LB - Grand Canyon Rail

Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS |
Williams News | Williams, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news June 25, 2016

3/26/2013 11:44:00 AM
Williams magistrate asks city for more pay and change in employment status

Marissa Freireich
Williams-Grand Canyon News Reporter

Williams City Council members chose not to make a decision about changing the employment status of the magistrate and judges pro-tem from independent contractors to city employees during the council's March 14 regular meeting.

Williams Magistrate Rob Krombeen's contract with the city expired in December 2012. Under that contract, he had been working as an independent contractor. Along with a change in employment status, Krombeen also asked for an increase in pay.

After the meeting, Krombeen said the language regarding independent contractors in his old contract doesn't suit judges.

"What we've found is it seems that the classification as a part time employee seems to better fit the nature of those positions, as judges are agents of both the city and the state of Arizona for that matter, and they're subject to court scheduling, policies and directives."

Vice mayor Don Dent and councilman Frank McNelly recused themselves from the discussion.

Pro-tem judges serve as alternate judges if the magistrate is not available or has a conflict of interest in a case. Williams has two pro-tem judges, Warren Sanford and Robert Rantz, who are only paid for the hours they work. They serve as pro-tem judges in both the municipal (city) and justice (county) courts.

City attorney Kellie Peterson said while many states require pro-tem judges to be independent contractors, the part time employee classification is also legal in Arizona.

All part time judges in the county are classified as part time employees, Krombeen added after the meeting.

In a staff report to the mayor and council, City Manager Brandon Buchanan recommended that the magistrate and pro-tem judges be designated as part time, regular status employees with supplemental employment agreements that limit benefits.

As part time employees, the city would be required to pay percentage contributions to Social Security, unemployment and other taxes. The city would pay these taxes on a monthly basis, regardless of whether the pro-tem judges worked or not. The taxes would be no more than $2,000 per position per year, Buchanan said in his report.

Regular part time employees of the city are also eligible for pro-rated health benefits. However, under the recommendation, the magistrate and pro-tem judges would sign employment agreements that would eliminate these benefits because of their cost to the city. The council would have to approve the employment agreements.

Councilman Lee Payne was concerned about who would monitor the pro-tem judges.

"Who's going to keep tabs on how many hours they're working and things like that?" he asked. "We have to have some accountability on how many hours we're being charged."

Krombeen said the court would schedule and oversee the hours. He added that sometimes the pro-tem judges are not needed for months at a time.

Peterson added that Krombeen maintains the court budget and presents it to the council.

"Either way, whether they're independent contractors or employees, it's still got to come out of court budget," she said.

Councilman Jim Wurgler made a motion to designate the magistrate and pro-tem judges as part time employees with non-negotiable employment agreements.

No one seconded the motion, so the motion died and discussion continued.

Payne asked if it would be possible for the county to provide judge services for the city.

Peterson said it was possible but there were some things to consider.

"One of the goals of the court is to really truly separate the city court and the county court," she said. "If we go through that and contract through the county for that I think the city gives up some of its control over that court and gives up that separation between the courts and really blends them in a way that we have been trying to separate them."

Krombeen said if he continues to serve as an independent contractor, he would want insurance to protect him from any liabilities. An independent insurance agent told Krombeen they could not underwrite him for personally purchased insurance for his position.

"The realistic liability may be a low risk, but it's still one of those risks that most business people wouldn't take," Krombeen said after the meeting.

At this point, councilman Bernie Hiemenz made a motion that the magistrate continue under the same contract.

"Keep in mind I'm not sure that I'm willing to work under the same contract," Krombeen said.

No one seconded the motion, so the motion died.

"I've never quite been in this situation, apparently we have no decision," Mayor John Moore said.

Payne said he needed more information.

The council agreed to discuss the matter again at the next meeting. Krombeen said he would continue his work until a decision is reached.

    Recently Commented     Most Viewed
Editorial: Commenting to move to Facebook
New maintenance coordinator at Williams Airport
Williams School Board Candidates face off in candidate forum
Hunters shoot prairie dogs at Williams Elementary-Middle School
Composer Ted Nichols, known for his Scooby Doo and Flintstones scores, continues his varied musical career from his home in Williams

Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Article comment by: Williams Citizen

GREED! Plain and simple.

Posted: Friday, March 29, 2013
Article comment by: keep it straight

The justice of the peace is a elected position, the city magistrate is appointed by the city council. If he doesn't want the job give it to someone else.

Just a taxpayer:: It is not as clear cut as you think it is. He is indeed a independent contractor for numerous reasons.

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Article comment by: Judge Kromdoom Is a CROOK

Dave Pouquette would be a fine Judge and Williams would love hom

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Article comment by: Fed Up

No more money for Govt employes.. we need our own sequester in Williams to start addressing the feather beding and galoping over compensation of our city employes

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Article comment by: Jim P

I don't understand why he wants a raise that job already pays 110,000.00 a year. That is good money for Williams Arizona.

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Article comment by: Just A Taxpayer

IRS determined this quandray long ago. Does the City control how the judge does his job, assigns duties? Does the City control rate of pay, whether expenses are reimbursed, provide the facility, furniture, equipment, office supplies? Does the City provide benefits? Does the City set the hours of work, where work will be performed? Does the judge perform the same work for other agencies/companies?

I'm a contractor. I set my rate of pay, take it or leave it. I have my own office, equipment and supplies. I set my hours and my workload. I work for many companies. Clients hire me to produce outcomes/results, but I decide what needs to be done and how I will do it.

Seems pretty cut and dried to me . . . the judge is an employee.

Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2013
Article comment by: Keith Wilmot

The article didn't tell us what other small towns in Arizona do. I thing we should be consistent with the other towns in our size category.

Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Article comment by: kick him to the curb

If he doesn't want to be the city magistrate, then hit the road jack. I'm positive someone will take the position.

Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Article comment by: Mike B

This article is misleading as it should be entitled "City magistrate asks for more pay, and change in employment status, after pending lawsuit has been filed." As an independent contractor the City has no obligation to defend the city magistrate in his current position against a lawsuit.

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public.Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Williams, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Find It Features Blogs Milestones Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Opinions | Obituaries | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
LB - Grand Canyon Rail

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® Williams-Grand Canyon News is the information source for Williams, Arizona and surrounding communities. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. Williams News Online is a service of Williams GC Newspapers Inc. By using the Site, ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Williams News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved