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Did Clerk of Court Jim Fuller break the law?

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Updated: 9/26/2012 11:55 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- Action News is talking to the city's senior assistant general counsel to find out whether bonuses to clerk of courts employees were illegal.

City leaders are trying to figure out if a request for $126,000 in bonuses this month is legit. They were supposed to go to employees at the clerk of courts office, but human resources noticed bonuses were also handed out last month.

Action News sat down with the city's senior assistant general counsel to find out how this happened. "We don't usually give pay raises every few weeks so that raised red flags," said Mary Jarrett. "The one question we found was whether it's a one-time payment. It may fall under a new law."

That new law would mean the clerk's office has to have a bonus plan in place. As far as the general counsel's office is aware, they don't.

Fuller told Action News by phone, he will review all of this when he gets back from vacation next week. Fuller contends, it's not city taxpayer money. "It all has to do with state money. It has nothing to do with the city, or the city's money or people getting laid off from the city, or whatever. It has to do with my state budget. That money can't be mixed. It can't be used for city functions or a county function," said Fuller.

The state statute says without a bonus plan in place, no one is eligible for the extra money. "This has really irritated me after 20 years, that this has come up," said Fuller. "The state says you can't call it a one-time payment if it's actually a bonus. It's fine to give one, but you have to meet the criteria," said Jarrett.

Right now the bonuses for September 28th are on hold until the city figures out whether they are legal.
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