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January 2012, Vol.6, No.1 Subscribe | Past issues | Advertise | eMagazine Archives

Commissioners Must Set Qualifying Fees for 2012 County Elections by Feb 1

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The county governing authority is required to set and publish the qualifying fees for county offices (i.e., commissioners, sheriffs, tax commissioners, superior court clerks, magistrates, probate judges, state court judges, solicitors general, coroners and surveyors) by February 1, 2012.  O.C.G.A. § 21-2-131. This should be done through the adoption of a resolution by the board of commissioners setting the qualifying fee for each office. 

County Officers and Magistrates
Qualifying fees to run for the office of superior court clerk probate judge, magistrate, sheriff, and tax commissioner must be set at 3 percent of the minimum base salary specified in state law for each county based on the county’s 2010 population. See O.C.G.A. §§ 15-6-88(a) for superior court clerks, 15-9-63(a)(1) for probate judges, 15-10-23(a)  for magistrates, 15-16-20(a)(1) for sheriffs, and 48-5-183(b)(1) for tax commissioners.

Note that in calculating the qualifying fee for the county officers and magistrates, the minimum base salary is not to be adjusted to reflect supplements, cost-of-living increases or longevity increases.

County Commissioners and Chairs
Qualifying fees to run for the office of members of the county governing authority other than sole commissioners must be set at 3 percent of the base salary established by local legislation unless the commissioners have set a higher salary using their home rule authority (see below).
Qualifying fees to run for sole commissioner is 3 percent of the salary set by local legislation or by the state minimum salary law for sole commissioners (O.C.G.A. §  36-5-25), whichever is applicable.

In those counties where the commissioners or sole commissioner, have exercised home rule power to increase their compensation pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 36-5-24, the qualifying fee is 3 percent of whichever salary is higher. 

As with the county officers and magistrates, the base for commissioners is not adjusted to reflect training or other compensation supplements beyond the base.

All Other Elected County Offices
Qualifying fees to run for the office of coroner, surveyor or school board member is 3 percent of the total gross salary of the office paid in 2011, including all supplements authorized by law. If the elected official is not paid a salary, the commissioner must set a fee that is not more than 3 percent of the income that the elected official earned from the office in 2011.

State Officials.  Qualifying fees for state officials (e.g., legislators, superior court judges, district attorneys) are set by the Georgia Secretary of State.

For more information, please contact the Elections Division of the Secretary of State’s office at 404-656-2871.

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