Travis County commissioners to begin process of implementing market-rate raises for elected officials

Members of the Travis County Commissioners Court, shown here in 2017, are among the elected officials who will receive market-rate salary increases in FY 2019-20.

Members of the Travis County Commissioners Court, shown here in 2017, are among the elected officials who will receive market-rate salary increases in FY 2019-20.

Updated Thursday, July 11, at 5:10 p.m. to clarify that commissioners voted to begin the process of formally recommending market-rate raises for elected officials

Travis County commissioners voted 4-1 to begin the process of implementing market-rate raises for elected officials in fiscal year 2019-20 at a meeting July 9.

The raises—which range from up to $6,544 for some constables to $36,400 for court-at-law judges who have been in their position for more than 12 years and include $32,209 for county commissioners—were recommended by the county’s human resources department and based on a market salary study.

In addition to the study, state lawmakers passed legislation during the 86th legislative session that dictates pay for certain elected officials, including district judges, county court-at-law judges and probate judges.

Last year, commissioners voted to bring certain salaries up to market rate in adherence to this study over three years. The county's FY 2018-19 budget included one-third of the market-rate raises for those affected positions, with a plan to incorporate the second and third portions of the raises in FY 2019-20 and FY 2020-21, respectively.

In light of the recently passed property tax revenue cap and in anticipation for the upcoming FY 2019-20 budget cycle, commissioners have discussed bringing those salaries up to market rate in the coming budget cycle, rather than waiting a third year.

Commissioner Gerald Daugherty, who represents Precinct 3, opposed the motion to begin the process for completing these market-rate raises for elected officials.

“The formula [should be] whatever the Commissioners Court gives the rank-and-file, that’s what elected officials get,” Daugherty said July 2. “And if they don’t like that, then they needn’t run for office.”

Following a statutorily mandated process that includes running an advertisement in a local paper and holding a public hearing, commissioners are scheduled to set the salaries July 30 and adopt the budget for FY 2019-20 on  Sept. 24.

Other compensation news


The Travis County Compensation Committee submitted its recommendations for FY 2019-20 in a July 24 memo to members of the Commissioners Court.

The committee is composed of county employees appointed by commissioners.

Its members voted 9-1, with one abstention, to recommend commissioners “give highest priority to fully funding” the results of the market salary study.

For any remaining funds, members recommended providing across-the-board raises for county employees, prioritizing those positions not affected by the market salary study.

If both of these priorities are achieved, the committee voted 11-0, with two abstentions, to raise the Travis County minimum wage from $13 per hour to $15 per hour.

“We recognize that approving a budget is a complex endeavor, and that there are a number of competing priorities which must be balanced,” committee members wrote in the aforementioned memo. “Your co-workers in Travis County are grateful to the Court for prioritizing compensation in this budget process, and this Committee looks forward to continuing to partner with you and with Travis County HR in future initiatives.”
By Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her beat includes the Travis County Commissioners Court and local business news. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.


MOST RECENT

Capital Metro and the City of Austin are preparing to ask voters in November to fund $7.1 billion of a $10 billion plan to expand public transportation across the city. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Project Connect one step away from officially heading to Austin voters

Austin City Council and the Capital Metro board of directors approved a contract with the voters Aug. 7 laying out details of the plan and set up the rules for a board that will make funding decisions.

Beginning at noon Aug. 10, Lake Pflugerville trail will reopen for public use. (Courtesy city of Pflugerville)
Lake Pflugerville trail to reopen and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure. (Courtesy Total Primary Care)
Find out where to get a 15-minute COVID-19 test in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth metros

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

Austin ISD trustees approved a new school calendar Aug. 7, delaying the start of the school year until Sept. 8. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Austin ISD officially delays start of school year until Sept. 8

The district could also extend virtual learning into November based on an approved Texas Education Agency waiver.

Austin Public Health will resume providing coronavirus testing for individuals without symptoms. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Asymptomatic coronavirus tests now available through Austin Public Health

Despite relative progress in county efforts to contain the virus, Dr. Mark Escott has urged the community to stay vigilant in social distancing and wearing masks.

Two events will be held in South Austin on Aug. 8 to distribute school supplies. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
School supply distribution events at two South Austin locations Aug. 8

The items will be placed in the trunk of vehicles that pull up to the schools, and walk-up groups will also be served.

Houston-based vintage clothing store Pavement will open in Austin on Aug. 14. (Courtesy Pavement)
South Austin news: Pavement opens new vintage store, YMCA offering child care and more

YMCA of Austin and Extend-A-Care will be offering full-day child care to supervise virtual learning at 10 locations, including Galindo Elementary School.