Sept. 12--THOMASVILLE -- The Southern Judicial Circuit public defender got no help from Thomas County commissioners with his budget woes.
John Kent Edwards Sr. told county commissioners Tuesday he needed $9,585 to pay increased health insurance premiums and retirement for employees in the Thomas County public defender office.
Some positions in the office are state-funded, but the majority are funded by county government, Edwards told the board. Health insurance and retirement benefits are provided through the state for county-funded employees, he explained.
Circuitwide, Edwards said, the office is looking at a $48,577 shortfall.
The request was for Thomas County employees only.
"The problem is the health insurance premiums have to be paid," Edwards said, adding that the state will not pay the increase for county-funded employees.
To put the request up for discussion, Commission Chairman Elaine Mays called for a motion. There was none.
Mays made a motion, with a second by Commissioner Merrill Baker.
Edwards told commissioners they had turned down budget increase requests for his office in 2001 and probably in 2010. Office employees have not had raises for four years while the workload continues to increase, he said.
"Every department can argue that same case before us," Commissioner Mark Nesmith told Edwards.
See Thursday's edition for more details.
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