Travis County
Texas

Agenda Item
22242

Receive comments regarding setting the salaries of elected officials for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. (Action Item 9) (Judge Eckhardt)

Information

Department:CC Agenda requestSponsors:
Category:General Government

Meeting History

Jul 30, 2019 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

MOTION: Open the Public Hearing.

RESULT:APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Margaret J. Gómez, Commissioner
SECONDER:Gerald Daugherty, Commissioner
AYES:Sarah Eckhardt, Jeffrey W. Travillion Sr, Brigid Shea, Gerald Daugherty, Margaret J. Gómez

Transcript

Jul 30, 2019 9:00 AMVideo (Windows Media) MP4 VideoCommissioners CourtVoting Session

 
9:19 AMDo I have a second?
Second.
We have a second moved by Commissioner Shea, seconded by Commissioner Travillion the resubdivision and the comment.
And this is just really to underscore how closely we're looking within the limits we have under county law. Even with a small action like this, we have to determine if there is sufficient water for firefighting. And we've also -- we also require that there be more than one way in and one way out. And i'm assuming this meets that.
9:20 AMYes.
Yeah. so it's just a -- there are very few things we can do under the law, but we are rigorous even on something as small as a resubdivision.
Right. when we look at this, we look at, you know, what was originally platted and whew we need now, and, you know, I think there was a business previously on this tract. This is -- we find this meets our requirements and we recommend this item.

9:20 AMThank you.
All those in favor? that passes unanimously. Next we'll go to our other public hearing, agenda item number 1 and action item number 9. 1 is receive comments regarding setting the salaries of elected officials for fiscal year 2020. Do I have a motion to open the public hearing?
So moved.
Second.
A motion by Commissioner Gomez, seconded by Commissioner Daugherty to open the public hearing. All in favor? That passes unanimously. The public hearing is now open. I'm going to read action agenda item number 9, consider and take appropriate action regarding setting the salaries of elected officials for fy 2020.
9:21 AMThis particular item is the public hearing item on July 9th the commissioners court approved plaguesment of an ad in the austin chronicle with the proposed maximum fiscal year 2020 salaries for our elected officials. The advertisement did appear on July 19th of the chronicle. The court does have a copy of the advertisement as it appeared as attached. This particular public hearing will -- the court is asking for input on the setting of those salaries. You also have a copy of the order attached. Once the court votes on the setting of those salaries, there is a notice that statue tory required for our officials to grieve, that's five days. If any of those elected officials grieve, we are required to provide a hearing within ten days of that, and we have selected individuals from the public to serve on that grievance panel. Are there any questions regarding this particuar item part of public hearing?
9:22 AMQuestions? is there anyone in the audience who would like to give comment, ask questions or has relevant information to this agenda item in the public hearing? Seeing no one to give public comment, why don't we close the public hearing and we'll go to the action item for the deliberation of the commissioners court. Of course, the final action is as staff stated.
Move the public hearing be closed.
Second.
All those in favor? that passes unanimously. Okay, so let's go to agenda item number 9. Commissioner Daugherty, I believe you had comments.
9:23 AMYes. whichever one of y'all wants to take a stab at this. Explain to me and everybody that's listen how we have come up with this suggested salary for the travis county commissioners court.
So -- so overall just the way that we approach compensation here at travis county, we look at what's called our market. To give an overall basis of compensation, compensation increases can be based on several things here. It can could be based on what is the cost of living adjustment. It could be based on performance, and that's within our policy of chapter 114. It can also be based on market. With this particular increase, it is based on market. What we do is we go out into the market and we look at what's referred to as a relevant market. That particular relevant market is determined and voted on by the commissioners court. This year specifically we looked at redefining our relevant market, which was based on cost of living, and for our employees we looked at cost of living, we looked at growth, we looked at population size. For this particular item with our elected officials, we looked at the population size of those counties. We then used third-party data from our texas association of counties. Data that they collected in 2018 to look at comparable salaries. So titles in comparable counties. Based on that, we took the average of those salaries and determined the salaries for this year for those elected officials. Last year we presented to the court that information for all our elected officials. The court then decided to fund those increases -- or to take approach to fund those increases in third. Last year a third was approved and so our elected officials received that increase. This year to move to market, there are two pieces left. A third this year and a third next year. Due to advice from our budget office and our budget office is here, the recommendation was to go ahead and fund the last two pieces of that recommended increase to move our elected officials to salaries. That brings us to this item today, which, of course, is to set those salaries aligned with the market as we did research last year for.
