Magistrates sue state over lack of raises

Posted May 13, 2014


— Forty magistrates from across North Carolina sued the state Tuesday, alleging that going years without raises amounts to a breach of contract and violates their constitutional rights.

The magistrates are seeking back pay, plus interest, and want a judge's approval for a class-action lawsuit, noting all North Carolina magistrates are in the same position.

Pay scales for magistrates are set by statute and are based on the number of years of experience, which according to the suit creates a contractual obligation for the state to pay those rates. The state hasn't fulfilled that obligation since 2009, the suit states.

"Each and every pay period since 2009 constitutes a separate obligation of the State to pay Plaintiffs the amounts promised," the suit states. "Each and every paycheck received by Plaintiffs since 2009 constitutes a separate breach of contract by the State."

In addition to a breach of contract, the magistrates accused the state of an unconstitutional taking of property and violation of their due process rights.

Gov. Pat McCrory, State Treasurer Janey Cowell, Acting State Controller James Dolan and budget director Art Pope are named as defendants in the suit.

“Magistrates, like other state employees and teachers, have gone far too long without a raise, and Gov. McCrory will address that (Wednesday) when he releases his budget," McCrory spokesman Ryan Tronovitch said in an email. "The governor’s budget proposal will be a step towards resolving not only these magistrates’ concerns, but other state employees across and teachers across the state.”


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  • krstee May 14, 2014

    Thank you 1SPECIALK for pointing out what I think most people don't know. Magistrates have less benefits than typical state employees due to the way their jobs are spelled out by the statues. Each magistrate is reappointed every 4 year, unlike typical state employees. No sick time accrual, and 24x7x365 coverage requirement means holidays, weekends, and night shifts are all paid at the same exact rate. I have a family member who is a magistrate, so I applaud this group who is trying to make the state pay magistrates what they should be paid (or, should have been paid of the years they were denied their step increases as well as annual pay increases).

  • 1specialk May 14, 2014

    Magistrates are different from other state employees in some respects. They cannot accumulate sick/vacation leave; they don't get shift differential pay/holiday pay even though most offices are covered 24/7 365 days a year. And when they were laid off, they can't get unemployment benefits. They are one of the few state employees, whereby the statute lays out their pay schedule specifically and without exceptions. These folks may have a case unlike other state employees.

  • givemeabr8 May 14, 2014

    40 magistrate positions coming open soon

  • Teacher9 May 14, 2014

    I just wish everyone would shut up about who gets raises and who doesn't. The fact of the matter is that "WE", the citizens of NC put people into office who were either very incompetent or out for their own agenda. Because of that, we have a VERY broken system and state pocket book. Everyone's job is important. Some, more so than others. Are teachers underpaid? Yes! Are police underpaid? Yes! Are state workers underpaid? Yes! However, complaining won't fix that. Only votes will.

  • Holly Atkins May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    How are these people better than the state employees that haven't seen a raise in YEARS also??

    As for McCrory releasing his budget, what kind of RAISE will he offer state employees? The same exact one that will be voted down by the General Assembly. He knows this as well as we all do! Nice Try McCrory! We see through the rouse and know full well you're just trying to make the GA look bad instead of yourself.

  • Terry Watts May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    And we descend into system with no public services... No thanks! I prefer civilization!

  • RDcallsit May 14, 2014

    the squeaky wheel! like the teachers! they'll get paid... the poor state employees better start making some noise or they'll never get a raise!!

  • hiddentreasurescruecds May 14, 2014

    How dare employees ask the State for compensation that they were promised? The State can change its mind at any time, the State doesn't have to pay you what you were promised. If you don't like it, leave the State!

  • iopsyc May 14, 2014

    View quoted thread


  • Dean Logan May 14, 2014
    user avatar

    Fire the lot.