Commissioner Mark DeWitte, who chairs the Personnel Committee, explained to the commission last Monday that state law prohibits a judge’s salary to be changed by the county commission during that judge’s term.
The juvenile judge seat comes up for re-election in 2022.
DeWitte explained that any changes that the commission makes that affects the judge’s compensation will have to be made prior to the 2022 election and can go into effect only after the judge who won the election begins that next eight-year term.
A resolution was presented for the March commission meeting requesting that the Tennessee General Assembly approve a private act which would change the county’s juvenile judge position from two days per week to full-time.
Because the March and April commission meetings were canceled, that agenda item came up for consideration at the May meeting held last Monday, but DeWitte asked that it be withdrawn.
The issue is highly controversial due to the increased cost to the county. Because the juvenile judge officially works two days per week, he receives 40% of the full-time pay of the sessions court judge.
If the juvenile judge became a full-time position, the annual salary would increase by about $100,000.
Juvenile Judge Daniel Boyd, who is technically supposed to be a two-day-per-week juvenile judge, has told county commissioners on multiple occasions over the years that the caseload merits a full-time position.
Boyd told the Personnel Committee in March that he anticipates needing a minimum of four days of juvenile court per week, with Fridays being set aside for miscellaneous chores such as the Foster Care Review Board, emergency custody or detention hearings, or other administrative duties.
DeWitte told the Times News Thursday he intends to present the resolution before the commission in time for a decision to be made prior to the 2022 election.
Assuming the private act is eventually approved by the General Assembly, the proposal would then come before the full commission for a final vote, which requires a two-thirds approval.
In other business last Monday
Rogersville City Recorder Glenn Hutchens was appointed to the Hawkins County Industrial Board, filling the vacancy created by the death of longtime member Terry Glass on Jan. 7. The term expires on Dec. 31, 2024.
The commission approved the appointment of members to the Hawkins County Planning Commission whose terms expire Nov. 30, 2023 including: District 1, Garret White; District 6, Charlie Brooks; District 7, Mike Lacey; and member at large Donna Hipshire.
The commission approved the appointment of members to the Hawkins County Board of Equalization for two-year terms including: William “Bill” Cordell of Church Hill; Jim Wells of Rogersville; Paul Tommy Morrison of Church Hill; Max Hammonds of Surgonsville; Wayne E. Price of Surgoinsville; and as an alternate, Wallace E. Crigger of Surgoinsville.