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Legislature to consider cost of living pay hikes for constitutional officers
Newton County

ATLANTA, Ga. – The Georgia General Assembly plans to introduce a bill to give the state’s constitutional officers cost of living pay increases during the current session.

According to a legal notice in the March 3 edition of The Covington News, the legislators will consider “a bill to amend an Act to provide for a change in the compensation of the Sheriff, Tax Commissioner, the Judge of the Probate court, the Clerk of the Superior Court and the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners to reflect increases in the cost of living”.

According to 2018 county records, Clerk of Superior Court Linda Hays, the county’s longest-tenured constitutional officer was also its highest paid with an annual salary of $165,403. Sheriff Ezell Brown was second with $137,487.59 annually. Brown’s compensation includes a $6,000 expense allowance.

Tax Commissioner Barbara Dingler made $126,952 last year while Probate Judge Melanie Bell and BOC Chairman Marcello Banes each made $101,003.59.

The Covington News reached out to Newton County for the current salaries of the officials but did not receive a response by press time.

According to a publication from the Association County Commissioners of Georgia, the duties and minimum salaries of the state’s constitutional officers are set by the General Assembly and are not within the authority of the Board of Commissioners to control, with the exception that discretionary supplements may be approved by the Board of Commissioners.

The General Assembly will also consider a bill to place the Newton County coroner on an annual salary.