9:25 AMIt's difficult for me to understand what market is with elected officials salaries because I find if you go to the communities where we have used to benchmark where we need to be, I find that to be very, very arbitrary. And let me tell you why I think that's arbitrary. A couple of good examples. If we are trying to use as a benchmark from -- even if you average -- I mean let's just take paris county -- harris county. Harris county pays their commissioners $172,000 a year. Harris county has 4. 6 million people. Travis county has 1. 2 million people. Now, I wouldn't suggest, I mean since that is 25% of the population of harris county that travis county ought to make 25%, I mean that would be, what, $45,000. On the other hand, if you don't want to just use population, perhaps you might want to use general fund budgets. General fund budget in tarrant county, less than 700 million. Ours, 850 million. Now, perhaps you make that much money in tarrant county because you do a pretty good job of running a 2 million person county, which is what tarrant county is, with our 1. 2, they have 40% more people. They have almost a 25% less general fund budget. Perhaps those people ought to make their salaries. This thing to me is a -- is a two-prong and a two-part issue. Number one, I think comparing our salaries to other counties in the, I quite frankly don't care what people make in pennsylvania or the other areas, I don't think that's applicable, I don't think it should be. Number one, I think it's arbitrary for us to come up and suggest that we would go in two years from $106,000 to 150 -- over $150,000. That is well over a 30% increase. What would you suggest or what would you think that we might be talking about rank and file salaries in the next couple, three weeks? Aren't we talking about maybe one, maybe two, maybe three percent increases? That's what we've talked about the last couple of months. I just -- I mean tracy, I just find it -- let me let you answer that.
9:29 AMSo we look at -- so and he look at salary in keeping with the market with various tools. Of course, we've used in the past what are called across the board increase where individuals get a 2% or a 3% increase. But in conjunction with that, we also use market. And we do that so that we keep pace with the movement in the market. Most recently the court heard and approved our recommendation to move our county's minimum wage from $13 to $15. Of course, that would be somewhat of a significant increase if you look at the percentage increase as well. But, of course, yes, we do look at across the board increase, which is what you reference with the 2 to 3%, but we also look at market. This year we looked at all of our classified positions relevant to the market and we saw some of those move multiple pay grades as well. With our elected officials, I don't think, and I don't know the last time we looked at the market for them, and so you are seeing a significant gap. You referenced bexar county, and bexar county's pay.
9:30 AMI didn't reference bexar county.
I'm sorry, harris county. you referenced harris county. Harris county's pay for their county Commissioner Is around $180,000. But also in that calculation we included bexar county, which is $122,657.
And their population is?
1.95878. this is based on 2018. We also included colin county, whose population is 969. Their salary is 122, but we included dallas, harris as well as tarrant, so that's how we got the average. This is the same approach that we use for our classified pay scale as well, so we feel like we are efficient with the data, we feel like the data is effective for us, and we feel like it's an equitiable approach when using the same methodologies as our classifieds.
9:31 AMWell, beg to differ. I understand what you all did with hrmd. The other part of this from my thinking that this is wholly arbitrary to come up with these kind of figures that we are to pay ourselves, part of that -- and the judges as well. I want to bring the judges into this because I see a couple judges that have shown up. I'm just as bothered by the fact that we are seeing some of the increases that I don't think are defensible to the people up and down the hallways in this building. I think it is an insult for us to sit here and to take a 30 -- over a $30,000 raise this year after taking a $13,000 raise last year. I mean, I just don't know how we do that and look at people and just, you know, because we can do it, because we're the commissioners. Isn't it odd that we have -- that we have a public hearing today and no one shows up? And I know why that happens because people are scared out of their gourd to come down here and to say something about this. The reason that I pushed you and hrmd to ask the question about what the rank and file people felt about the salary increases, and quite frankly, I mean, you know, it was, you know, not the easiest thing for me to get done because I think that my -- my in what happened is is that sometimes you don't want -- you are afraid to ask the question that you are afraid of what the answer might be. And I will guarantee you that the 5500, 5400 employees that we have in this county do not understand and they are not happy with the fact that we will sit and take a $30,000 raise this year after a $13,000 raise last year. I mean, I just think that it is embarrassing for us to do this. We have the power to do it and we have the obligation to do it, I understand that. I mean the Judge Has clearly -- and I her that unfortunately that is our responsibility to do this. But after having come out of the session that we came out of and what we are trying to do, I mean what we are trying to show in this community about what we are going to try to do, I fear that, you know, we're probably going to go to a 79999, you know, with effective tax rate because we probably need to look at doing that because of what we know that we have to do with the 3. 