this the Same Deal, as Before?


Commissioners Weigh in about Judgeís request 


By: Pat Hunter

October 26, 2008


The Budget Committee was a piece of cake but the workshop meeting was anything but that.

Judge Bill Russellís earlier request to the Budget Committee became a hot bed of discussion. The Budget Committee didnít ask very many questions but other commissioners at the workshop were willing to ask a whole lot more. Maybe that is why Mayor Doyle Arp did not recommend Commissioner Nancy Marcus and Bob Farnke to the Budget Committee. Sometimes both commissioners would ask some hard questions and give some candid opinions unlike new Budget Committee members, Commissioners Meers and Duff who donít seem to like to ask many questions or rock the boat. 


There was a lengthy discussion and many questions about paying a General Sessionís court clerk employee for two jobs while she could only do one job at a time. Concerns and comments were flying right and left. Is she still going to be on the General Sessionís court clerk job, at the same time and get paid for both jobs?


Evidently there are times when she is called in, weekends, nights, whenever replied Finance Director Tracy Blair. The Judgeís request is for an additional $250 per month. That part will come from the Judgeís budget but her regular wages will come from her current job right now as General Sessionís clerk. That came up before, Marcus informed everyone, referring to when she was on the Budget Committee. Marcus was familiar with previous requests made by Judge Russell.


Commissioner Miller tried to explain to Marcus, we have asked Judge Russell to keep track of her hours that she spends doing Cissy Chapmanís work or backup or call in, so when we look at the budget next spring we can see how many hours that she is working and whether $250 is a reasonable number. The Judge mentioned earlier at the Budget Committee meeting that he did not track her hours but would start doing so.


Video Clip - Is Cissy getting an assistant, no Park replied.  Someone thought that the court clerk was filling in for Cissy in the early mornings, if she was not there.  This is the same issue that came up before, said Commissioner Don Miller. Sounds like a salary increase but they are not calling it that, added Commissioner Bob Franke. Thatís why we want some data replied Miller.


It appears that Commissioner Don Miller voted to recommend approving a line item budget amendment for Judge Russell and paying the court clerk first. However, other commissioners wanted their concerns addressed. If this were Don Millerís personal money, would he be this generous and pay someone and ask questions later?


She will still be Lisaís (Nile) employee but that portion of her work will come out of the Judgeís budget. Several concerns were shared. Why are we making a budget amendment before we get the information from Judge Russell? Why wouldnít you just turn in the hours that the person works, and again subtract her regular salary if she is working the same hours for two different people and drawing two different salaries from the county? Commissioners Chris Park and Miller replied, we donít know.


Pay her for 40-hours no matter, which office that she is in and if she comes in at night pay her some overtime. Commissioner Marcus asked, why pay her $250 flat, whether she comes in or not? Maples agreed with Marcus, thatís how I would feel. Commissioner Earlena Maples other comment, ďItís an add on to her salary.Ē Video Clip Itís been declined twice; I just wanted to make sure this is the same deal, said Marcus.


There were too many questions and nobody seemed to know the answers especially the Budget Committee, the very committee that approved the recommendation. Judge Russell will be invited to attend the next County Commission meeting on November 3rd at the Annex.