Commissioners deny State Court judge’s pay request

Following a closed door meeting last week, the Grady County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to deny the request of State Court Judge Bill Bass for an increase in his compensation for 2013 and 2014.
Judge Bass was seeking compensation for the value of the insurance provided to county personnel that the judge chose not to take since he had other insurance coverage.
According to Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar, Judge Bass was seeking between $34,000 and $40,000 added to his pay for 2013 and in 2014.
However, Judge Bass was offering to pay the county “80-percent” of the money back.
The judge was hoping to have higher compensation this year and next to benefit his retirement, which is based on his highest two years of salary.
“I think the law requires you not cut pay or benefits to a judge while he is in office. The benefit is mine,” Judge Bass said.
The State Court judge appeared before the county commission on Dec. 3 requesting to meet with county officials to negotiate an agreement. He hinted that he might take legal action against the county if an agreement could not be reached.
Last week, Judge Bass complained that there had not been any negotiations and that a meeting between him and the county administrator and Commissioner Elwyn Childs was hastily called on Thursday, Dec. 12, before Childs was to leave on an out-of-town trip.
“This is a matter of helping me with my retirement. I will pay you back the moment I get your check. The constitution provides for judge’s compensation and it can’t be reduced while I’m still in office,” Judge Bass said.
He added, “It’s due me, and it will not cost you a dime to cooperate with me.”
Vice Chairman T.D. David made the motion to deny the judge’ s request and Commissioner Charles Norton seconded it with all commissioners voting in favor of denying the request.
In a memo to the board written earlier this month, Judge Bass wrote, “From January 1, 2009, and continuing to this day, you have not furnished me with the health insurance provided to others. This was previously provided to me. I would very much like to resolve this matter without resorting to the courts for a resolution.”
Following the board’s vote last week, Judge Bass expressed his disappointment with the decision, but said he respected the board’s decision.

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