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In re Appointment And Setting Salary For County Court Administrator

Supreme Court of Mississippi

June 13, 2019

IN RE: IN THE MATTER OF THE APPOINTMENT AND SETTING SALARY FOR COUNTY COURT ADMINISTRATOR AND DEPUTY COURT ADMINISTRATOR: HINDS COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI
v.
HON. WILLIAM SKINNER AND LARITA COOPER STOKES

          DATE OF JUDGMENT: 08/21/2017

          HINDS COUNTY COUNTY COURT HON. WILLIAM LOUIS SKINNER, II JUDGE

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT: PIETER JOHN TEEUWISSEN ANTHONY RENARD SIMON

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: SORIE S. TARAWALLY

          BEFORE RANDOLPH, C.J., ISHEE AND GRIFFIS, JJ.

          GRIFFIS, JUSTICE

         ¶1. Hinds County appeals from an administrative order signed by two Hinds County Court judges that appointed and set the salaries of the county court administrator and the deputy county court administrator. The county judges sought to set the salaries of their administrators at an amount greater than the budgeted amount set by the Hinds County Board of Supervisors. In this direct appeal, Hinds County asks that the order be vacated. We find that this appeal is not properly before the Court. Therefore, the appeal is dismissed, and the matter is remanded to the Circuit Court of the First Judicial District of Hinds County for consideration.

         FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW

         ¶2. On August 21, 2017, County Judges William Skinner and Larita Cooper-Stokes entered an administrative order entitled "Order for Appointment and Setting Salary for County Court Administrator and Deputy Court Administrator." The order reappointed the county court administrator and the deputy county court administrator and set their annual salaries at $59, 600 and $56, 600, respectively. The order stated that it was "in conformity with the memorandum of the Mississippi Supreme Court, Administrative Office of Courts [(AOC)], dated January 1, 2017, relating to new AOC job descriptions and salary ranges effective January 1, 2017."

         ¶3. The AOC memorandum discussed the guidelines used by the AOC to hire chancery and circuit court support staff. The memorandum states that the "salary range" of court administrators is "not to exceed $59, 600.00" and of deputy court administrators is "not to exceed $56, 500.00." The board's minutes from the meeting of July 6, 2015, indicate that the board resolved "to approve adoption of the [AOC] Guidelines, Job Descriptions and Salary Schedules for Personnel working in County Court."

         ¶4. Hinds County[1] responded to the order and filed a notice of appeal with the Hinds County Circuit Clerk. The designation of the record was filed, and the required costs were paid. The notice of appeal was filed in this Court.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         ¶5. This Court applies a de novo standard of review to all questions of law. McClain v.Clark, ...


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