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The Lake News Online
  • Court to hear Morgan Co. treasurer's suit

  • Motions will be heard in Morgan County next week in a lawsuit filed against Morgan County officials by one of their own.
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  • Motions will be heard in Morgan County next week in a lawsuit filed against Morgan County officials by one of their own.
    The lawsuit was filed by Morgan County Treasurer Louella Pryor against her fellow elected officials in a dispute over back pay. Pryor is listed not only as the plantiff but as one of
    the defendents that includes other elected officials.
    The case is on the docket for Aug. 20 at 1 p.m. at the Morgan County Courthouse before Judge Jaynes.
    Jaynes is a a retired judge from Howard County. He was appointed to hear the case after Circuit Court judges Stan Moore and Ken Hayden were recused. The hearing is in response to a motion for summary judgment filed by Pryor's attorney.
    The dispute stems from a difference between the Morgan County treasurer's salary and that of other elected officials. The treasurer could be owed more than $93,000 by the county.
    For a number of years, while other county officials were receiving 100 percent of what state statute allowed their pay levels to be set at, Pryor was receiving 74 percent. The percentages are set by the county's salary equalization commission.
    Pryor is now receiving the same percentage as other elected officials, but is seeking a settlement on the missing back pay.
    From 2003 to 2011, Pryor's salary was set at $33,300. Based on court documents, Pryor alleges her salary should have been $45,000. Over the eight years the difference is approximately $93,600.
    Prior to filing the suit, she offered to settle for four years or $46,800 without interest.
    After negotiations with the county stalled and rumors began to swirl that she had already filed a lawsuit, Pryor said she decided it was time to step forward to set the record straight with the media. In response, the commission issued a statement that it did not believe the interpretation of the law as suggested by the treasurer is clear and said the issue should have been raised several years ago.
    The commission said then that it would take no action on the back pay, putting the ball in Pryor's court as to potential litigation.
    According to an April 24, 2012 press release from Pryor, she was informed by her legal counsel on April 5 that he had received a phone call from the commissioners' lawyer on this matter, Ivan Schraeder of St. Louis, basically stating that commission wanted no further correspondence on the issue. To receive any compensation would require a judgement from the court in Pryor's favor.
    She alleges she did raise the salary issue prior to the Nov. 2005 salary commission meeting.
    After the commission's decision, Pryor moved forward with her suit against the county.
    Page 2 of 2 - The county treasurer is an elected official responsible for receiving, disbursing and investing all funds for the county and ensuring that monies are correctly segregated into separate funds as required by law. Pryor currently serves as first vice president of the Missouri County Treasurer's Association.

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