New Commissioner, Blake Elsberry, Probate Judge, Gary Woods, and Sheriff Schrader were sworn in to their respective offices today.
Probate Judge Woods was sworn in by Judge Graham, chief judge of the Superior Court for the Lookout Mountain Judicial Circuit. Commission Blake Elsberry was sworn in by Associate Probate Judge, Becky Duke. Sheriff Schrader experienced an unusual swearing in ceremony this year, as he was sworn in via a Zoom video. This is due to Covid precautions.
With the to new officials now sworn in, Chattooga County will see a savings of about $70,000 in wages. Elected Constitutional Officers salaries are set by Georgia law and local referendums. Probate Judge Woods salary will decrease significantly from former Probate Judge, Jon Paynes salary. Judge Paynes’ salary, prior to his retirement annoucement was slightly over $109,000 per year. Judge Woods salary will start at $65,205.38 per year. Judge Payne significant salary was due to longevity raises, as he was in office for 45 years.
New Commissioner Elsberry, will also see a decrease in salary compared to his predecessor. Elsberrys’ salary will start at $88,808.84 per year, as compared to former Commissioner Winters salary of $114,802.61. The Commissioner salary is set in a different way. The sole County Commissioners salary is set at 5% above the highest salary of all elected constitutional officers. Currently that officer is Sheriff Schrader at $84,579.85. Formerly, that was again, Judge Payne.