EL PASO, Texas - Commissioners Court Monday announced a proposed salary increase for itself and elected constable precinct officers.
The pay will not go into effect until the proposed budget, with the pay increase item, is approved. The approved pay increase proposal includes a pay raise of 3 percent for all county employees.
Commissioners are receiving a 1-percent salary increase and the constables are receiving a 2-percent salary increase.
Last Friday, County Judge Veronica Escobar and Commissioner Carlos Leon voted against the proposal. Commissioners Vince Perez, David Stout and Andrew Haggerty voted in favor of the pay increase.
Last year, County Commissioners voted to give themselves a $26,569 pay increase, and a $14,422 pay increase for the county judge.
The salary increases were based on a goal of raising all public officials pay to 70 percent of the average for that position across the state of Texas.
That 70 percent goal is based on a review of 10 major counties across the state: Bexar, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ft. Bend, Harris, Hidalgo, Montgomery, Tarrant and Travis counties.
"Last year, it was decided that every elected official should make a minimum of 70 percent of what everyone else in the top ten counties (in Texas) make," county commissioner Andrew Haggerty said. "If we have a policy whether I agree with it or not, we need to follow that policy.
This is a breakdown of the pay raise:
"It was a huge raise last year, but I think that was because of the years and years and years of refusing to be the ones to want to do it, and it's a difficult thing to want to do," Haggerty said. "No matter what happens, we're stuck having to vote for our own increases."
County commissioner David Stout said it's uncomfortable having to implement one's pay raise. But Commissioners Court is the entity that has to dictate the raises.
"It's very frustrating because it's a difficult decision that we have to make every year," Stout said.
County judge Veronica Escobar and commissioner Carlos Leon were not present at Monday's meeting. Both were attending a mediation for a lawsuit the County of El Paso is involved in.
CORRECTION: A previous version of the article stated the vote happened on Monday, August 14. The vote happened Friday, August 11.