5. But whenever you look at things like this, and with us trying to show that we really understand and that we really are serious about really getting our house in order, and that's going to be pretty difficult to do because we got a lot of things that we have to spend money on and we have a lot of things that we need to spend money on. So i'm very sympathetic to that. In the 13 years that I have been -- or near 13 years on this court, I have never seen anything that I think is more -- I don't want to say uncomfortable, I mean -- that I find it's so difficult to understand why we would do this as a court. I know this is not y'all's -- you are just bringing us the information. I do challenge the way that the numbers are put together because I do think that it's quite arbitrary. I mean, I don't know why bexar county pays this, tarrant county pays this, dallas pays this. I mean, if there were some legitimate reason as to why those salaries were set at that way, and i've looked up a number of articles, I mean where people are really concerned in other areas about what the electeds election to pay themselves. You know, I don't know that i've seen an article yet that people get voted out of office by doing it so I assume people just feel like, well, you can just do it. Let me say something about the judges' salaries. I know that -- I mean today the judges make -- the district judges, let's leave out the county judges. We know how they are attacked somewhat compensationwise to the district judges. The district judges make $140,000 from the state. Travis county elects to pay them an additional $18,000. So they make $158,000. We've got 29 judges, I think, somewhere, you know, 29, 30 judges. Ten of them will go from 158,000 to 194,300. Another number that I just think, are you kidding me? If you're not making 194, you are making 184. I mean from the 158, that's -- those are big increases. I thought, and I think that with the $18,000 that the county elects to pay, because that's the max that you can pay the judges, the district judges on top of the 140, I thought for sure we would take into consideration, you know, the $18,000 that we pay given the fact that they've gotten bumps from the legislature to take it 26, 28, $36,000 in addition. I'm not saying they are not worth it. It puts me in a really bad spot, I mean I wish the judges could vote for their own salaries, but that's not the way it's set up. It's up to the commissioners court to do this. But I do think that this is a -- it's a fairness issue, on one hand, and i'm really not happy with the way that we have come up with getting to $150,000 because I don't think that you can justify that. If you really look at all of the factors in where people need to be paid as elected officials, I just don't think that it -- it's not a practical argument. It's totally arbitrary. It plays into our hand, but quite frankly, bottom line, and i'll say this and hush. I think elected officials need to have the same increase that the rank and file people have, and I think that that is the fairest thing that we should do. I think every one of us knew what the job paid when we took the job, and from a strictly a fairness situation, that's where I think that we ought to be. And when it comes time to make the motion, I will make that motion. I realize that i'm probably not going to get a second, but that's how I stand and where I stand, you know, with this particular issue. So I appreciate what you all have done. If there's something that you think i'm totally off base on, todd, you, tracy, alex, I mean by all means I don't want to leave something out. I want to try to picture this the way that I really feel like it needs to be pictured. So if i'm off base with something, well then let me know.
9:39 AMLet me ask this question because I think we've always followed the market even regarding rank and file. Employees. Have we not? We do the checking around the state of the counties that are comparable and we see what the market here in austin, which is probably more expensive than the markets in those other counties or those other cities. And so we try to keep up with the minimum wage as well. So we do follow the market. And that's -- that's the only fair way that we can kind of see where salaries ought to fall and wages ought to fall. Isn't that correct?
That is correct. we also spent time too last year as well as the previous year looking at what we referred to as compression. These are individuals who had been in their positions for a very long time and maybe not moved as quickly within the range so that they could be paid equitiably. And so we looked at that as well. So there are various tools that we use to try to keep our individuals to be paid aligned with the job that they are paying. Again what we do is we have to look in the market, the relevant market to see that, and with our rank and files we do make adjustments. Some of those adjustments at times appear to be very large just from points in time and not really doing those studies. My understanding is probably over the last six or seven years, we for sure have not looked at the market for elected officials. I ask todd. Todd has been here longer and can talk about that with elected officials.
9:40 AMThat's what I remember when we first started down this road with the market and our pay scale, we said at that time that we were going to try to meet the market. That was our goal. And we have done that, haven't we? In every instance when it's brought before the court?
