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Raise in works for judicial commissioners

Warren County Judicial Commissioners aren’t getting cellphones. Instead, they may be getting a wage increase.

During Thursday night’s Budget and Finance Committee meeting, Finance Department director Justin Cotten explained a smartphone plan would be $55 a month per county-issued smartphone. 

“If we did just the full-time judicial commissioners, which was an option that was considered, it would be $1,980,” said Cotten. “If we did all seven, it would be $4,620.”

According to judicial commissioner David Williams, several of the judicial commissioners said they’d prefer compensation over a county-issued cellphone.

Cotten explained to the committee a raise could be done if county commissioners decided to give a raise to judicial commissioners with the understanding it’s to pay their cellphone bill.

Asked Commissioner Richard Grissom “So, if you’re at the jail and the commissioner is needed, is there a phone in your office there or do they call your cellphone?”

“No matter where you’re at, they’re calling that cellphone,” said Williams. “911 and 90 percent of the time, people from the DA’s office are calling your cellphone.”

Commissioner Christy Ross proposed reworking a line item for communication in the budget.

“We have that $1,800 allotted in there for pagers that hasn’t been used. We could break that down to a raise to split up so that way the budget doesn’t change,” said Ross. “Since that was already an allowance for communication, that’s just a new way to distribute it.”

A recommendation was made to remove the $2,520 communication line item and disburse that among the seven judicial commissioners for a wage increase intended to be used for their cellphones.

Although the budget for judicial commissioners was accepted by the Budget and Finance Committee, everything is still pending until May, which is when all the other budgets are submitted.