COVINGTON, Ga. - For the second time in as many regularly scheduled meetings, the Newton County Board of Commissioners (BOC) voted to table a proposed pay increase for the Newton County Juvenile Court Chief Judge.
The resolution was originally tabled during the commission’s July 18 meeting while salary comparisons for the other juvenile court judges and the county’s elected constitutional officers was completed.
According to a document provided by county Public Information Officer Bryan Fazio, the current salary for Newton County’s Juvenile Court Judge is $106,519, compared to $136,366 for Rockdale County and $150,116 for Walton County. The proposed salary is just over $120,000
County Manager Lloyd Kerr told commissioners the salary increase is so there is equality between the Walton County Juvenile Court Judge and the Newton County Juvenile Court Judge.
District 3 Commissioner Nancy Schulz questioned Kerr about where money for the salary increase would come from in the county’s recently approved budget.
“I think it’s important to identify where the money is coming from before we actually vote on is,” she said.
Kerr said the department’s budget would be evaluated to see if excess funds are available that can be moved to cover the salary amount, as well as other departments. He told Schulz the most likely source for the money was the contingency fund.
Schulz voiced concern about dipping into the contingency fund this early in the new budget.
“We voted on the budget a week ago? And now we’re already dipping into the contingency,” she said. “Can we not look for that money from another source?
“That’s a slippery slope that we’re already starting on within one week of approving the budget.”
Kerr told Schulz other funding sources could be explored.
“Certainly, we can look for it other places. I just identified the contingency, mainly because I’ve not done an analysis of the other line items,” he said.
Schulz proposed tabling the measure until the commission’s Aug. 15 meeting. The motion passed 5-0.