Troup County first on circuit-wide judicial supplement plan; more counties could follow

Published 11:00 am Saturday, December 25, 2021

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Troup County acted as the first signature on a resolution to increase the judicial supplements for the superior court judges in the Coweta Judicial Circuit. Should the other four counties follow suit, the judges could earn a larger supplement on top of their salary.

Will Simmons, district court administrator, partnered with Troup County Court Services Director Lindsay Mobley earlier this month to spearhead the effort to facilitate a circuit-wide increase of $30,000 in judicial supplements between the five counties in the Coweta Judicial Circuit: Troup County, Carroll County, Coweta County, Heard County and Meriwether County.

All seven judges in the circuit will receive the same amount but the counties will contribute a different amount to the $30,000, the agreement says.

  • Troup County: $7,866 per annum per judge;
  • Carroll County: $10,134 per annum per judge;
  • Coweta County: $7,599 per annum per judge;
  • Heard County: $1,233 per 19 annum per judge;
  • Meriwether: $3,168 per annum per judge.

The supplement amounts are based off case counts, Simmons said, and they are paid on top of judges’ annual salaries.

“Because of the case count, the populations [and] the number of cases our judges are hearing, we feel it’s time to look at their supplements and give them a portion that is complementary to what they do,” Simmons said at the Troup County Board of Commissioners Dec. 14 meeting. The voting for the resolution was originally tabled at the board’s Dec. 14 meeting so that commissioners could have time to review the deal more thoroughly.

There are currently seven Superior Court judges in the circuit: Judge Dennis T. Blackmon, Judge Bill Hamrick, Judge Emory Palmer, Judge W. Travis Sakrison, Judge Dustin W. Hightower and Judge Nina Markette Baker. Their current annual supplements are $30,000, and the last time a supplement increase was brought forward was in 2009, Simmons said.

Counties are allowed to supplement judges up to $50,000, according to the Georgia Statue, which is the supplement amount Simmons is pushing for.

Simmons explained that out of the 49 circuits in the state of Georgia, the Coweta circuit is in the top seven largest circuits for the whole state and judges average about $60,000, he said.

Troup is currently paying $7,866 per year per judge.  If all agree to increase to the maximum of $50,000, that will change to $9,500 per year per judge.

In order for the deal to go through, all five counties must be in agreement with the increase, Mobley explained. If one or more of the other counties disagree, the deal will not go through at all. County Manager Eric Mosley described the Board’s decision to pass the resolution as a contingency vote.

“You’re contingent on the other [counties] taking part,” he said.

Simmons will be visiting the other four counties in the circuit in the coming weeks in an attempt to get them to agree with the proposed agreement.