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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. A sad end to a prolific gadfly. Indiana has suffered a great loss in the journalistic realm.

  2. Good riddance to this dangerous activist judge

  3. What is the one thing the Hoosier legal status quo hates more than a whistleblower? A lawyer whistleblower taking on the system man to man. That must never be rewarded, must always, always, always be punished, lest the whole rotten tree be felled.

  4. I want to post this to keep this tread alive and hope more of David's former clients might come forward. In my case, this coward of a man represented me from June 2014 for a couple of months before I fired him. I knew something was wrong when he blatantly lied about what he had advised me in my contentious and unfortunate divorce trial. His impact on the proceedings cast a very long shadow and continues to impact me after a lengthy 19 month divorce. I would join a class action suit.

  5. The dispute in LB Indiana regarding lake front property rights is typical of most beach communities along our Great Lakes. Simply put, communication to non owners when visiting the lakefront would be beneficial. The Great Lakes are designated navigational waters (including shorelines). The high-water mark signifies the area one is able to navigate. This means you can walk, run, skip, etc. along the shores. You can't however loiter, camp, sunbath in front of someones property. Informational signs may be helpful to owners and visitors. Our Great Lakes are a treasure that should be enjoyed by all. PS We should all be concerned that the Long Beach, Indiana community is on septic systems.

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