9:41 AMSo for our classified employees, that's our objective. That's basically what the court has decided it wants to do, it wants to pay at market. We pay at the mid point. We regularly do market salary surveys for our employees, we do a comprehensive one every four year. We benchmark in the intervening three years. As far as elected officials go, we do take fairly regular snapshots. It's just that commissioners court is not always used, -- has not always used that information to essentially keep up with the market. I don't think it's any great mystery we're behind market. I think most of the commissioners who have been around know thatten a we've been behind market quite a while. Two years ago the court decided we've slipped too far behind market and we need to catch up. That's certainly understandable given the market data. Finally one last thing, Commissioner Daugherty, you asked a direct question so i'm going to try to answer as best as I can. You asked what is the rank and file going to get this year, and the obvious answer is I don't know because you haven't voted on it yet. I do believe, alex, correct me if I am wrong, there's 2% in the preliminary budget for some type of across the board increase and also 38% of classified employees will receive an increase out of the market salary survey.
9:42 AMAnd then the other thing is, you know, commissioner, yeah, this job is tough and we knew what we were getting into, but the buck stops here and we're the ones who are given the authority to vote on salaries. No one else in county government can do that. And the judges can't do that, the other elected officials can't do that, but the commissioners court, this is our job to do. And I think we ought to know what we're running for when we run for a member of the court that this is going to be a tough job. And that we're going to have to make these tough calls. And if we don't want to do that, let's not run for this job. And so that's the best solution I know to take care of this. And so I really -- you know, I can't speak for anyone else, but, you know, I spend a lot of time on this job when i'm not sitting here, i'm thinking about my job on my way home, I think about it when i'm at home. I take calls in the evening from people. So, you know, i'm not a 8:00 to 5:00 pi think I pay a the look of attention to my job and so the other thing to remember is that the ad that we printed in the newspaper gives the maximum amount that can be given to elected officials. We don't have to go to the maximum amount, but it's just a way of being open to the public that this is the max that we could give. We May not give that amount, but we may. But to not put the max out there and then figure out later that we need to do more research on the issue, we can't move up. We can't give more if it's not on the ad. So, you know, there's -- there's a lot of misinformation out there about what this ad meant or is saying. So, you know, let's kind of calm down and do our homework correctly and let's not put misinformation out there.
9:44 AMCommissioner Gomez, I don't think --
Hold on a second. let me see if the other commissioners have comments.
Just a couple of things. i've been proud of the work of this commissioners court, of our commitment to the rank and file consistently. The first year that I had the honor of serving on the court, we started our focus with pay grade 18 and below. And we built a three-year plan which we funded in two years to address -- to address their needs. We have also -- we've also worked to put other resources in place. Certainly not enough, but it has not been for a want of effort. Also want to make sure we read into the record that when we talk about our county law judges, our county court at law judges, they've only gotten two raises over the last 13 years. You know, fy-7 and fy-13. And we ask a lot of them, we require a lot of them and we have an excellent set of judges. And I think that it is our -- it is our job and it should always be our goal to make sure that we treat our workforce as well as we possibly can because our workforce is our outward face to our constituents and to our community. You know, I think that, you know, we do the best that we can with what we have and we make intentional decisions to serve our community, and, you know, I at the end of the day, i'm proud of the deliberation, i'm proud of the effort and I want to make sure that we're always looking after the entire workforce and that we look to take care of them first.
9:46 AMCommissioner Shea.
At a philosophical level, I mean this is a difficult action, there's no question about it. And that's probably why nothing has been done with commissioners' pay and other elected officials' pay for ten years. The last one 2008?
9:47 AMThat's not correct.
Well, let's find out from staff.
On a market salary, to look at market. And I think we are all in agreement that that's an important thing to do for our employees. We've made that a priority. To do this market salary survey to understand what is the average pay for this kind of work in the market. Some that we can try and keep our employees as current ago possible. Otherwise we've had problems where we're losing people because they can make more money doing that same job somewhere else. But for me this is a -- this is a really important philosophical issue. I don't think that democracy is well served when only the wealthy or the independently wealthy can afford to serve as representatives. I just don't think you get the full perspective from the community. And I know that some of the pay levels have made it difficult for people who would otherwise be very good public servants to be able to afford to serve. And if you just looked at your professional that if you just did it on population and because travis county is a fourth of the population of harris we should maybe get paid a fourth, you literally wouldn't be able to afford to live in travis county.
9:48 AMWhy 50% of our -- like 50% of our employees make.
Correct. that's why we have worked so hard to do these market salary surveys and not spent money on other things in order to raise their pay to the market. That's what this action is. And it is a difficult action. It's -- it is uncomfortable, but we are executives, we don't have a county administrator. We are carry that burden -- I know you want one. We've chosen not too because the majority of us feel we do a good job and we are will to shoulder that responsibility to actually run the county and be responsible for it. So this is -- this is a difficult and uncomfortable action, but I think it's warranted. And I think in particular if we stick to the three-year implementation, we voted on it last year. I intend to stick to it this year.
