WARREN - Trumbull County Family Court Judge Pamela Rintala is collecting her retirement and receiving a paycheck, and now she's made it so one of her employees can do the same.
Rintala, who retired then won re-election to the domestic court bench in November 2012, ended the employment of Deborah Marik, a magistrate in family court, on June 28 and then hired her back to the same job, court paperwork shows.
Marik started new on Monday at a wage about $18,000 less than the $85,000 she was earning. It's a legal practice that is called ''double dipping'' by those who frown upon it.
In an unusual twist, the judge ordered the 720 sick hours Marik can cash out to be split evenly this year and next - 360 paid this year at her current wage, $40.96 per hour and the balance paid in June 2014, also at this year's rate. The payments are about $14,745 each.
What usually happens when a county employee retires is that person receives one payment for accrued sick and vacation time. What's been asked for in Marik's case is ''extremely unusual,'' said director of Human Resources Jim Keating.
''As a matter of fact, I've never seen it,'' Keating said.
Rintala, the court's administrative judge, said splitting Marik's payment ''kept me within my budget.'' ''She had every right to want it all, but she was willing to split it up,'' Rintala said.
Rintala said Marik, who is retiring under the State Teacher's Retirement System, where she had the most time, had to retire or ''give up a lot'' if she stayed due to changes to the system.
''She is an outstanding magistrate,'' Rintala said. ''She runs our family dependency drug court and is probably one of the best magistrates in the state as far as running a drug court ... I thought about it and didn't want her to leave because she did an awesome job.''
Marik was hired at the county in 1996.
County Commissioner Paul Heltzel said the Prosecutor's Office has been asked to review if the judge ''can force us'' to split the sick time payout and possibly an issue with health insurance, whether Marik's insurance continues or she must wait at least 60 days ''like any new hire'' before she's covered again.