San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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January 13th, 2009
Committee pushes pay hikes for elected officials

STAFF REPORT

When a salary survey committee presents its findings to the Hays County commissioners court during a workshop this morning, officials will hear a conclusion one assumes they’ll like: The county’s elected officials are almost uniformly underpaid compared to similar counties.

During the budget making process for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, the court approved a budget that included an increase in county commissioner salary from $56,757 to $65,408 plus a $9,744 car allowance, a total of $74,792. County Judge Elizabeth Sumter’s base salary increased from $70,471 to $77,490 with a $10,962 car allowance; she also receives a $15,000 judicial stipend from the state.

At the time, however, three court members — Commissioners Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, Will Conley and Jeff Barton — declined to accept the pay hike pending the survey committee’s findings.

Now they’ll have cover with room to spare for taking the increased salaries: The committee will recommend compensation totaling $87,869 for commissioners and $102,976 for the county judge, according the committee’s report.

Other recommended salaries include:

  • Sheriff $97,396
  • Tax Assessor-Collect $85,349
  • District Clerk $78,631
  • County Clerk $78,354
  • Treasurer $76,215
  • Constables $60,092

Appointed by the commissioners court, the committee included Kyle assistant city manager James Earp; Hays CISD assistant superintendent Carolyn Hitt; Buda Chamber of Commerce president Dick Schneider; Texas State political science professor Sherri Mora; C-FAN human resources manager Laura Lucas; and two citizens drawn from the grand jury pool: Harvey Graeber of San Marcos and Sandra Schick of Wimberley.

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» Hays County Elected Officials Compensation Study [48 pages; pdf] Email Email | Print Print


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3 thoughts on “Committee pushes pay hikes for elected officials

  1. Whoa! Hold on there Brad.

    Are you part of the Barton spin control?

    Here’s what you wrote:

    “At the time, however, three court members — Commissioners Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, Will Conley and Jeff Barton — declined to accept the pay hike pending the survey committee’s findings.”

    The survey committee’s finding were only presented to the court today…but Barton Conley and Ingalsbe pay checks began to reflect the pay raise back in 2008.

    That would make the theatrics of declining the pay raise until their appointed survey committee presented findings by a court paid consultant insincere at best.

    Its all in how you report a story.

    I’ll bet Lila darling doesn’t quarrel with your version.

  2. Not exactly sure on the timing but a draft of the report has been floating around for weeks, as I figure you know.

  3. I agree with what Brad wrote exactly. And it would correspond to what Commissioner Barton wrote in his letter to the County Auditor and County Treasurer dated September 10, 2008.

    “The budget as presented by the County Judge and voted by the Court establishes a salary for County Commissioners based on benchmarks from comparable counties. This may be a reasonable approach – the final salary amount may be fair – but I do not feel comfortable accepting such a large increase in my own pay without a thorough, public review and authorization by impartial citizens.”

    “In these economic hard times, in this age of cynicism, I feel compelled to go ‘above and beyond’ if we are to reinvigorate the public trust. I have proposed that the Commissioners Court should establish an independent committee of citizens with experience in labor and management to review and recommend appropriate salaries for all elected officials in Hays County, including – especially – County Commissioners, rather than relying on ourselves to set the salary, even though the law allows and, in a sense, encourages us to set our own pay without outside consulting the public. If such a committee is appointed and does its work, and if it recommends an increase in pay, then I might at that time accept a raise – at whatever level recommended by the committee – up to the amount proposed and budgeted in our Fiscal Year 2009 budget.”

    “Until then, as provided for in Chapter 152, I elect not to accept the proposed 14.6 percent increase in salary, save only that I will accept a three percent increase for “inflation.” Thus, effective Oct. 1, I will voluntarily reduce my pay from $5420.66 per month to $4871.66 per month.”

    “Should a properly constituted citizen committee – having reviewed our work responsibilities, the size and growth rate of the county, pay benchmarks in the region, and salaries in comparable local governments – determine that Commissioners should be paid more, then I may, at that time (and not retroactively), accept a raise. In other words, I may at that time accept all or a portion of the increased monthly salary budgeted for me in the FY 2009 budget. To be clear, if the citizen committee recommends no addition to my monthly pay, I will accept none; if it recommends some but not all of the raise granted in this year’s budget, then that is what I will accept. If the committee is not formed or is unable to reach a conclusion, then my election under Chapter 152 will remain in effect and I will accept no additional salary supplement whatsoever.”

    Since you don’t read so well Charles, I’ll paraphrase it for you. The above states that Commissioner Barton declined the pay raise until a citizens committee reviewed and made recommendations for salary raises for Commissioners Court. Or, in other words, “he declined to take the pay hike pending the survey committee’s findings.”

    Sorry Charlie. You’re just dead wrong on this one.
    Wonder if you’ll have the courage to admit it?

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