County Attorney Seth Slagle approached commissioners Monday with a request to improve secretary Shawna Franklin’s pay grade, moving the part-time county employee to a full time position.
Franklin was a full time employee with the law office of Frank Douthitt when Slagle was appointed county attorney. When Slagle, whose office is located in Douthitt’s Lawyers Building, was appointed, Franklin became his secretary, with the county paying $17,500 of her salary. The county also provides insurance and retirement. Slagle said Douthitt pays the remainder of her salary, but most of the work she performs is for county cases.
Slagle asked that commissioners consider her for the pay grade of “Deputy One”, requiring a salary of approximately $36,000 per year plus retirement. The county attorney’s office also receives hot check fees, which, in the past, have been paid to the attorney’s secretary. Slagle said that if the raise were approved, those fees would go into his budget.
“Every office here has a Deputy One, and that’s what she is,” said Slagle.
Slagle told commissioners that the county has improved its case completion rate because Franklin is able to prepare each case ahead of time.
Clay County has a case completion rate of 91 percent, up from 79 percent three years ago, and is one of only two counties in the Nortex region eligible for grants based on the rate.
Some of her duties include preparing documents, paper work, managing hot check cases, sending out letters to those who have written hot checks (60 cases currently), contacting defendants, handling calls and completing reports.
Another issue facing the position is the pending retirement of Douthitt. Slagle said that he would not be able to maintain the portion of Franklin’s salary that is not paid by the county through his private practice.
Slagle compared his situation to county attorneys in nearby counties with similar populations. Archer County provides two full time staffers and an office; Montague has one full time, one part time and the attorney offices in the courthouse; with a population of less than half of Clay County, Hardeman County has one full time staffer.
Commissioners took no action on the item, asking for time to go through the figures. They will revisit the request in a called meeting Monday, Jan. 30 at 9:30 a.m.