ILNews

County, court don't have to give back pay

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A former chief probation officer for the Clark Superior Court isn't entitled to back pay after she stepped down as chief, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

Susan Knoebel filed suit in Susan Knoebel v. Clark County Superior Court No. 1 and Clark County, Ind., No. 22A01-0808-CV-384, claiming the court and county owed her back pay once she stepped down from the chief probation officer position after a new judge took office in February 2007. She originally had her pay erroneously reduced to the minimum salary for a probation officer with just one year of experience; Knoebel had a master's degree and several years of experience. The Clark County Council adjusted her pay, relying on the 2007 Minimum Salary Schedule for Probation Officers adopted by the Judicial Conference of Indiana.

She filed suit in May 2007 seeking back pay, statutory damages, and attorney's fees for subtracting from her salary the additional amount allocated for chief probation officers after her demotion. Chief probation officers receive a salary increase of $7,500 in addition to the minimum salary based on years of experience and education.

Knoebel argued that the salary schedule states departments shall not reduce the salaries of probation officers who are paid above the minimum salary schedule. The Court of Appeals rejected her argument because the salary increase is in addition to the minimum salary, mandatory, and therefore increases the minimum salary for chief probation officers. When she received her salary for being the chief probation officer, she received the minimum salary for someone with her education and experience and never received a salary above the minimum salary schedule, wrote Judge Edward Najam. Because she was never paid above the minimum salary schedule, the court and county didn't err in reducing her salary once she was no longer the chief probation officer.

The Court of Appeals also ruled that Knoebel properly named the Superior Court and Clark County as parties in her action for back pay. Any order she obtained that didn't compel both the court to fix and the county to pay her alleged erroneous salary would provide an absence of relief to her, contrary to Indiana Trial Rule 19(A)(1), wrote Judge Najam.

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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