Cobb Superior Court Chief Judge Adele Grubbs, in a Dec. 18 letter to the delegation, requested the raises.
State Sen. Judson Hill (R-east Cobb), delegation chairman, said Georgia Superior Court judges are paid a state salary of $120,252 per year as well as a local supplement. In Cobb County, the local supplement is $60,472.
Grubbs, as chief judge, is paid about $10,000 more than the other judges, county spokesman Robert Quigley said.
Hill said last year the judges received a 3 percent pay raise on the local supplement, but not on the state part of their salary.
“They have requested that the Legislature consider a 3 percent raise based on the full amount, which is almost $181,000,” Hill said.
State Sen. Steve Thompson (D-Marietta) urged lawmakers to approve the pay hike, which will be
paid for out of the county’s general fund.
Consider the responsibilities a Superior Court judge has, Thompson said.
“Any lawyers in Marietta that’s that good can make that and more, and if you want to keep competent people on the bench, I think you need to keep them in the range of what’s been recommended, and I would encourage you to do that,” Thompson said.
Yet state Rep. Ed Setzler (R-Acworth) questioned the appropriateness of using the county’s general fund to pay for raises on the state portion of a judge’s salary.
“I think it’s the state of Georgia’s obligation to fund the pay raises on the state portion of Superior Court judges pay, and it’s the county’s role to fund the county portion,” Setzler said. “Considering any alternative beyond that, I need to put some more thought to it and understand why that’s the best approach.”
Hill said Setzler made a valid point.
“I think it’s more consistent to look at a pay raise based on the local supplement as opposed to the full amount,” Hill said.
For the raises to be approved, a majority of Cobb’s 15 state representatives — eight — must approve the pay bill before it goes before the full House for a vote. Once the House passes the bill, a majority of Cobb’s six senators — four — must also pass it before it goes before the full Senate for a vote.
Hill said it’s unclear at this point who will carry the bill.
Grubbs’ letter requesting the raises is signed by her and judges Mary Staley, James Bodiford, Lark Ingram, Robert Flournoy,
Stephen Schuster, LaTain Kell, Reuben Green, Robert Leonard and Greg Poole.