Commission votes to reduce probate judge#039;s pay

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 14, 2006

After approximately 81 percent of those who voted in the November 7 elections approved the passing of Proposed Local Amendment One, which was to reduce the county's probate judge's pay, the Crenshaw County Commission took action at its regular meeting Monday morning and unanimously voted to set the pay at $60,375, or according to the Omnibus Pay Bill passed by the legislature in Feb. of 2000.

The Omnibus Pay Bill puts Crenshaw County in Category 6, with a population of less than 19,000. The county's present population is approximately 13,665.

In Crenshaw County, this position presently pays $116,522, which is among the top eight counties in the state. Jim Perdue is Crenshaw County's Probate Judge. He was not present at Monday morning's meeting.

&#8220We've gotten many different opinions from many different attorneys on this,” Commission Chairman Ronnie Hudson said. &#8220But, we needed to act on this now.”

Luverne resident John Brunson addressed the commission Monday morning.

&#8220This is not a personal issue,” Brunson said. &#8220This is a subject of concern for the county. In November, the voters said they wanted the salary reduced; to date, there has been no action taken on this.”

Brunson said that by reducing the probate judge's pay, the commission would save the county &#8220thousands of dollars.”

&#8220That money is desperately needed by this county,” he said. &#8220I've heard you argue over giving the sheriff (West) $100 or not, but you'll let thousands of dollars go on this? I don't understand it.”

Crenshaw County Sheriff Charles West also added his concerns over the issue.

&#8220This is a chance to get the elected officials in this courthouse to have similar salaries,” West said. &#8220I just want things to be fair.”

Commissioner Charlie Sankey, Jr., agreed with Hudson and the other commissioners that &#8220everyone had a different opinion on this issue, and that different attorneys had said different things” to the commissioners.

&#8220No matter what, we have to go by what the law says,” Hudson said.

Commissioner Ronnie Blackmon made a motion to adopt the $60,375 Omnibus Pay Bill for the probate judge's position, &#8220contingent upon higher powers than we adjusting it.”

Commissioner Ricky McElwain made a second to the motion, with it carrying unanimously.

&#8220If somebody tells us we have to come back and give him (Perdue) cost-of-living raises, then okay,” Hudson said. &#8220If the law says we are doing wrong, then we'll come back to this.”

The new pay rate will go into effect Jan. 20, 2007.