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Hamilton County Circuit Court Clerk Paula Thompson said Thursday she would not seek re-election and plans to retire when her term ends Aug. 31, 2014.
Thompson has been criticized publicly by county commissioners recently for her handling of the office’s budget. But she said Thursday her decision “has nothing to do with all the political stuff.” She declined to comment further, citing “personal reasons.”
A Times Free Press report in June found salaries in Thompson’s office had steadily increased since she was elected in 2002 and outpaced revenues by 2007.
Commissioners denied her requested $336,000 budget increase for the fiscal year that started July 1, which she said she needed to make ends meet.
Instead, commissioners told Thompson she would have to cut payroll.
According to 2012 figures, Thompson would have to cut pay by 8.2 percent across the board for her 42 employees, fire enough people to clear a $156,000 deficit or sue the county for the money. Those measures would just get her office in the black.
As of Thursday, Thompson had not filed a suit against the county commission, according to County Attorney Rheubin Taylor.
In a written statement Thursday, Thompson said she was announcing her retirement early to allow others who wish to run to prepare their campaigns.
Thompson has worked for the county for 47 years. She thanked residents Thurday for their support.
Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6481. Follow him on Twitter at @glbrogdoniv.
Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...
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Since she took office in 2002, Circuit Court Clerk Paula Thompson's staff has been paid well for its work.