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Jackson appointed judge for county lawsuit
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 Judge Bart Stanley has recused himself due to a conflict of interest from hearing the case of four county officials versus County Executive John Pelham
 Circuit Judge Vanessa A. Jackson, Judge for the 14th District, has been ordered to hear the case to its conclusion. Prior to her appointment to the Tennessee Circuit Court 14th District, which serves Coffee County, Jackson was in private practice at a Tullahoma law firm.
 The lawsuit filed by Trustee Darlene Bryant, Clerk and Master Myra Mara, Circuit Court Clerk Bernie Morris, and County Court Clerk Lesa Scott seeks to increase the pay of county employees in four departments.
 The lawsuit came after several county employees were hired into the Financial Management Department earning $28,500 a year. This created controversy because the county has several longtime office employees who earn around $20,000.
 “I have someone who has worked here almost four years and she is only making $18,313.50 per year,” Mara said.
  The four offices in question filed letters of agreement stating their initial salary requests to Pelham’s office. None of the offices could come to an agreement on salaries, even though Pelham had offered a 5 percent increase to each office’s lowest paid staff members. All county employees were also promised a $500 increase in pay for the next fiscal year.
The elected officials tried to negotiate pay raises for their employees with Pelham, but those negotiations broke down resulting in the lawsuit.
 Bryant and Mara say according to Tennessee Code Annotated 8-20-101, clerks and masters, county trustees, county clerks, and clerks of circuit, criminal, and special courts may set the amount of employees necessary to run their offices and may also set the salary each should be paid.
 Many county employees agree a pay scale across the board would be the most fair way to pay all employees.
Bryant said she has heard nothing new concerning the lawsuit since Jackson has been appointed judge.
“We just want it to be over. They sent us interrogatories and we answered them. I thought we might have heard something by now, but we haven’t heard anything,” she said.