9:49 AMCommissioner Daugherty, did you want to say something else?
Well, I just wanted to say to Commissioner Gomez, I don't think that we put inaccurate information out. Now, I will say that anybody in this audience and any of us that when we publish what we are going to publish, I bet you those are the salaries that people get. So to make it sound like, well, we're going to take this action, but that doesn't necessarily mean that that's what they are going to get paid, yes, it does. I know exactly what that means. There's not going to be a person that would say, well, we put the max on there, but, you know, we need to reconsider this. That's not going to happen. I mean, the commissioners are going to make $152,000 a year from in two years from $106,000. That's what they are going to make t judges are going to go up, you know, not all the judges. I think there are, like, five judges that with the legislation they wouldn't get longevity and they would get -- I mean so I would be supportive of them getting the 18,000. I mean, I think there's a way that we can be fair, you know, to folks and then still give them the bump that we give, you know, all the other folks. We make this sound like that, well, we just got to do this. No, we don't just have to do this. We don't have to take this kind of salary increase. He -- we need to show our employees as much as the rest of the people in travis county that we understand that a 30,000 or a, you know, more than -- over a $30,000 increase, almost 40 in two years is really hard to convince people that that's what we ought to do. And again, I say i've never seen anybody's campaign literature that says elect me and i'm going to -- you know what, I got a tough decision to make, but I think that we have been behind and I don't think that we have been rightfully paid. That's hog wash. I mean, I mean I think that we deserve raises and i'm willing to have raises. I just think this is an insulting raise and I think it's very difficult for me to explain to anybody -- we fill up this room, I mean --
9:52 AMCommissioner Daugherty, do you have new comments to make because --
I have a motion to make.
Okay.
And my motion would be that we publish the prices -- or the compensation amounts to increase not the judges because the judges have already got their legislatively, they've got theirs, but everybody else gets whatever we give the rank and file, that's the amount of increase that we give ourselves. That would be my motion. Whenever it comes time to do that.
Is there a second for that motion? That motion dies for lack of a second. Is there another motion?
I move approval of the salaries as advertised in the ad.
As proposed by staff for the advertisement?
9:53 AMYes.
Do I have a second?
I have a clarifying question. Do you need a second before we have --
No.
This is enthusiastic --
Commissioner Daugherty, this is a difficult decision. Is what's published in the paper the recommendation from pbo the increase be done this year completely instead of the three-year implementation that we originally voted on?
Yes. it's the maximum amount that can be given. Which would include year 2 and year 3 of the strategy as discussed last year.
I would recommend the substitute motion that we stick to the three-year implementation that we voted on last year.
[inaudible].
We don't yet have a second, that's true. So is there a second for Commissioner Gomez's motion? Seeing no second for Commissioner Gomez's motion, that dies for lack of a second. Now we are to Commissioner Shea's motion, which so to stick to the three-year implementation which means the first year was last budget cycle, the second year would be this budget cycle, then we would see whether we could fund the third piece in the next budget cycle under the 3. 5% revenue cap. That would not include the judges because that is a decision of the texas legislature.
9:54 AMIt's what we voted on last year. Just for clarification, what would be roughly the next year's cost if we were to stick to that three-year implementation plan that we voted on last year? Just ballpark. Because we're not talking enormous amounts.
The cost for the year 2 is $144,966.
So year 3 would be roughly 144,000?
Correct. the total of year 2 and 3 is 301, 542.
9:55 AMNext year it would be roughly 144,000.
I'll second that.
We have a motion and second basically to stick with our vote from last year.
Correct.
With the inclusion of -- the recalculation for the judicial salaries based on legislative action. Is that the intention?
Yes.
Clarification. you mean all elected officials; is that correct? Or only the commissioners court?
It's what we voted on last year.
It's all elected officials.
It's the three-year implementation we voted on last year. And that's that 144,000.
For total cost of year 2.
Just for context, we spend $166,000 on our paper budget this year. Just to provide a context.
