Probate judge says her salary was illegally reduced

By Ashley Perry | Nov 24, 2014

A Galveston County judge is suing over claims her salary was unlawfully reduced.

Kimberly Sullivan, a judge in Probate Court of Galveston County, filed a lawsuit Oct. 17 in Galveston County District Court against the Galveston County Commissioners Court.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 9, the Commissioners Court, which includes County Judge Mark Henry and county commissioners Ryan Dennard, Kevin O'Brien, Stephen D. Holmes and Ken Clark, voted to reduce Sullivan's annual salary by eliminating the judicial administrative fee.

The complaint states the fee has historically been paid to the administrative district judge, administrative county court at law judge and administrative statutory probate judge but the defendant voted to discontinue payment only to the administrative statutory probate judge.

Sullivan says the other two positions' fees are paid from the general fund but the fee for her position is taken from a separate fund created by probate case filing fees, so its payment would not affect the county budget.

The defendant is accused of abusing its discretion by arbitrarily and capriciously reducing the plaintiff's salary, and Sullivan seeks judgment declaring she is entitled to the administrative supplement and directing the defendant to reinstate the fees as previously paid. Sullivan says she has suffered lost earnings and salary benefits since Oct. 1, and it will continue through her term in office.

Sullivan seeks interest in addition to actual damages.

She is represented by attorney Alton C. Todd of The Law Firm of Alton C. Todd in Friendswood.

Galveston County District Court case number: 14-CV-1112

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