Archived Story

Commission denies raise to Probate employees

Published 11:00pm Friday, January 31, 2014

At the Monday meeting of the Pike County Commission, the commission denied a request by Probate Judge Wes Allen that would have restructured the personnel and salaries within his department.

Allen proposed taking the funds made available from the retirement of a recent senior office employee and using it to increase the pay of all current probate office employees. The end result would have increased pay and still kept the probate personnel costs under budget for this year.

“Treating our employees fairly and saving taxpayer money are high priorities for me,” Allen said. “This plan accomplishes both.”

The difference in salary between the recently retired employee and her new replacement would have covered the raises for each employee in the office. This money had already been budgeted and approved by the commission.

Allen said he could not imagine why the commission would not approve his request. “I have presented a reasonable, conservative plan to restructure the personnel and salaries within the probate office,” Allen said. “My plan fairly compensates all nine ladies that work hard every day in the probate office.”

In addition to raising the salary of every employee in the office, Allen’s plan would have also saved money for the county. “My plan even saves the county taxpayer money from the approved fiscal year 2013-14 budget,” Allen said. “I don’t understand how the commission could turn down this conservative plan. I guess saving taxpayer money is not a priority for the commission.”

Allen’s proposal would have saved the county just over $2,000 for fiscal year 2013-14. In addition, each employee in the office would have received a single-step raise.

Commissioner Jimmy Barron, who voted to support Allen’s proposal, was unhappy with the result of the vote. “We have honored other elected officials’ requests in the past,” Barron said. “I know that we’ve done this in two other departments—the Sheriff’s Department and the Revenue Commissioner’s Department.”

Barron said the raises would have helped each employee of the probate office. “I personally don’t think it’s right,” Barron said. “In the past, Judge Allen has given us funds from his department to help the county. He was doing this the right way too. Everyone who worked for him was going to get a raise, and it was going to save the county money in the long run. I don’t know why this wasn’t approved.”

Commission Chairman Homer Wright said he voted against the proposal because it would not be fair to employees in other departments throughout the county. “We had a vote earlier in the year and decided not to give any employees in the county a raise,” Wright said. “We didn’t give them a raise. We want to treat everyone the same. Since employees in the other department did not get a raise, it wouldn’t be fair for the probate employees to receive a raise.”

The proposal was defeated by a margin of 3-2. Commissioners Barron and Joey Jackson voted in support of the proposal. Commissioners Wright, Ray Goodson and Charlie Harris voted against the proposal. Commissioner Robin Sullivan was absent from the vote due to illness.

  • BH1880

    Apparently you have to be a Democrat to get a raise from Democrats in Pike County or related to a Democrat. Denying a raise in these difficult times would be appropriate. What did the Sheriff’s Department and the Revenue Commissioner’s Department get and how much did it save the tax payers?

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  • ConservativeLife

    This comes as no surprise. Until the people of Pike County start demanding that their representatives and elected official quit operating along party lines, this will never change. At what point do we all honestly look at the candidates we elect for their intelligence, honesty, moral character, fiscal responsibility and that diminishing characteristic “common sense”? I am completely at my wits end when it comes to the blatent hypocracy demonstrated by the Democratic Officials in this county. This is not a party issue, this is a common sense issue. If I am not mistaken, the Sheriffs Dept has a new convoy of vehicles quite often, has hosted numerous meals at the Court House with taxpayer funds, is handing out hats and buttons that wrre purchased with taxpayer funds; all things that he won’t be claiming as “Campaign Expenses”, but I am not falling for this neanderthal behavior. The Pike Co Commission may coward to him, but a man doesn’t get a twitch like that for no reason folks. My point being, the Commissioners will over-look obvious fleecing, because they were invited to all of his “Non-Campaign” functions, but you are refusing to save the county tax-payers $2,000, because it isn’t fair? Maybe if the other county offices were more fiscally responsible and kept the cars from 2 years ago, instead of buying a convoy of new SUV’s to keep up with TPD, and chose to give their employees a raise; or if the Rev Comm did something besides read the paper all day and “hang out”, they too could share the wealth with their employees. GET YOUR 5 HOUR ENERGY SHOT PIKE COUNTY! WE ALL NEED TO WAKE UP AND MAKE SOME DRASTIC CHANGES!!!!! It is time for these immoral, corrupt politicians who vote according to which party an official belongs to regardless of the good of the employees and public, to be ousted from office! It doesnt matter which party goes in, as long ad they do their job fairly and serve the people that put them there. I am conservative, but also smart. Just because someone is a Democrat doesn’t mean they are “bad”. Enough with partisan politics! Quit playing with the lives of others and employees of this fine county! Mr. Wright, I mean “Wrong”, what is your part-time salary and benefits compared to these employees full-time salary and benefits? Tisk, tisk.

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  • WDM

    Most of them in the probate office don’t work hard enough to get a raise.If you have been in there lately you will agree.