We have a motion so stick with our strategy from last year which is a three-year implementation that excludes the judges bump because it's mandated. Anything new? All right. It is -- I do want to say i'm certainly going to vote for this motion. I think that it was a good plan to implement on a three-year phase -- phase-in. We will be being base salaries here next year under a 3. 5% revenue cap and 200,000 more or less is going to be much more difficult to find. I want to remark there was nothing arbitrary, the word 'arbitrary' has been used repeatedly here. There is nothing arbitrary about our analysis. One can disagree with the methodology, but it was not arbitrary. The austin american-statesman utilized the same methodology and came up with the same result that we were 25% below market. So I would not characterize that as arbitrary, but that disagree.
9:57 AMTell me what you're talking about with the statesman. Are you talking about the statesman article that was put in the paper in the last week?
Yes.
That the paper took exactly what we are talking about --
And looked beyond texas as well at counties with similar population. And came up with the same result.
Well, that's odd, I mean, you know, because i've talked to the statesman --
Again, the statesman may, as you do, disagree with our actions based on the methodology. I'm simply responding to your terminology arbitrary with regard to the methodology. There is nothing arbitrary. You can disagree with the actions taken from the analysis. I'm simply saying the austin american-statesman came to the same result. Whether they agree with what we decided to with that result. I just want to be clean in our language.
9:58 AMJudge, what I mean by
The proposed increase is part of a plan to get pay up to market rate after the department found in 2018 that their pay was significantly out of line with what officials make in other large texas counties. The statesman verified this in its own analysis.
Well, of course they're going to get the same thing. It's not like we gave false numbers.
I'm sorry I brought it up. we have a motion.
Yes. I want this room to understand I stick by the term arbitrary, because I don't think that there is necessarily justification for what you make in harris county. I would argue that as well. If you really . . .
Barbara.
Further clarification on the motion.
I'm sorry?
For further clarification on the motion.
Yes, ma'am.
9:59 AMLast year, when the court was talking about elected officials' salaries, it did not include in its plan the da or the county attorney. And so if you're going with last year's plan, what are you meaning in terms --
We're not. clarification. The motion is to take a second bite this year from all of the elected officials that were included in the market analysis and in the proposal by staff. I'm just saying it's similar in strategy. We are continuing our strategy.
I'm only asking so that once it's over we know.
Let me make sure. the motion is that we take all of the proposed movement in market for all of the elected officials contained in this year today's backup and take it incrementally up this year and the remainder next year with the exception of the judges. Is that the intention of the movant?
10:00 AMWould you repeat that?
Sure. barbara just raised the issue of including the da and ca. And we are, yes?
I intended for us to stick to what we voted on last year.
But barbara raised the issue the county attorney and distribute attorney were not included last year.
The district attorney got an increase from the legislature, correct?
No. okay. Let me try this again.
I'll clarify. my motion was to stick to what we voted on last year with no changes.
That would be what barbara is raising is, if we stick to the motion we did last year, it would leave out the da and the ca. They were not included in the motion last year.
They would get a three-year implementation increase, correct? Or would it not include the correction -- it wouldn't include the correction --
10:01 AMThis is muddy. i'm sorry. Really, that muddied what I believe the intention of the commissioners court was.
I need to clarify. there was, on the market salary survey, the da and the ca were left out. We've since corrected that. So would my motion of sticking to what we voted on last year include the market salary survey adjustment to their pay?
No, it does not.
Okay. so then that does need to be included. And that was what you had clarified. I misunderstood.
The da and ca increases have been advertised at the maximum, but they haven't been decided.
And we adjusted their pay based on market salary work and then augmentation to that. We have an unusual configuration. Todd, maybe you can speak to this. I know there was some confusion about them not being included, which would result in them getting less pay than others that work under them.
10:02 AMSo, the ca and the da -- the proposal salary that was in the ad is essentially based on the relationship to the district judges and the county court at law judges.
Which has been the practice, to tie their pay to those positions.
It has been a -- I wouldn't say it's been directly tied in the past, but it's certainly been a factor. So the problem, if the motion is to go back to the plan that was came up with in 2018, the ca and da really weren't included in that study because we are configured differently than the peer markets. You need to decide if you want to continue to go ahead with the ca and the da as is proposed in the ad and say we're going to have some type of linkage with the district judges, or alternatively what you could say is we will adopt a two-year strategy to get them there. I don't know which one you're going to do.
10:03 AMThe judge's clarification was that they be added in at the recommended pay that had been part of that proposal.
Because of the linkage, the judges, ca and da since they're a bundle, they would remain the same. But we would implement year two of getting to market for all the other elects.
That clarification.
All right. and that was seconded by Commissioner Travillion?
I'm fine. I want them included.
That clarification.
