Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fee Office Fallout Continues....

I haven't had so many conversations on one issue in my life as I have had in the past two days concerning the fee office proposal that Commissioner Briggs and Hammond attempted to add to the agenda on Monday. The proposal moves the operational budgets of the fee office under the Mayor's budget.

According to those in favor of the proposal, it simply removes the old salary suit requirement of state law. The salary suit is where the elected fee officeholder files a lawsuit in Chancery Court stating the office will have certain positions and how much each will be compensated. The Mayor accepts the suit that is signed by the Chancellor. The compensation for these employees are not in the county budget. The employees salaries and office overhead are paid through the fees that are collected. So, for example when you have court cost a portion of those court costs you pay are then used for the salary and office expenses of the office. Any excess collected are then turned over to the county general fund. When the elections are held, these fee officeholders that have turned over money to the county general fund will cite their success in collecting the fee and helping to offset our tax dollars paying for essential services.

The opponents of this proposal view this as a "money and power grab" by the Mayor in order to ultimately manage and control the offices. Thus, essentially eliminating the need for an elected official to manage the operation of the fee office.

It does take someone with experience in real estate transactions to be the Register of Deed. It would certainly be helpful for a lawyer to manage the court clerk offices. Because someone that has intimate knowledge of the court system would understand the court clerk operations.

Now, a certain media person has pointed at a former fee office holder as a reason for needing this proposal. That former fee officeholder has not been in office for over four years. It has been rumored that one fee office's collection are very very low. If that is the reason to make this proposal. Then call that office out, to throw out all of them for one low performer is unfair to all the employees that have spent their entire lives in working for the citizens that utilize the services of these fee offices. Stay tuned, I have a feeling my phone will be ringing soon.

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