10 of 12 State Court judges ask for raises
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
March 23, 2013 12:16 AM | 3793 views | 5 5 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
ATLANTA — Cobb’s 12 state court judges are on their way to receiving raises.

The judges asked the Cobb Legislative Delegation to give them a 3 percent salary increase in a Jan. 31 letter signed by 10 of the 12 judges.

State Court Division I judges, who handle higher level cases, receive a salary of $156,954.

Division II judges receive a salary of $134,454.

The chief judge, Toby Prodgers, gets $3,952 extra for a total of $160,906, although that extra is not included in the calculation of the raise, said Donna Tschappat, director of State Court Services.

Tschappat explained why two of the 12 state court judges didn’t sign the letter asking for the raise.

“Judge Marsha Lake had just filled her elected post on 1/1/2013, and that is why you will not see her signature, and Judge Thompson had not yet been appointed,” Tschappat said.

State court clerk Diane Webb and chief deputy clerk Angie Davis opted not to ask for the raises.

“We made the decision not to ask,” Webb said. “It was just not a good time for us to ask for it, we felt like. (State Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb) had just asked us early on to make a decision whether we were going to ask for the pay raise, and we just declined.”

State Rep. Stacey Evans (D-Smyrna) authored the bill to grant the raises, saying she obtained the needed signatures from state Reps. Don Parsons (R-east Cobb), Matt Dollar (R-east Cobb), Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs), David Wilkerson (D-Austell), Sheila Jones (D-South Cobb), Roger Bruce (D-South Cobb) and Michael Smith (D-Marietta).

The path to approval for a piece of local legislation is for a majority of House members in the county’s legislative delegation to sign it. It’s then approved by the full House before transferring over to the Senate, where it goes through the same process.

Cobb’s Division I judges, in addition to Prodgers, are Carl Bowers, Melodie H. Clayton, David P. Darden, Irma Glover, Maria Golick and Kathryn J. Tanksley.

Cobb’s Division II judges are Eric Brewton, Bridgette Campbell, Jason B. Fincher, Marsha S. Lake and Henry R. Thompson.

Evans said she couldn’t have carried the bill authorizing the raises if the Cobb Board of Commissioners had not budgeted for it.

“The reason I was willing to carry the state court judge bill is this is an issue of local control,” Evans said. “The county commission is duly elected. They decided there were sufficient funds for raises. We are part of the process because we have to be statutorily, and I don’t think the state Legislature should stand in the way of a duly elected county commission when they decided raises should be given.”

Evans said judges are already underpaid as it is.

“If we want to be able to retain talent on the bench, we’ve got to be willing to pay for it,” she said.
Comments
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Watching the Court
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March 25, 2013
Thank you Marsha Lake! Finally we have a leader with integrity. Why did the paper not ask her why she refused to sign up for a raise? Her answer may have been a little different than the spokesperson for the court.

I am very proud of my vote for Judge Lake today.
Are you kidding?
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March 23, 2013
Teachers continue to get slammed and have had a reduction in their salaries for 6 years. These people have the nerve to ask for a raise because they think they deserve it? Bunch of crap!
Julie Smart
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March 23, 2013
This is unbelievable! Kudos to Diane Webb. This is just not the right time. Political watchers need to just sit at the court house on Wednesday- Friday and see which judges are actually there if it is not their presiding week. Yes, they handle more cases than superior court, but check their offices and the parking deck and see who is there.
Just Sayin'....
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March 23, 2013
A resounding "thank you" to Diane Webb and Angie Davis. If only more people understood the times, we would be in much better shape. Your good attitudes will not go unrewarded.
Just Wait
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March 23, 2013
I'm not a lawyer, but I've stayed at a Holiday Inn and I'll be a judge for $60,000 a year.
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