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October 7th, 2008
Commissioners Court studies elected official compensation plan

Ray Associates, Inc. introduced their firm to the Hays County Commissioner’s Court and presented them with their review scope of the project geared towards evaluating and developing an Elected Official’s compensation plan.In the power point presentation the firm stated their approach to consulting as “practical, directed toward implementation, [and] not successful unless implemented”. The firm claims to recognize the county’s particular challenges and will “provide competitive compensation to county elected officials, [while] work[ing] within a budget that respects the taxpayers.”

Ray Associates, Inc. was asked to develop an equitable and competitive compensation plan for Hays County Elected Officials, including concept and philosophy, and system and processes. The firm will work with a Citizens Committee throughout the process. In the presentation the firm described their methodology in detail. It stated interviews as key in the process to develop compensation structure. There are 11 Elected Official Job Titles and 25 individual Elected Officials. The firm assumed interviews approximately one hour in length not to exceed 16 hours. The Citizen Committee involved in the process will be composed of seven members that are scheduled to meet with the firm twice: to select and approve market philosophy and employers with advice and counsel from Ray Associates, Inc.; and then to consider the firms recommendations and recommend salaries to the Commissioners Court.

The firm will evaluate a salary survey. The presentation stated that an online survey will be conducted not to exceed 10 counties; within the survey three elements will be addressed, Texas Constitutional requirements, the differences in Hays County operations, and charts that show how Hays County compares. Responsibilities of Elected Official positions internally within Hays County will also be compared.

The firm, according to the presentation, will produce agendas and materials for the Citizens Committee meetings, including “comparative matrix of potential employers (counties) for survey (Hays County Human Resource Department to prepare in consultation with Ray Associates); [and] reports.” The presentation also states that the firm will provide a “final report to the Commissioner’s Court, [including] methodology, findings and recommendations, charts with survey data, [and] procedures for future salary adjustments.”

The presentation put forth a schedule of the events leading up to the final report. In the month of October, the Elected Officials will be interviewed and the firm will meet with the Citizens Committee to determine philosophy and market employers. Within the first week of November, the firm will have produced a salary survey. Also in November, the firm is scheduled to analyze the survey results, and draft procedures for future adjustments. The timetable demands a report in December, along with recommendations to the Citizens Committee and Commissioner’s Court.

Hays County will assume some of the responsibility and the Human Resource Department will assist Ray Associates, Inc. in order to maintain the cost for professional service hours at $10,000. The presentation states that the County’s Human Resource Department will: “set up interviews with Elected Officials, prepare detailed matrix of comparative factors for potential survey counties (in consultation with Ray Associates), prepare summaries of Texas Constitutional requirements for each office (Ray Associates will add unique Hays County functions), [and] call selected counties to obtain email addresses for survey, as well as making follow-up calls to verify or clarify information. In addition, will use ‘whole job’ approach for internal equity, rather than Ray Associates’ Point Factor Job Analysis system.”

by: ANDY SEVILLA
News Section Editor

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0 thoughts on “Commissioners Court studies elected official compensation plan

  1. Commissioners Bent on Throwing Away Our Tax Dollars

    Do Hays County Commissioners even see our failing economy?

    Do they realize that taxpayers are overburdened already without throwing out more money for issues like this one [Elected Officials Compensation Plan] and the extravagant proposal for road bonds?

    Yes, elected officials should be “compensated” adequately. But NOT NOW!

    We just raised the pay of our law officers, which was needed.

    But so should teachers be compensated as well as county taxpayers.

    Last year commissioners tried to get a bond package approved by voters that was $170 MILLION and it failed approval at the polls.

    But that didn’t stop our commissioners.

    This year a similar package valued at more than $207 MILLION has been proposed by commissions under the premise that the plan was developed by a “Citizens Advisory Committee”, whose members, by the way, were appointed BY THE COMMISSIONERS!

    In an economy that is failing Americans at the national level, which has trickled down to the local level, do we really want to keep on spending more tax dollars?

    While some of these issues may well be important to review, do we have to throw-out more tax dollars at this time? Couldn’t we wait a while for the economy to improve?

    We should hold-off providing tax dollars to compensate elected officials.

    We should avoid approving extravagant road bond packages and cut spending on issues and programs that are not urgent at this crucial period of economic uncertainty.

