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Budget Hearings - Magistrate Judge's Salary Defended

BUDGET HEARINGS—MAGISTRATE JUDGE’S SALARY DEFENDED

Last Tuesday, 9/20/05, Mary Patrick, TWG Chairman, attended the budget hearing for the Magistrate Court.  Here’s the report that was submitted—

It was quite a shock to me to hear a prepared speech by Dan Jordan defending the fact that Ken Jackson, Magistrate Judge, isn’t in his office but should still be paid as if he’s working 40 hours a week.  Of the 45 minutes allotted to the Clerk of Courts for Juvenile, Superior, and Magistrate Court, Dan Jordan took approximately 20 minutes to read his speech and make comments concerning the lack of time Ken Jackson spends in his office.  At one point, Mr. Jordan said, “He is indeed away from the office several mornings a week.  Judge Jackson also coaches in the afternoon during certain times of the year. He has done so for over 5 years.”   Then he spoke about the voters and said if they had problems with Mr. Jackson not being in the office they could vote him out at the next election.  He also went on to say, “I am offended and disgusted that the TWG has distorted and misrepresented these issues to you and the people who read their postings on their website.”  Mr. Jordan ended with, “If you want to talk with Judge Jackson directly about any of these issues he will be happy to meet with you.” Comm. Bernard told Mr. Jordan that he was told Planning and Zoning didn’t get much cooperation from Judge Jackson.  Mr. Jordan denied that.  Comm. Bernard and Comm. Johnson both stated at the budget hearing that they are having the County Attorney look into the law and what can be done about the situation.

 

After Mr. Jordan was finished with his presentation he left and refused to stay to hear any public comment.  I then asked the BOC, “Just where was Judge Jackson??  He’s an elected official.  Why didn’t he attend the budget hearing?”  I then told them about Mr. Jackson’s schedule just THAT afternoon (and most afternoons during the week).  Mr. Jackson and Mr. Jordan went to lunch around 12:45pm.  At 1:45pm, they returned to the courthouse.  They both went into Mr. Jordan’s office.  At 2:00PM, Mr. Jackson came out of Mr. Jordan’s office and went to his office.  At 2:15PM, Mr. Jackson came out of the courthouse, got in his truck, and drove to the ballfield.  At 2:25PM, Mr. Jackson started softball practice, and was there during the rest of the afternoon.  This is typical for Mr. Jackson, and it’s ridiculous that the taxpayers are paying for this extra-curricular activity of Judge Jackson.  It was also questioned as to how Judge Jackson is receiving an extra 5% increase when he has only held one full term as Magistrate.  Mr. Myers said he would check into that. 

 

TWG Comments:

It is doubtful that this type of absence from the office would be tolerated of any other county employee.  Yes, he’s an elected official, but the County pays his salary (and that $20,000 supplement).  We continue to urge you to call your Commissioner and voice your opinion about this situation.  We still expect an hour’s work for an hour’s pay—from all county employees.  Would it be necessary to pay a Deputy Magistrate if Judge Jackson was in the office when he was supposed to be?  This situation is totally out of hand.
 

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