Chatham County v. MasseyAnnotate this Case
Appellee Daniel Massey, who was serving his third consecutive term as Chatham County Superior Court Clerk, filed a writ of mandamus against Chatham County and its Board of Commissioners, and later amended the petition to add a claim for declaratory judgment. The petition sought, among other things, an order declaring him to be entitled to cost-of-living adjustments (“COLAs”) to his salary as provided by general statute (“State COLAs”) as well as by special local legislation (“County COLAs”), and to longevity increases as provided by statute. Massey argued the County deprived him of some of the compensation increases to which he was entitled over his years of service by setting off the COLAs the County claims it paid to him by improperly decreasing, in a corresponding sum, the amount the County was paying to supplement his salary over the statutory minimum. In response, the County argued, among other things, that since it was paying Massey in excess of the statutory minimum, he was not entitled to County COLAs in addition to State COLAs and longevity increases. The County asserted in its counterclaim that Massey had, in fact, been overpaid. The parties agreed that the sole issue in dispute was a matter of statutory interpretation regarding Massey’s entitlement to County COLAs. After reviewing the evidence and arguments presented, the trial court entered an order finding Massey was entitled not only to state-mandated longevity increases and State COLAs provided by general statute but also to County COLAs provided by local legislation. The County appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed.