Archived Story

Capper court orders budget

Published 12:34pm Friday, February 1, 2013

A budget of $433,349 for Lawrence County Municipal Court Judge Donald R. Capper to operate his court is not enough, the judge says, and Capper has court-ordered almost $75,000 more.

Capper sent a court order requesting a total of $505,399 for general fund money for 2013 for salaries, supplies, equipment and other expenses. At its Thursday meeting the commissioners received and filed the order and accompanying explanatory memo without any action or discussion.

At the end of December 2012 $489,539 was spent to run the county municipal court or $56,190 more that what the judge has been given for his court this year.

Capper’s order is $72,050 more than the $433,349 the commissioners have budgeted for that court for 2013. It is also $41,329 than what the court received for its budget at the first of 2012 and almost $16,000 more than what Capper spent to operate the court last year.

The largest expense in Capper’s request is for salaries other than his own. The judge is asking for $260,000 for 2013; while the commission has given him $217,000 for 11 court employees including two part-time workers.

“That is a totally unrealistic and inadequate amount,” Capper wrote to the commission. “The court has made substantial reductions in staffing over the last few years by virtue of lay-offs and by not replacing staff members who have retired and requiring existing staff members to take on additional duties. … Further this court finds that no staff members have been given a raise or bonus for two years.”

On top of staff salaries is Capper’s salary of $37,500, which is mandated by the Ohio Revised Code and not part of the other salary line item.

Although no action was taken on Monday at least one commissioner is considering reviewing the matter.

“I am going to look over that closely and see what the possibilities are,” Commission President Bill Pratt said. “We definitely want to help Judge Capper. He is efficient with his funds and has a tremendous caseload. As far as the court order, the salary line item is most in need of looking at that closely. I can’t promise anything right away but will make some corrections if possible.”

In other action the commissioners:

Signed a landslide repair order for $18,890 for County Route 4 in the amount of $18,890;

Designated Pratt as the voting member at the County Commission Association of Ohio with Freddie Hayes as the alternate;

Received the weekly dog warden report for Jan. 12 where no dogs were destroyed, 11were adopted or went to rescue and one was redeemed by its owner; for Jan. 19 where one dog was destroyed, 22 were adopted or went to rescue and one was redeemed by its owner; and for Jan. 26 where four dogs were destroyed, 14 were adopted or went to rescue and six were redeemed by their owners.

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  • Poor Richard

    Interesting that commissioners appear more than willing to roll over for a judge but getting money for the sheriff was like pulling teeth.

    Eleven employees – WOW. Who are they, what do they do and what are their individual salaries???

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  • Scratching My Head

    Heaven forbid Capper to talk to the commissioners and to see what they could work out together without hurting the county too bad. This is the reason the county is in such bad shape. Everyone thinks they are more important and want more money, instead of trying to save what they can for the county. And I believe you have his sallery wrong. I know a mediator for Lawrence County that used to make $50,000 a year before she retired.

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  • swimmingupstream

    My last understanding of a court-ordered budget was: I want; you send; forthwith; or commissioners can go to jail until such time as they are not in contempt of court by sending the court exactly what it wants. No negotiation, no discussion.

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