Judge Whittaker submits formal resignation
After giving it much thought I find it necessary to resign my position as Juvenile Court Master for the Fifth Judicial District in Pahrump. My decision to leave was not made lightly, in fact, I am truly sorry that it has come to this. But, I do not deserve, nor will I accept the ridiculous cut in pay that is being offered which is $600 a month gross pay. I realize that it is only a part-time job, but I worked as necessary and did a job that was not always just in the court and I would work as many days as necessary for the amount of cases or trials we had scheduled.
The “powers that be” decided that my 35-year career in this county was worth $600. I have served longer than many of them, if not all.
It should be noted that the county government feels that each judge in the county make the same pay. The last time I did court we had over 23 cases in the afternoon as compared to one or two cases a month for Beatty and Tonopah. I held court every week.
I spent a considerable amount of time trying to hold up past CASA groups that eventually ceased. The CASA group in Pahrump now is the best. Any county would be privileged to have this group of volunteers. I was so blessed to work with them and teach them while they were training.
This reasoning has gone on since my appointment as Juvenile Court Master in 1982 and election as Justice of the Peace that same year. It was District Court Judge Davis that saw the unfairness of the pay and adjusted it accordingly.
I need to say that the youth of this valley deserve the best of what we have. I want you to note that I am not speaking of myself. Juvenile court is the place to point a child on the right road in life and not a path to the prison system. It should be a place where the kids that are playing with drugs don’t go on to institutions, hospitals, or coroner’s office. It should be a place where we find there are difficulties with the family and we can get the family help.
I was privileged to be the Drug Court Judge for the youth. There would not be a dry eye on the day that a teenager graduated. That youth found out that there is a life and fun in the world without having to put a drink or drug in his or her body. The citizens of Pahrump and the county should see how much of their money went to transporting and housing juvenile offenders clear across the state.
In addition, until the last few years, we held court in the community center, ambulance bay, fire station, and even a park bench at the Calvada eye. What kind of message did we send to the young people? It was a joke and nothing they wanted to take seriously. However, we certainly can understand spending money on a paintball area so the sheriff’s department can shoot better. The youth of this valley are on the bottom of a priority list or not on one at all.
I am not a judge that has authority with the county. As a Justice of the Peace, I did, but not as a master. The power is in the hands of the District Court Judges and County Commissioners. The Juvenile Probation Department is in their hands as well. You have a Chief Probation Officer, Tom Metscher, and a staff that this county can be proud of. They give 110% of their talents.
Mother Theresa said, “I gave the best I got. You see in the final analysis it’s between me and God. It was never between me and the powers that be.” I thank all of you for letting me be of service to you.
Judge Margaret Whittaker