County Commission members say some magistrates were collecting comp time and accrued leave, though they were not working 40-hour weeks.
Commissioners said outgoing Magistrate Bob Meeks will be getting almost $5,000 for comp time and over $13,000 for accumulated leave.
Commissioner Fred Skillern said, "With four magistrates and with just 114 hours a week to cover, there never should be any comp time. There also should never be a need to use substitute magistrates."
He said if three of the regular magistrates work 40-hour schedules that would leave the chief magistrate to be on call to handle bonds and warrants and also to fill in when the regular magistrates cannot be there.
Last year, the county paid for several fill-in magistrates even though four were on staff for the 114 hours.
Payments included James Anderson $14,356, Joe Rehyansky $7,560, Gordon Petty $7,225, Liza Fox Heath $450 and Karen McGuffee $100.
The regular magistrates make $58,000 and the chief magistrate $62,000.
Total payments to the magistrates and fill-ins over the last 12 months were $260,270.
The magistrates set bonds and sign warrants at the County Jail on nights, weekends and holidays.
Commissioner Skillern also said records show that some magistrates are not at their posts when they are supposed to be. He said sometimes jail personnel have persons ready to have bonds set and the magistrates cannot be found.
He asked that a system be put in place that alerts the County Commission office when that happens.
The commission plans to again take applications for the four magistrate positions for the upcoming year.
The applicants will be interviewed on Oct. 28 at 8 a.m.
Several commissioners said those who apply should expect to work 40 hours per week as is required of other county employees.
Rebecca Hunter, county personnel director, said those working as few as 21 hours a week should not be eligible for county benefits.
Commissioner Curtis Adams said he favors having attorney Bob Davis as one of the magistrates.
Attorney Davis was at Wednesday's County Commission meeting along with attorney Cris Helton.
Officials said Magistrate Meeks picked up most of his comp time and accumulated leave at a time when he was chief magistrate and there were only two other magistrates.
They said he has been working 36-hour weeks - more than Magistrates Marty Lasley and Larry Ables and Chief Magistrate Yolanda Mitchell.
Click below for complete audio from Tuesday's Commission meeting: