Roberts was appointed to the Walker County state court by Gov. Nathan Deal on Oct. 3, 2011, after the early retirement of judge Donald Peppers on Aug. 31.
Roberts ran an unsuccessful campaign against Billy Mullinax this summer to retain the state court seat. He was defeated in the July 31 primary election. Mullinax, who has no opposition in the Nov. 6, general election, will take over the judgeship in January.
Roberts’ suit, filed Oct. 25, alleges that while Peppers had received an annual salary of $172,102.80 prior to his retirement, Heiskell “arbitrarily” assigned a $100,000 salary to Roberts upon his appointment.
Roberts contends that his appointment before the expiration of Peppers’ term granted him incumbent status. He contends that Heiskell’s salary judgment is contrary to the state constitution, which states that “an incumbent’s salary, allowance, or supplement shall not be decreased during the incumbent’s term of office.”
The suit further states, “If relief is not granted to Petitioner, he will suffer pecuniary loss for which he cannot be compensated in damages, to wit, immediate loss of salary and related benefits. The actions of Respondents are unreasonable, capricious and arbitrary and is an illegal attempt to exercise a discretion which is clearly forbidden by Georgia Law.”
As of Wednesday afternoon, Heiskell had not responded to a call for comments regarding the suit. More details, including the commissioner's response, will be added as they become available.