A Georgia state employee has filed a civil suit accusing Gov. Sonny Perdue of taking away employees’ pay raises.
William Estill sued Perdue and the head of every state agency in Fulton County Superior Court on Monday. He is asking for class-action status.
Estill claims that the General Assembly and Perdue approved a 2.5 percent pay raise for most state employees in 2008 that should have taken effect Jan. 1. Employees, however, never saw the increased pay because lawmakers and Perdue this spring agreed to defer the increase to help cover a deepening state budget crisis.
In his suit, Estill says the Legislature and the governor could have cut spending, raised taxes and fees or reduced the state’s workforce to honor the pay raises.
Estill is described as a state employee in the suit, although it does not say for which agency he works. A search of the state employee salary database shows a William Estill as being a probation officer with the Department of Corrections.
Update 2:40 p.m.: Bert Brantley, Perdue’s communications director, responds:
“The state’s budget act is very clear; the appropriations bill is an authorization for spending up to the amounts specified. The governor has the clear authority to withhold funds below those authorized amounts during the first six months of the fiscal year before the Legislature convenes in January. The amended budget is then passed, which sets the spending plan for the rest of year, unless economic conditions change and more withholding is needed between the time of adjournment and the end of the fiscal year. This lawsuit is a waste of the state funds that will be required to defend it, in addition to being a waste of time, effort and costs of the court which are all in short supply.”