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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. It is amazing how selectively courts can read cases and how two very similar factpatterns can result in quite different renderings. I cited this very same argument in Brown v. Bowman, lost. I guess it is panel, panel, panel when one is on appeal. Sad thing is, I had Sykes. Same argument, she went the opposite. Her Rooker-Feldman jurisprudence is now decidedly unintelligible.

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  4. Someone off their meds? C'mon John, it is called the politics of Empire. Get with the program, will ya? How can we build one world under secularist ideals without breaking a few eggs? Of course, once it is fully built, is the American public who will feel the deadly grip of the velvet glove. One cannot lay down with dogs without getting fleas. The cup of wrath is nearly full, John Smith, nearly full. Oops, there I go, almost sounding as alarmist as Smith. Guess he and I both need to listen to this again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRnQ65J02XA

  5. Charles Rice was one of the greatest of the so-called great generation in America. I was privileged to count him among my mentors. He stood firm for Christ and Christ's Church in the Spirit of Thomas More, always quick to be a good servant of the King, but always God's first. I had Rice come speak to 700 in Fort Wayne as Obama took office. Rice was concerned that this rise of aggressive secularism and militant Islam were dual threats to Christendom,er, please forgive, I meant to say "Western Civilization". RIP Charlie. You are safe at home.

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