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Chattooga County Commissioner at Odds with Magistrate Judge and Sheriff Among Others

Commissioner Jason Winters 1Chattooga County Commissioner Jason Winter’s plan for unpaid holidays for county workers – is meeting some resistance from other constitutional officers in the county.

One Chattooga County media outlet says they’ve obtained letters to the Commissioner from both Sheriff Mark Schrader and Chattooga County Magistrate Judge Tracy Maddux, outlining reasons they believe the commissioner is in error and even questioning his authority to declare the unpaid holidays for their workers.

Judge Maddux said in his letter “I am in receipt of your latest decree.  While I understand that you have created quite a dilemma for yourself, I feel the measures you are taking will only further your problems.  I do not understand how closing the elected official’s office while clearly being required to pay the employees their regular salary is of benefit to the taxpayers of Chattooga County.  With this being said, please be advised, I feel that my office should be open on July 5, 2013 with my staff present to provide the citizens of this county the ability to conduct business in this court.  I also believe that by not doing so would be a breach of our fiduciary resonsibilities as elected officials of Chattooga County.”  Maddux went on to say, “It is my understanding that a salary employee, as all the staff in the elected officials offices are, must not be denied paid holidays.”

Sheriff Mark Schrader stated in his letter to the Commissioner, ” First, let me state that I respect the fact that you are looking at ways to cut cost in the operation of the county.  However, I must inform you that my office WILL NOT participate in the revised holiday schedule that you have drafted and delivered to me.”

Commissioner Winters replied to Judge Maddux, “The Courthouse Annex, which your office is located in, will be closed along with all other county offices for a non-paid holiday on July 5, 2013.  If your employees work that day, they will not be compensated.  Please feel free to pursue whatever action you feel is justified…”  

In his reply to the Sheriff the commissioner stated, “I take your intention to say that all of you employees are essential to your operations on that day as is the ability that was given to the Sheriff’s Department, Jail and 911 Center as essential operations.  Just to clarify, only the employees that work those days will be paid.”

In both of the letters the commissioner sent back to the Magistrate Judge and the Sheriff the commissioner said, “The use of non-paid holidays as a source to decrease county expenses has been used across the State of Georgia and it appears it is only an issue of disagreement here in Chattooga County.”

(AM1180)

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