Budget includes same raises for Register's deputies as county appeals to Supreme Court

Dickson County Register of Deeds Jackie Farthing
Dickson County Register of Deeds Jackie Farthing

While the budget proposal unveiled by county Mayor Bob Rial Monday night includes $800 raises for all county employees, it once again does not include the five percent raises requested two years ago by Register of Deeds Jackie Farthing and recently upheld by the Tennessee Court of Appeals following her lawsuit. That ruling is currently being appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. Farthing was the last elected official to submit her department’s 2014-15 budget request to the mayor’s office. Her request revised on Monday lists total salaries for the three deputies at $74,025,90 with a notation that the total includes the five percent increase per the Feb. 26 court of appeals decision. Rial’s budget submitted to the Budget and Budget Advisory committees Monday lists deputies’ salaries at $73,353, which is a $2,400 overall increase above the current year. Rial is proposing an $800 raise for all full-time county employees, giving them an increase of $2,000 over a two-year period when combined with the $1,200 raises in the current fiscal year. Farthing had sued the county after her request for five percent raises for her three employees was not included in the 2012-13 budget. A Dickson County chancellor ruled in the county’s favor but the Tennessee Court of Appeals reversed that decision in February and ordered the county to grant the five percent increases retroactive for the past two years. The commission has yet to allocate any funds for the increases or amend the register’s office budget to reflect the salary changes for the past two budgets and only the across-the-board raises are included in the budget submitted by the mayor. Following the commission’s April 21 regular session, it held an executive session with attorney Brian Ragan to discuss the Court of Appeals ruling on Farthing’s lawsuit, which also includes an order that the county pay Farthing’s attorney’s fees. The commission did not return to a public session that night and has not taken any official vote following that closed-door session, but Rial has confirmed the Court of Appeals ruling is being appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, meaning the county is holding off on adding the five percent raises for the past two years and in the proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Farthing is retiring in September after 16 years as Register of Deeds and 28 total years working in the office. Deputy Register Shelly Lynch Yates and Dickson Public Works Director Jeff Lewis are seeking the office on the Aug. 7 ballot.