  2. Didn’t the County Judge and Commissioners and Sheriff just get $10,000 raises this year? They ran a “legal ad/notice” just a month or two ago in the local paper announcing the old salary and the new salary and all got substantial pay raises. Far more than 90% of citizens got this year I’m sure, and with salaries exceeding triple the local average pay. And now they want even more?? Why did they run for those jobs if they thought the pay wasn’t enough?
    I may be a Democrat but I’ve had it with this County Judge, we need to dump her! She has consistently gone against the people’s best interest, doesn’t care about San Marcos-Kyle and eastern part of the county, etc.
    And then there’s Comm. Ford, also from Dripping Springs, who voted against our police association’s youth league request {while the other three commissioners supported it} and then Ford made an emergency appeal for her own city– Dripping Springs– to get emergency funding bypassing the normal approval route for a similar youth league.
    Voters need to stand up to these two who only care about Dripping Springs and not the rest of us. If they want higher salaries, let them go find other jobs! I’m sure plenty of better qualified people can jump in at the $70-90,000 they are getting paid, not counting car allowances, etc.!!!

  3. Having the right compensation program in place helps attract and retain top talent. I hope we see appropriate transparency and openness in government during this study. Granted, the timing is unfortunate in the context of our current economic turbulence.

    Note, the results of these kinds of studies do not always say pay more money. Sometimes they reveal that compensation packages, when viewed in their entirety and in the proper context, are fine right where they are for the time being.

    And since the road bond package came up in comments on this article, let me say, “VOTE YES for the Hays County Road Bond Package on November 4th!”

  4. Peter Stern of Driftwood is a broken record. He doesn’t want any governmental entity to spend money on anything because it might raise taxes. But do you notice how he always talks about it in the third person? He never says it is going to raise HIS taxes. That’s because, for some reason, the appraised value of his 10-acre estate in Driftwood has gone down every single year since 2005. Yep. I don’t know of anyone else who has had their appraisal go DOWN for a recently constructed, two-story house in the Hill Country sited on 10 acres. But his has gone down from $418,620 in 2005 to $401,990 in 2008.

    He’s got every possible exemption on the property, but he has had those for a long time now. So that’s not it.

    Maybe instead of complaining about taxes going up – for the taxpayers benefit – he should offer free seminars on how to get our property appraisals down every single year….OR he could offer the same for elected officials in lieu of increases in their compensation…OR he could just show some real concern for the welfare of this county for a change.

  5. My recollection is that the citizen advisory committee was just whomever showed up. I know that in San Marcos we had a very large turnout. My wife and I were there and nobody appointed us.

    Perhaps we are talking about two different things. I’m talking about multiple workshops in multiple cities and towns, where citizens reviewed proposed projects and rated each.

  6. EXCERPT FROM AN E-MAIL FROM JEFF BARTON:

    “Pay for County Commissioners went up 15 percent starting Oct. 1.
    I won’t be accepting the raise.
    I’ve already filed legal papers with the county auditor, the treasurer and the clerk so that most of the increase will be held back from my paycheck and will remain in the county treasury. I will accept a three percent “cost of living” increase instead of the 15 percent.”

    THANKS TO COMMISSIONER BARTON. HE GETS IT.

  7. Is noone commenting on norths little comment cause it just leaves you shaking your head at her yet again?

  8. No no one is commenting on Chris North’s post because they are shaking their head at your “little comment”. Chris gets it as does Commissioner Barton. She has been very helpful in the community for a long time. How active have you been besides trying to put Chris North down? I take it ,,you dont get it

  9. For the record, I didn’t accept the pay raise either. The process the Judge used was wrong and I fought against this from the beginning. (sorry for all the typos – I have a newborn and am seriously lacking sleep)

  10. Apparently, Hays County Commissioners [the above Jeff Barton included] just quietly accepted a 13-14 percent pay increase. Glad they believe residents can afford it.

    as per article at:

    (Link deleted – Offsite links are not permitted in the comment thread)

  11. Thanks Peter. If you can’t post the link, maybe just give us a hint on where to find the article…
    (wonder why links(or pics)are not permitted?)

  12. (wonder why links(or pics)are not permitted?)

    Becasue it is Newstreamz’ sandbox and they make the rules. Don’t like it? Don’t play in their box!

  13. right, no-fun-evil-guy.
    i just think it would be cool to have some new toys in the box for all to share nicely…

  14. Come on folks. You act like you don’t know what’s going on.

    It’s all a public show. Conley and Ingalsbe were running for reelection and Barton is running for county judge (2010).