I have a question. so, what happens request the with the judges' salaries in this motion? Do they continue to make $18,000 from the county along with longevity pay the state just gave them? Is that your intention?
10:04 AMYes, that is my intent.
It's not a supplement, per se. It's part of the job. They have other jobs to do besides being on the bench.
When was the last time judges got a market adjustment from the texas legislature?
Fy13.
Let's ask.
Five or six years ago.
About five or six years ago.
Yeah.
So, the reason for their carve-out, essentially, is because the judges -- the district judges' salaries are set by legislature. And we peg the county court at law judges' salaries, and the ca and da and to some degree the jp's as well off of that trigger.
Judge.
So they don't get the 3% or 2% across the board to keep us floating up.
10:05 AMDo we have to pay $18,000 to judges, or is that discretionary, and is there a sliding amount that you could pay? We have paid them 18,000. I don't have a problem.
That is discretionary, yes.
And I know that you at least have some thought about that, because you mentioned something at a former meeting about that we were going to --
Research, and I rolled back. frankly, I did the research and I rolled it back in recognition to what the market looks like for lawyers who do this kind of work and are interested in judicial positions. And what I found in doing some research was that lawyers take a very large pay cut to choose to be judge. they take a considerable pay cut. And furthermore, as judges they stay at the same salary for five and six years at a time without any movement in their salary at all. So it became apparent to me that with some research, I had to roll back that statement. I was, frankly, concerned about the flat 18,000 bump. But I recognized that it's unlikely that they're going to get another such bump from the texas legislature for at least five or six more years, most likely.
10:06 AMWell, for the record, there are eight judges that have between 0 and 4 years. So they don't get longevity. So they just have their 18.
The longevity amounts to less than $6,000, I think. That's different from the 18,000.
No, i'm talking about what they get, what the legislature has given them. So, between 0 and 4 they get nothing. Between 4 and 8 they get 14k. Between 8 and 12 they get 28k. And 12 and plus they get 36,400. That is what I have --
10:07 AMIf you look at just those numbers, yes, they seem colossal. When you look at the overall salary that results and you compare it against what attorneys of their level of experience in private practice are making, it's a whole different analysis.
If it's money, stay in the private practice and don't run for the bench.
Then we will see a serious erosion in the quality of our judiciary.
You pay your waiters a wage that is comparable. I don't think it's fair to say everybody --
You can't compare the private sector to the public sector.
I don't think you can say --
I get to money from the public sector to run my businesses. Those are two completely different things.
10:08 AMI don't think you should say we want good leaders for government and we're not going to pay them what is equitable for their work.
I agree with you, it is our job to go back and look to see if this is justified. My first blush was, that's a huge increase the legislature gave. I need to look at this. That's going to be a big hit on our budget, paid by the taxpayers. We should take a look at that. That's our job as a commissioners court. I took a look at it. I came back going, ugh, yes, it's a big hit on our budget. And they have been suppressed in their salaries for a number of years. And they're unlikely to see another increase for another number of years. That's the trend. That's how it usually goes. Even though the legislature -- the legislator's retirement is pegged to district Judge Salaries. You would think politically that would drive increases. And it doesn't. I was surprised by that. I had assumptions that were faulty. And I took a look.
10:09 AMThere's one question that I have about the da and the ca and the relationship with the judges' salaries. I want to make sure that we achieve the goal that we are after, which is, you know, to make sure that those salaries are in alignment and that the judges aren't going to be making more than the da and the ca as well. Does this proposal get us there?
The proposed salary for the da and ca puts them at an appropriate level slighty above.
It's set at 5% above the maximum that -- for example -- the district Judge Can make, or the county court at law young can make. The county attorney, 5% above the ccl judge, and the district attorney, 5% ahead of the district judge.
10:10 AMSo it does peg appropriately there. And also, one clarifying note. We had in the backup that the constables would all be brought to the same level to correct for our anomaly last year, correct? So that's in there, just so you all know.
Thank you.
And that includes next year as well, not just this year but next year as well?
It would bring all the constables to the same.
Constable five would still be below.
We need to correct for that.
And for year two, have we addressed the da/ca problem in year two as well?
