Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Burchett cuts judges' auto allowance

I have to give it to county Mayor Tim Burchett. The guy’s got a pair of brass ones. He wasn’t kidding about that whole auto allowance thing. You know, wanting to eliminate it and all.

He's been going after the fee offices, the commission, the whoever, the whomever, the whatever in regards to the gas scratch. (He’s left Lord McIntyre and his nine school board disciples alone, but don’t think the mayor and his chief of staff, Dean Rice, aren’t in their six floor offices of the Deathstar looking at the AJ Building through their binoculars, plotting ways to piss them off, too.)

Anyhoo, I got a copy of the travel allowances as of June 21, 2011 – the latest document I could get under the open records, since they haven’t created any other stuff yet. I’m rambling, I know. But, as of now – since the new fiscal year started July 1 – the general sessions judges won’t get a check for gas money, either.

Unless of course, they want to fill out reimbursement forms, which, I believe, is still about 51 cents a mile. (Do they actually drive anywhere other than to and from work?)

This cut affects judges Charles Cerny, Geoffrey Emery, Andrew Jackson, Patricia Long and Tony Stansberry. According to county records, the five judges each received $4,000.10 in annual allowance, which was broken down to $153.85 bi-weekly.

So, Mad Dog Tim fought against Sheriff Jimmy “J.J.” Jones (that’s the Man with the Badge to you, folks) when he wanted new squad cars (the mayor lost that one), and now he’s taken the travel allowances away from judges.

Guess you could say he’s fighting the man. Or not. Whatever.

Anyway, I just thought it was interesting.

Earlier in the year, I wrote an extensive story about the auto allowance coin county officials received. Click for the awesomeness right smack here.

It was a ton of scratch by the wway. Big Tim cut pretty much everyone under his executive office purview. (There were a couple of guys in the parks and recreation department who got a minimal amount because they live out of the county or something. I can’t remember. I’m sure it made sense at the time. But I digress.)

Anyway, when the administration crafted this year’s budget, officials cut out the allowances for a number of folks. As you might recall, the county commission – in all its glory and so-called efforts to help restore all the other cuts the mayor made, but didn't – reinstated their own gas money checks.

Although, on Friday, one of the county’s finance gurus – Chris Caldwell – said that Commissioner Jeff Ownby won’t accept his and will instead file for reimbursement.

(Commissioners by the way, get $3,600 annually, broken down to $150 bi-weekly.)

In the meantime, Property Assessor Phil Ballard will get almost $3,600 a year. Now, this is a funny one. Phil actually cut his before budget time from $7,200 annually down to $3,600.

The mayor went ahead and brought that bad boy down to ZERO. Then Phil turned around and put it back in. Heh.

Also, Clerk of Circuit Court Civil Sessions and Juvenile Court Cathy Quist will keep her $9,600 annual check (also broken down bi-weekly); Criminal Court Clerk Joy McCroskey will keep her annual $8,400 pay day and Register of Deeds Sherry Witt will continue pulling in her $9,100 allowance. (These folks are elected fee officers.)

In addition, Keith Stump with GIS will get about $4,300 annually, but all that mapping stuff is kind of split with the city and county and kind of strange and whatever, so I think the mayor just gives him a free pass. The same with MPC’s head honcho Mark Donaldson, who also will get almost $4,300 annually.

So, there you have it. The new update on travel allowances.

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