© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Herschel and two other administrative law judges win their court fight -- and their jobs

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 9, 2009 - Three Missouri administrative law judges who had been ousted by Gov. Jay Nixon's administration are getting their jobs back.

Judge Jon Edward Beetem issued a ruling today declaring that the three -- including Henry Herschel, the former chief counsel to former Gov. Matt Blunt -- can't be terminated by the state Division of Workers Compensation "so long as they are otherwise qualified to serve..."

The judge also ordered that the state pay the three judges' legal fees of $39,514.11.

As the Beacon explained two months ago:

The job cuts, which took effect July 1, have drawn some attention because all were appointees of Nixon's predecessor, Republican Matt Blunt. The implication has been that politics may have been involved, especially since one of the law judges is Henry Herschel, Blunt's former chief counsel and one of the figures in the e-mail controversy that embroiled Blunt and Nixon last year.

All told, Nixon's administration cut five of the state's administrative law posts, citing budget problems, in the 2010 budget that went into effect July 1.

But three of the judges filed suit last month, stating that administrative law judges can't be removed by layoffs under the state's statutes. (Of the other two posts eliminated, one person retired and the other opted not to sue.)

John D. Comerford, the lawyer representing the suing juges, said today that the judge's ruling comes after a trial on the merits a couple weeks ago.

Unless the state appeals, the judges can now return to their jobs.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.