We have not. so just kind of a recap of the setting of elected officials' salaries this year versus last year, there's several components this year, one of which is funding to the market directly, which we've just heard from the court that I think there's something pending and there's discussion about funding at a third a third, the same as last year. The district and county attorney were not looked at last year. This year we set a calculation, 5% tied into the district judges and the county court at law judges for the district and continue attorney -- county attorney, for this year. We heard about the $18,000 maximum supplement the county gives. There was discussion already on that part, which is relevant to setting salaries this year. Also, the part about the constables -- the constables, if we paid them a third, a third, a third, the constable five is still not paid at market. However, the other constables are, because they grieved a their salaries last year. And the court approved to move them directly to the market. So we still have constable five if we do the third, a third, a third, would still be behind the other constables just based on action from last year. The last piece of that is the justice of the peace tenure for longevity. This particular setting of salaries this year moves the justice of the peace longevity at 12 years versus 16 years. And that's a county decision as well. So, there are literally five pieces this year to setting the salaries. The funding it to the max, which we heard maybe the court is doing a third. The county attorney and the district attorney salaries, which we hear that the court is reflective of what we're proposing this year, the 18,000 supplement as the max, which I think we're still waiting for that with the clarification, the constable five, moving constable five to the market to align them with their peers, and then we still have the justice of the peace tenure, moving it from 16 to 12.
10:13 AMLet me try this from parliamentary procedural standpoint. Whoo, i'm surfing now. Let's take this as individual waves instead of trying to drink the whole ocean. First, would the movant and the second be all right if I take these five parts in pieces, in which case I would need to have your motion withdrawn so we could do it in pieces?
I'll withdraw so we can clarify. I know there are questions about what we're going to do in each case. I'll withdraw it.
Is that all right with the second?
That's fine with me.
So, first piece. the judge, county attorney, district attorney suite of salaries, which are pegged to the legislative decision, May I have a motion with regard to that piece?
So move.
We have a motion from Commissioner Gomez. Do we have a second?
10:14 AMI have a clarification question. I May second. You're talking about the supplement we paid to the judges of the 18,000?
No. i'm just talking about the legislatively set -- let me say what pieces i'm going to talk. Barbara, this May answer your question. First i'm going to take the salaries -- the base salaries and the legislative piece as well as those salaries that are pegged to that for the ca, da, the county court at law judges. That's piece one. Piece two is going to be the 18 --
I don't remember all five of the details on this. Can we take these in order? I was trying to clarify if that motion included just the judges, or others. So the d,a and ca pegged to the judicial pay that follows partly from what the legislature did, which we can't do anything about.
10:15 AMRight.
That's the motion. I will second it.
We have a motion by Commissioner Gomez seconded by Commissioner Shea. And for anybody else who's interested, the motions after this are going to involve the $18,000 supplement, the jp longevity year, the constables --
Constable five?
All of the constables. there'll be a suite. And then all other elected officials. Okay? So, this motion is just with regard to the district court judges' legislatively set salary, which includes their longevity steps, and those other elected positions that we peg to that, which are the remainder of our judiciary, and then our county attorney and district attorney. And that's a motion by Commissioner Gomez, seconded by Commissioner Shea. All those in favor?
10:16 AMBarbara -- hold on. barbara, please don't muddy the waters. Will this help us?
It's going to muddy the waters but it's necessary. I am sorry. You have no reason to vote on what was legislatively set for the district judges.
I know.
What you are voting on --
This is --
But, the legislature has said that the county court at law judges must be paid a thousand dollars less than the district judges who are at the same level of service as they are. Until you know what you're doing with the 18,000, you do not know what you're doing with the county court at law judges, because if you were to choose to do something --
10:17 AMDo you want us to vote on the 18,000 first?
That would make it a lot --
Great. will you withdraw your motion?
So move.
Will you withdraw the motion that's pending?
Okay.
Okay.
Yes.
Is that okay with the second? you move the 18,000. It really would have been helpful if you had given this advice before today and told me what order you felt it needed to come in. I'm frustrated. We have a motion for the 18,000.
Second.
We have a second. all those in favor of the 18,000? That passes unanimously.

10:17 AMI'm sorry. one opposed. So that's a 4-1. Now, next, we'll go to the previous motion, which was the legislatively set salaries. I agree with the county attorney's office with regard to the da -- I mean, the district judges. We don't need this vote because we have to do it by legislation. But this motion also contains all of the other salary decisions that are pegged to it. So, we had a motion by Commissioner Shea seconded by -- i'm sorry. Motion by Commissioner Gomez seconded by Commissioner Shea. Is that motion reurged?
10:18 AMYes.
One question for clarity.
Yes.
Are we talking about two years for the da and ca, not just the first year?
No. we're talking about taking them all at once.
Okay.
Otherwise you would have a year where they were significantly behind the co-hart coho they're pegged to.
Don't want them to be behind.
Can't do anything.
Okay.