And The Judge Says.......
|Ms. Niles gets 4 new employees.
Sadly she could have gotten pretty much the same thing without dragging the tax payers to court and wasting tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees.
Specifically, the judge says she is entitled to hire one new deputy clerk/book keeper at a salary of $32,000.00 and three new deputy clerks at $25,500.00 each. However, the judge also said "The petitioner (Niles) may start new employees at a lower pay and make graduated increases in salary based upon their performance and ability as incentive for further improvement , so that the county may not actually incur the entire cost of these salaries." This statement seemingly protects the tax payers from getting hammered by Ms. Niles all at once.
The judge also ruled that the 2% raises that had been given to all other county employees over the last two budget cycles would be paid retroactive to Ms. Niles employees before her dispute with the county. Of course this was always going to happen, when Ms. Niles ever signed her salary agreement. The big one is, the judge ruled the tax payers have to pay her legal fees.
The math should look something like this. 1@ $32,000.00 plus 3@ $25,500.00 = $108,500.00. Add another $60,000.00 for benefits for all four employees. So $168,000.00 from the law suit. Also add the county and Ms. Niles legal fees which is unknown as of right now. But it won't be much longer.
But here's the rub. The previous commission had already given Ms. Niles 2 new employees and some members of the current budget committee had offered her 2 additional employees. I think 2+2 still equals 4 doesn't it? Ms. Niles rejected all offers. So except for a small increase in the judges set salaries for the new employees, Ms. Niles got nothing she hadn't been offered before she foolishly went to court.
What an incredible waste of your money.
Even though the judge gave Ms. Niles a little more than she had been offered, it's noteworthy that Ms. Niles request had been turned down by the previous budget committee and the previous commission and subsequently turned down by the current commission and budget committee. That's a total of 16 individual elected officials who heard her request and rejected it based on their study of her budget. Could that many people have been wrong?
Fortunately for the tax payers, the judge stopped well short of meeting all Ms. Niles demands for 6 employees and across the board raises for all her other employees. I am hopeful the county will be able to absorb the additional cost caused by Ms. Niles without a property tax increase. We'll just have to see how the numbers all shake out.
There's also the option that either side can appeal the judges decision. That will be up to the full commission and Ms. Niles.
I guess the bottom line is, tax payers got smacked but just not as bad as Ms. Niles had hoped.