Bridges and Headley request personnel changes
Superior Court Judge-elect Denny Bridges and Circuit Court Judge Matthew Headley went before the Putnam County Council Tuesday to ask for a personnel change.
They want to make a trade.
Bridges wants to hand over the full-time employee position to Headley. Headley will in return give the part-time positions to Bridges. The part-time position -- 31 hours per week -- will be shared by two women.
Bridges said those ladies are not in need of benefits and want to only work part time.
There will be an $8,000 transfer from the public defender's fund to cover the cost of moving positions from one court to the other.
One council member asked Headley if the move were granted, would the budget be a problem later.
Headley admitted he could not give that assurance, just as he could not guarantee someone committing murder tomorrow causing an expensive trial.
After some discussion, council gave approval of the reassignment, pending approval by county commissioners. They will meet Monday.
Approval was also given on a new public address or PA system and video conferencing equipment.
Headley addressed the council saying video conferencing would reduce the amount of traffic from the Putnam County Jail to the courthouse.
"It won't cut down all the traffic," said Headley, but would help tremendously.
How it will work is monitors would be set up in both courtrooms and at the Putnam County Jail. It would allow judges and prisoners to see each other with picture-in-picture. Initial and bond-reduction hearings can be held via the Internet-based equipment.
It will be time effective as well as cost effective. The sheriff's office will see most of the reduction in cost from not transporting prisoners.
The PA system -- especially in Bridges' courtroom -- is outdated. There have been past complaints from jurors saying it is hard to hear.
The total cost will be $53,000, which includes $28,000 for recording instruments and $25,000 for the video conferencing equipment.
This was the final meeting for 2008. Council meetings will resume on the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. They are open to the public.