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Unofficial Opinion 98-12

Unofficial Opinion 98-12

September 11, 1998
To: 

District Court Administrator

Re: 

The governing authority of a county may supplement the salary of a state judicial employee without separate local legislation. Further, a state employee may not contract with a county to perform services during the same forty-hour work week.

You have requested my opinion as to whether a county may supplement a state judicial employee’s salary without local legislation or separate approval from the General Assembly. You have further requested my opinion as to whether a state judicial employee may contract with a county to perform administrative work for the county during the same forty-hour work week that he is employed by the state. It is my opinion that the General Assembly has provided counties with the authority to supplement state judicial employee salaries without further legislation. Further, it is my opinion that a full time state employee may not contract to work for a county during the same forty-hour work week.

The Georgia Constitution, Article VI, Section VII, Paragraph V, grants the General Assembly power to authorize a county supplement to the salary of a judicial employee. It provides that “county supplements are hereby continued and may be granted or changed by the General Assembly.” (Emphasis added.) Pursuant to this constitutional provision, the General Assembly enacted O.C.G.A. § 15-6-27(h), granting counties the authority to supplement salaries “of any state paid personnel” appointed pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-6-1 et seq.

The statute provides that “[t]he governing authority of the county or counties comprising a judicial circuit may supplement the salary or fringe benefits” of any employee of the judicial branch of state government appointed pursuant to that Code Section. O.C.G.A. § 15-6-27(h). Further, the statute provides that any “municipality within the judicial circuit may, with the approval of the superior court judge, supplement the salary or fringe benefits of any state paid personnel appointed pursuant to this article.” O.C.G.A. § 15-6-27(i). This provision does not require that local legislation be passed prior to county supplementation.

Your second question asks whether a full time state employee may contract with a county to perform certain administrative services during the same forty-hour work week. It is my opinion that this is not permissible under the Code of Ethics for Government Service. The Code of Ethics found at O.C.G.A. § 45-10-1 provides in part that a government employee should “[g]ive a full day’s labor for a full day’s pay and give to the performance of his duties his earnest effort and best thought.” O.C.G.A. § 45-10-1, Section III. Thus, a state employee who contracts to perform separate duties for a non-state entity during the same work time can not provide a full day’s work to the state.

Given the above and foregoing, it is my opinion that the governing authority of a county may supplement the salary of a state judicial employee without separate local legislation and that a state employee may not contract with a county to perform services during the same forty-hour work week.

Prepared by:

REBECCA S. MICK
Assistant Attorney General