Greene chancery, Leflore circuit clerks top paid in 2006

Published 11:27 pm Saturday, June 2, 2007

The take-home pay for 55 chancery clerks in Mississippi topped $100,000 in 2006, according to the state auditor’s annual report.

There are 82 chancery clerks in Mississippi — one per county. The auditor’s report showed two clerks took home more than $200,000 each.

The Greene County Chancery Clerk’s office reported the highest net income of $266,694. Leflore County Chancery Clerk Sam Abraham reported a take home salary of $207,242.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Greene County Chancery Clerk Latricia Cornelson was not in office for all of 2006. She won a special election last year to succeed William “Mel” Williams, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement in March.

The state auditor’s report does not show how much Cornelson took home from the chancery clerk’s office.

Abraham was the top paid chancery clerk in 2005 with $208,503.

Fifteen of the state’s 82 circuit clerks also had net incomes of more than $100,000. Leflore County Circuit Clerk Trey Evans had the highest net income of $139,074. Evans led circuit clerks in 2005 with a net income of $138,220. Warren County Circuit Clerk Shelly Ashley-Palmertree was second in 2006 with $138,728.

Chancery and circuit clerks’ salaries vary and are based on fees paid to their offices for services they provide to people, courts and county governments. After paying for expenses, they can keep what money is left.

In 2004, lawmakers increased the amounts that chancery and circuit clerks could take home. They added another $6,840 to the so-called cap on the clerks’ compensation, setting the upper limit at $90,000 a year. However, clerks can continue to get certain payments exempt from the limit by serving in other roles such as comptroller or administrator.

Mississippi’s county clerks perform various duties such as processing lawsuits filed in chancery court, handling wills and acting as administrators for county boards of supervisors.

Circuit clerks’ duties include processing circuit court cases, registering voters, running elections and issuing marriage licenses.

The clerks are normally the highest paid elected officials in their counties. Other county officeholders get salaries set in state law based on population and tax bases.

Among the statewide elected officials, the governor has the highest salary at $122,160 a year, according to a article.