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Justice of the peace salaries are restructured

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Douglas County’s justices of the peace are getting a raise, but their paychecks won’t be getting any bigger.

The county commission has decided to set a base salary of more than $73,000, effective for the Tahoe and East Fork townships. But the move won’t make a difference because East Fork JP Jim EnEarl earns $85,113 and Tahoe JP Richard Glasson, who took office Jan. 1, will start at $78,000.

The increase is a result of a discrepancy Glasson discovered while completing personnel forms after he was elected.

A resolution adopted in 1997 set the base salary at $68,016, but a county pay plan that was later adopted set a pay range of $62,420 to $85,113.

Glasson wasn’t told exactly what he would earn. His predecessor, Steve McMorris, made more because he was compensated for being a special master and had also earned longevity pay for his 18 years of service.

At a Jan. 4 meeting, Glasson argued he should be paid what EnEarl makes.

“I’ve got the same duties. Our caseload is similar,” he said.

“Mr. Glasson is not a rookie attorney. I believe his salary should be the same as Mr. EnEarl’s,” said Commissioner Steve Weissinger.

Others pointed out that the county’s pay schedule means some people hold the same jobs and titles but have different pay rates because of their tenure. All agreed a uniform base salary is necessary, and that Glasson’s experience as a lawyer justifies a $78,000 starting salary.

The board also agreed on a base of $73,337, but an updated resolution suggests a base of $73,756 to match the county’s current pay plan.

Justices of the peace oversee the county’s justice courts, adjudicating misdemeanor criminal cases and handling preliminary procedures for gross misdemeanor and felony cases.

They also perform civil marriage ceremonies and hear small claims and traffic cases. The Nevada Judiciary Annual Report for 1999-2000 showed 1,069 criminal filings in East Fork Justice Court compared to 1,162 in Tahoe Justice Court. East Fork had 681 civil filings and Tahoe 255, the report says.

A resolution stating the new $73,756 base for both JPs will be discussed Thursday when the county commission meets. The meeting will be at the old courthouse, 1616 Eighth St., Minden.