    Conley works on the wasteful and bloated county budget, including debt service for the $227 million in road bonds, and then votes AGAINST the tax hike required to pay for the bonds. “Voted against the tax hike” makes a great election campaign issue ad. (See Conley’s web site)

    Barton goes even farther with his grandstanding as he prepares for the 2010 county judge race. He sent an sworn afidavit to the county treasurer and auditor that “I do not feel comfortable accepting such a large increase in my own pay…”

    Then the court votes to spend $10,000 for a consultant to evaluate court pay, and hides behind a group of citizens the court appointed to look into the court’s salaries.

    They hide behind citizen groups they appoint (road bond, transportation, salaries, etc.) and waste $10,000 for a study to justify an amount about which the court had already put on the public show.

    Barton has an advantage that Conley, Ingalsbe and the rest of the court doesn’t have. Barton owns The Hays Free Press and that he uses to tell the story the way he wants readers/voters to have.

    Get the picture?

    Get the details at (Link deleted – Offsite links are not permitted in the comment thread)

  15. While we’re happy to encourage discourse we don’t allow offsite links in the comment section. However, when you register to comment there is a space where if you have a website you can enter the address. Whenever someone clicks on your name in the comment thread it will link to your site.

  16. Commissioner Conley,

    I’m checking out the claim you posted above that, “For the record, I didn’t accept the pay raise either.”

    Chris, according to a front page article in the Jan. 7, 2009 Free Press, (Barton’s paper)

    “Following the initial report on Dec. 16, Barton, Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe and Pct. 3 Commissioner Will Conley told county treasurer Michelle Tuttle they would take the raise.”

    How does Commissioner Barton get it?

    You and others have been had.

  17. Lila darling,

    I looked up Peter Stern’s tax exemptions and the three of them are for a Disabled person, Disabled veteran and for a Homestead.

    Which of these three exemptions that commissioners court authorized do you oppose?

    Are you so abrasive about Peter because he voices his opinion, you don’t believe in tax exemptions, or you are just bored and mean spirited?

    I know the answer. Peter isn’t a Bartonista like you, and you just have to defend the Bartons.

    Jeff Barton also has a homestead exemption and an ag use exemption on one of his thirteen listed properties. Which one do you live on?

    R11238 BARTON JEFFERSON & CINDY 3480 JACK C HAYS TRL BUDA, TX 78610 $172,110
    R85537 BARTON JEFFERSON W & CINDY S 101 MARIETTA’S WAY $42,550
    R85550 BARTON JEFFERSON W & CINDY S 201 MARIETTA’S WAY BUDA, TX 78610 $449,840
    R85554 BARTON JEFFERSON W & CINDY S 251 CONEJOS RUN $51,610
    R85556 BARTON JEFFERSON W & CINDY S 150 CONEJOS RUN $39,630
    R85558 BARTON JEFFERSON W & CINDY S 102 CONEJOS RUN $63,630
    R85559 BARTON JEFFERSON W & CINDY S $3,390
    R14739 BARTON JEFFERSON W & SLOVAK-BARTON CYNDY LIVE OAK ST $55,910
    R16980 BARTON JEFFERSON W & SLOVAK-BARTON CYNDY $43,610
    R17038 BARTON JEFFERSON W & SLOVAK-BARTON CYNDY $43,610
    R11185 BARTON JEFFERSON WORD & CINDY 3320 JACK C HAYS TRL BUDA, TX 78610 $52,650
    R11240 BARTON JEFFERSON WORD & CINDY JACK C HAYS TRL BUDA, TX 78610 $73,140
    R11242 BARTON JEFFERSON WORD & CINDY 3320 JACK C HAYS TRL BUDA, TX 78610 $149,250

  18. Yeah, Charles. I am feeling kinda “had”.

    But I’m more worried about the fact that we can’t get any subdivision regs (YEARS in the works) approved by the Court and the subdivisions NEVER stop platting. Wonder what the “hold-up”is?
    Yesterday our Commissioners approved a subdivision in the Woodcreek/Jacobs Well neighborhood, on the recharge zone, for 170+ homes on 90 acres and including a GOLF COURSE? The pay raise thing is insulting, but the fact that we can’t keep Jacob’s Well flowing and just approved a golf course right next door is negligent at best.

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