Viewpoint: Judges need to step up to cuts

The financial problems Dougherty County government are experiencing are well documented. You know about the 2% pay cut that county employees were notified of earlier this year.

They had no choice but to take this pay cut, but our county commissioners did. To their credit, they all volunteered to take the same pay cut in solidarity with the rank-and-file.

We wish we could say the same for our judges and constitutional officers who cannot be forced to take a pay cut. Only four of these officers are willing to do what was asked of all county employees, and have agreed to cut the pay: Sheriff Kevin Sproul, Magistrate Court Judge Robert Revell, and Superior Court Judges Stephen Goss and  Denise Marshall.

In contrast, Judges John Salter, Baxter Howell, Willie Soloman,  Victoria Darrisaw, Nancy Stephenson,  Rick Brooker, Willie Lockette, Loring Gray, and Clerk of Courts Evonne Mull…  all refused to make do with less.

The annual salaries of these judges range from a low of $72,000 to a high of nearly $150,000. The pay cuts they were asked to accept range from $583 to $2600 a year. Again, these officers would still make 98% of their salaries, if they took the cut, but those on this list won't.

When county employees like deputies, who are poorly paid to begin with, take a pay cut they can't decline, to put their lives on the line, and judges who sit in judgment of us all will not, it's hard not to call that disgraceful.

We call on the Dougherty County judges and constitutional officers to do with 2% less.

There is still time to do the right thing for the taxpayer, and for others on the government payroll who don't have a voice... or a choice.