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    • ConservativeLife

      Right, because that job must be very easy. It’s a no-brainer to fight through state and federal regulations, not to mention the local red-tape and politics of working for a commission that is split down the middle. I suppose the salaries of the commissioners that meet once a month and equate salaries of our public service men & women, are certainly fair and justifiable. Raise your hand if you have ever gone to the Court House for something “good”, besides getting your drivers license at the age of 16! Unless you have worked there or currently work there or have a spouse that works there, you have no idea what every office faces every single day. They can never do anything right, they treat others different, they didnt make your friend do that, they charge too much, they don’t smile, they aren’t chipper enough, they should be there every day of the week, they shouldn’t take lunch because that’s when you need to see them, the line is too long, they work too slow, God forbid they have someone new in training because no one will stay in that environment, they shouldn’t close on holidays; imagine that, every day. Imagine having to smile while being cursed out because your paperwork isn’t correct from the dealership or leinholder. Unless you are in public service, and I don’t mean a pleasant service, you really shouldn’t criticize the ladies at the counter. You really shouldn’t criticize anyone, because you have no idea what may have happened just before you walked in and witnessed them “not working hard”. Judge Allen is about productivity, advancement, hard work and compensation for performance. Fortunately, he doesn’t play political cards. He does his job and does it well. If they didn’t deserve raises, I guarantee he wouldn’t be asking for them. We have a double standard in this county, where a jolly fat man cruises around on a county vehicle campaigning for democratic candidates on a county vehicle and county gas, made calls on behalf of a certain Republican running for commissioner, uses taxpayer $$ to feed his staff quite often, has prayer meetings now, is in the newspaper every time I open it doing a little self-promotion; all because it is a campaign year. Yet, this is theonly time you see him in public, during campaign season. Where does he disappear to during the off season? From the looks of it, hibernation in a soup kitchen. And you say these employees don’t work hard? At least they aren’t riding the coat-tails of others. Shameful.

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  • WDM

    Well go to the bath room and throw up if it makes you sick.This forum is for people to express their opinions and that is what I did, could care less if you like it or not.

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  • pikecountycitizen

    I am a little confused. If they didn’t give any raises wouldn’t that have saved even more money in his budget? Remember “Revenue is not the problem , spending is”!

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  • beeducatednotopinionated

    Conservativelife, the sheriff you continually seem to “hate on” in every article was born in Pike County. He worked hard to get “elected” in that position. I believe the probate judge was handed that position because his daddy was some sort of big time politician. The sheriff’s department is also about productivity,advancement,hard work and compensation, as is every department in the court house. You sound as though you are jealous of the sheriff’s department. If you can’t say positive things about people, shut up.

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    • ConservativeLife

      Right, he was born here. Dadgummit! I forgot about that. Forget everything I have said. Since he was born here that makes it all okay,correct? And since Wes Allen wasn’t born in this county, you will make accusations towards him? You just attempted to call me out for hating on the sheriff, when i have actually only mentioned his name in 2 articles in 5 years of posting. Maybe I know quite a bit more than you do. Maybe I know where all of those skeletons are buried and he has finally crossed the wrong person. Maybe I was born here as well and I know his dirty little secrets. Maybe we should both beeducatednotopinionated, eh? #1. I am weary of any politician that is having press conferences, photo-ops, etc…every time you turn around. As should others! #2. My comments about big boy derive from several issues with the county commission and their inability to make a decision when it comes to matters of the county, this article being proof. When the sheriffs depart are all getting new vehicles, jackets, hats, shirts, etc…in addition to their uniforms, yet a small raise is shot down by them, I have a problem. A big one. It goes back to the “spread the wealth” mentality. #beeducatednotopinionated I understand, his supporters are loyal and clueless, so I won’t respond again. No need, as I have rang this bell twice. Not wasting my time again.

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  • beeducatednotopinionated

    Conservativelife, look at the election numbers from all the previous election years. Come on, you sound intelligent enough to know you are wasting your time getting on the sheriff. I think we ALL have skeletons in our closet, eh?
    And conservativelife, you sound like a rich republican.

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  • ConservativeLife

    I will assume you say “rich Republican” because of my username, in a stereotypical way. Which means because I am conservative, I am assumed to be “rich”? Polling numbers, you say? That was wayyyy back in the day, when the democratic party “ruled the school”. Times have changed. And he has also. Sad to say, he is a much different person from when he raked in the votes. Goodday!

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    • beeducatednotopinionated

      The people in Pike County must be satisfied with sheriff and his department. No one wants that job and all that responsibility. I have known that boy his entire life, and I have seen him work hard to get that department where it is. And conservativelife, I have been around enough people in my life to know that you have been handed everything and I am sure you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. If he were a republican, you would have NO PROBLEM with what his department has. He is FOR ALL THE PEOPLE, not just republicans.

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  • Southernboy

    If one county employee gets a pay raise they should “ALL” get a pay raise, regardless of the political party affiliation and regardless of whether the person heading that governmental agency is from Pike County or not. I don’t believe that the executive pen from Washington has reached Troy, yet to grant pay raises to a select few.

