SPONSOR: Mathewson (Hoppe)

COMMITTEE ACTION: Voted "do pass" by the Committee on Local Government and Related Matters by a vote of 19 to 1.

This substitute allows public administrators in counties of the second, third, and fourth classification and the City of St. Louis to choose whether the method of compensation will remain based on fees or will go to a salary which is determined by the number of cases handled by the office. In the event the public administrator for St. Louis elects to be a salaried employee, the salary must be at least $65,000 per year.

The compensation paid to a salaried public administrator is determined by the average number of cases handled over a 2-year period up to 39 cases. A public administrator with 40 or more cases is considered a full-time employee of the county and is paid a salary based on the assessed valuation of the county. Fees collected by a salaried public administrator are deposited in the county treasury. In St. Louis City, such fees are deposited in the city treasury.

Any full-time staff person in the office of a public administrator is considered a county employee after January 1, 2001, and is eligible for benefits. The county may provide full-time staff to a public administrator with 50 or more cases per year.

The substitute also allows a public administrator to collect attorneys' fees and expenses when the administrator prevails in an action brought against the administrator under Sections 473.730 to 473.773, RSMo (relating to the duties of a public administrator).

FISCAL NOTE: No impact on state funds.

PROPONENTS: Supporters say that public administrators need additional pay and staffing due to the increased workload. The new salary would be based on cases.

Testifying for the bill were Senator Mathewson; Pettis County Public Administrator; and Clay County Public Administrator.

OPPONENTS: There was no opposition voiced to the committee.

Steve Bauer, Legislative Analyst