Woodford County

Woodford clerk's $10,500 in raises rescinded

VERSAILLES — The Woodford Fiscal Court approved an amended 2009 budget for County Clerk Judie Woolums Tuesday night that eliminates two pay raises totaling $10,500 for a deputy clerk who is also her daughter-in-law.

Woolums had said Monday that her amended budget scrapped a $5,000 raise for Karin Woolums, her daughter-in-law. The budget approved Tuesday also eliminates an earlier $5,500 raise for Karin Woolums.

The amended budget includes a $1,000 raise for each of the eight deputy clerks, including Karin Woolums. That is in line with the raises that fiscal court had approved for other county employees.

The amended budget was passed "just to be consistent with what we've done with other departments and other constitutional offices," said Magistrate Jim Staples.

In a statement that he read to the fiscal court, Staples apologized "for having misled you" during the Jan. 13 meeting in which the magistrates had approved the county clerk's budget. At that meeting, Staples, who had been asked to go over the clerk's budget, had told the other magistrates that he was satisfied with it.

Staples recounted how he had met with Judie Woolums and asked her whether each deputy clerk "would receive a $1,000 increase consistent with what had been approved by the court in July of 2008. And I was told 'yes.'"

"My mistake was that I had not taken the time to do the necessary research and numbers-crunching to make the comparison to the 2008 budget. For that, I apologize," Staples said. "I can assure you that I will never make that mistake again."

Later in January, the fiscal court learned that the yearly salaries on a list prepared for payroll differed from the approved raises of $1,000 per deputy. Some increases for other deputies ranged between $1,200 and $1,900.

Upon learning of the discrepancies, fiscal court voted in a special meeting Jan. 20 to set aside its Jan. 13 approval of the clerk's budget.

The budget passed Tuesday night totals $459,000, or $51,000 less than the $510,000 budget that Judie Woolums had initially submitted to the fiscal court. The court reduced budgeted expenses for office supplies, printing and binding, and telephone service.

Judie Woolums had no comment after the meeting other than to say that she was glad the budget was approved.