    Regardless of where Mr. Allen is from Pike County or not, those who are so quick to point out this fact, I would suggest you try to access the records in his office. For the first time in years, public records can be accessed and located with ease. The records that I am noting are—liens, land deeds, wills, marriage, etc. Those citizens who don’t use this information don’t have a clue as to the improvements that have been made.

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    • beeducatednotopinionated

      That is so right southernboy!!!! The probate judge has a slush fund, let him use some of that.

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      • ConservativeLife

        The high sheriff does too. Educate yourself before you raise issues that have no merit. Maybe a relative just defending his behavior, grasping for any shred of “evidence” that Allen is a bad person? You haven’t done much research on your local officials. Audit reports are available online. Campaign forms are publicly online. But you probably already know that, right? What you have here is a “slush fund” as you say, being used to make improvements versus self-promotion. This argument is pointless. Although to see the reports, you have to show proof that you are rich. And a republican. I am an Independant, by the way. I have worked my entire life. I do not have a college degree. My children never wore name brand clothing. They attended public school. You shouldn’t stereotype people. My comments have nothing to do with his party. I am tired of partisan politics. Officials should work for the people, not a party. We have a few that do, then we have some that don’t. I am not trying to make you feel like you are clueless, just wish more people would research who they cast votes for.

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        • beeducatednotopinionated

          You are right about one thing conservativelife, this is pointless. You are screaming and whining about the democrats and making unfair accusations against a few. I do not care what party you claim. It’s funny how you know so much about these certain people and how bitter you sound in these comments. Once again, if you can’t be helpful, then at least don’t be hurtful.

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  • Observer

    If I am reading the article correctly, the probate office had nine workers, one retired and was replaced and it still has nine workers. Allen wants to divide the difference between the retired worker’s salary and the new worker’s starting pay among the nine workers.l
    The plan would keep the office under its salary budget since it had budgeted for the higher paid veteran. But, it would also raise everybody’s salary so that when the current workers get step increases the steps are higher and when the get across the board raises, those raises are higher.
    If the premium paid for veteran workers is really an acknowledgement of the efficiency of experienced workers the office should expect some decrease in efficiency with the departure of the retiring worker and may have to later add on temporary help to get the job done.

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  • BH1880

    Odd that my attempted post yesterday did not get put in. Politics in Pike County stinks to high heaven. Apparently no one wants to call in someone to take a look. There was an amendment to existing law passed and signed last year http://openstates.org/al/bills/2013rs/SB146/

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  • wayfaroff

    If one department has figured out a way to cut costs and stay within budget and offset the expense of the raise+, I see no reason why we shouldn’t reward that with the additional pay. In a well functioning business that is what would be done, since it encourages expense cutting and a competitive achievement oriented atmosphere. Their sense of ‘fairness’ in this regard seems to have been short-sighted at best, BS at worst.

    I suspect we fail to elect the wisest people sometimes.

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  • ConservativeLife

    My reply to #uneducatedandmisinformed:
    Not bitter. Not being hurtful, just speaking the truth. I research politicians. I study their behavior and voting record. Before I cast a vote for ANYONE, I can just about tell you what they prefer for breakfast each morning. I vote for candidates, not parties. Just because someone is a Democrat doesn’t mean they aren’t a good person. Just because someone is a Republican doesn’t mean they are rich, as you stated earlier. This has nothing to do with “the party” of anyone. You are missing the point. The County Commission should not treat and vote a certain official’s request different because of party affiliation. Have you been to meetings? They should really be televised. It is a shock to think that some of them were ever elected! My point was how 1 official is obviously treated differently, when he lacks moral character. If you are related to him, I apologize to you if I offended you. If not, you really need to educate yourself, because there is a lot that goes on that you are unaware. He is a friend to many and holds the sheet that covers so many eyes. Good night. Have to go to bed so I can rake in the dough tomorrow after coffee and breakfast with my rich friends.

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    • beeducatednotopinionated

      I also research each politician before I cast a vote. No I can honestly say I am not a relative of the sheriff or the revenue commissioner. But I am a supporter of both and have been for many years. Are they perfect? Heck no. Is any politician perfect for that matter? Well, no. But to slander someone because you are mad because something did not work out in your favor is just wrong. And that is EXACTLY what you are doing. I also know how people operate, and I have an issue with the “moral character” of a certain republican appointed official and the way he treats others.

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  • BH1880

    Most people don’t care. If you go to a state wide news site, today 4 of 5 most read/most commented are about football. This is unusual, most times it’s 5 out of 5. The only time peoples political interest spikes is when new taxes are purposed. The ACCA (Alabama County commissioners)are again talking about raising taxes and Home Rule. Very few from Pike County want to take part in politics, much less run for public office. The so called “Rich Republicans” attempt to hold onto their life savings (that they worked for)as they are taxed away and destroyed by inflation. Pike County is one of the poorer county in the State of Alabama (6th poorest state in the nation). (Food stamp recipients eat better than the working poor and do not pay taxes.) Yet when someone come along with a better idea, they are voted down. Not saying that the Probate Office should get raises, but should be treated equally with the Sheriff’s office and the Revenue Department.

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