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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Lawrence County Council member Chenault asks about Judicial Mandate During meeting Tuesday night

LAWRENCE COUNTY - SEPTEMBER 27, 2022 - During the Lawrence County Council meeting Tuesday night Lawrence County Council member Janie "Craig" Chenault asked about a Judicial Mandate that was sent to the council members.

However, Lawrence County Council members could not comment on the mandate or which Lawrence County Judge issued the mandate.

Lawrence County Council members discuss the budget during a recent meeting

A mandate is usually issued when a court is denied funds reasonably necessary for the operation of the courts. Former Lawrence County Superior Court II Judge Williams Sleva previously ordered a mandate to increase the wages of his court staff before he retired at the end of 2021. An agreement between Lawrence County Superior Court II Judge Bob Cline averted the Judge Sleva's mandate.

Prior to issuing an order the Judge must show cause why the appropriation or payment should not be made, the judge is required to meet with the mandated party and demonstrate the need for the appropriation sought.

The Lawrence County Council in a 3-3 vote last week, the motion to give both county employees and elected officials a 3 percent raise died. Council woman Chenault was attending a conference in California and was unable to attend the meeting.

A special meeting called by the county council at 6:00 p.m. was canceled to discuss salaries for a third time.

Lawrence County Zephyr asked council members about the mandate to which they replied at this time they could not respond.

Several county employees attended Tuesday night's meeting expecting the Lawrence County Council to revisit the need for pay raises. County employees did not receive a pay raise in 2020 and 2021 budget cycles. However, in 2022 budget cycle in a 6-1 vote most elected officials received a 17 percent pay raise, county employees received a 8 percent raise in 2022 as well as, the county took on the cost of their increased premium for health insurance, and incremental pay raise.

In 2023, if the county council does not pass pay raises, all will receive their incremental raise.

The adoption of the budget is expected on October 6th, however that date may change based on other factors in regards to this year's budget.

Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to monitor developments in this year's budget process for Lawrence County Government.

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