County wise to set up rules for justice court fines

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 3, 2013

We’d all like to believe public servants appreciate and understand the vital role they play.

We’d like to believe they wake up every morning with a sunny disposition, happy to work for the greater good.

We’d like to think they set aside personal differences and just get the public’s job done.

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Unfortunately, public servants are people first, taxpayer-employees second.

People need rules and guidance and discipline, and occasionally a second chance.

That’s important to consider in light of the approach the Adams County Board of Supervisors have taken in trying to mediate the spat between Adams County Justice Court Clerk Audrey Bailey and Justice Court Judge Charlie Vess.

The two have been at odds over a seemingly simple goal — collecting the $3.84 million in delinquent court fees owed to the county.

But the issue has become personal.

Bailey vehemently threatened to sue Vess recently in open court. Vess could have thrown her in contempt for not respecting his office. Fortunately Vess didn’t or the situation would have worsened.

But the supervisors and their wise-beyond-his-years attorney Scott Slover have developed a set of class rules, as it were, to help the pair prioritize and work through the most-likely-to-be-collected fines.

Creating the policy shouldn’t have been necessary, but we’re glad the supervisors stepped up to resolve the problem. Now that the plan is clear, if Bailey doesn’t live up to her end of the bargain, supervisors should find a new clerk.

If Vess doesn’t live up to his end of the bargain, supervisors cannot replace him — since he’s elected. But they can publicly criticize him.

The rules are on the wall, now let’s hope something finally begins happening to collect this much-needed county money.