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County surveyor not entitled to additional compensation, rules court

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The Indiana Court of Appeals has denied the Gibson County surveyor’s claims that under statute, he is entitled to a higher salary and additional compensation for referencing corners in the county.

Michael W. Stevenson took office in 2005 when he was not a licensed surveyor, but obtained his license in June of that year. The prior surveyor had been licensed. Stevenson’s initial salary was $36,170.

In 2006, he sought a pay increase of 1.5 times what he currently made since he was now licensed, based on I.C. 36-2-12-15(b). This statute requires a licensed surveyor be paid 1.5 times the amount of an unlicensed surveyor. The county council instead added a note to the budget indicating the salary for an unlicensed surveyor would be 1.5 times less than what Stevenson made. Stevenson made this request each budget year through 2012, and was denied each time.

In 2009, he sought additional compensation for referencing all 1,959 corners in Gibson County. Statute says the surveyor receives $4 per corner referenced. This compensation was also denied, leading to the current lawsuit.

In Michael W. Stevenson v. County Commissioners of Gibson County, Indiana, Bob Townsend, Don Whitehead, Gerald Bledsoe, County Council of Gibson County, Indiana, Tony Wolfe, Jeremy Overton, et al., 26A01-1212-PL-540, the Court of Appeals found no abuse of discretion in the trial court’s decision, which held the council met its statutory obligations by establishing the lower salary for the unlicensed surveyor instead of increasing Stevenson’s salary.

There was also no error in finding he is not entitled to $35,580 in additional compensation for seven years of unpaid corner references he allegedly completed. The COA rejected his claims that to receive compensation he is required to only “have a book of records” and “sit there and draw the money.”

The statute requires the surveyor check and reference at least 5 percent of all corners in the county each year, meaning perform a physical inspection and note the condition of the monument and references in order to be compensated.
 

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  • 1.5 times less???
    Wouldn't a salary that is 1.5 less than the current licensed surveyor's salary mean an unlicensed surveyor would be paying the county $18,085 per year for the privilege of working!

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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