Nearly 500 Hays County employees have seen a 10% pay increase in February to stay competitive in the job market.

In a 4-1 vote, the Hays County Commissioners Court approved an initial lump sum 10% pay increase for 465 county employees who are not bound by the collective bargaining agreement, or CBA, on Jan. 31. The employees receiving the increase are in Hays County pay grades 106-113, making less than $100,000. Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell was the single dissenting vote.

A CBA is a contract that is reached after negotiations between representatives of a union and employer have been met.

The pay increase went into effect Feb. 1 and will cost the county $1,482,978.98 for the 2022-23 fiscal year, according to the Hays County budget office.

Alex Villalobos, Hays County chief of staff, emphasized the importance of staying competitive in the regional market.

“It's important for us to ensure that we are keeping up with the regional market so that we can stay competitive,” Villalobos told Community Impact. “Not only, No. 1, is it good for recruiting new talent and new positions into the county, but it's also important for retention. And retention is important for us to maintain institutional knowledge within the Hays County organization so we can continue to move forward with all of the services and needs that the county needs.”

Consultants from Management Advisory Group Inc., a management consultant firm, conducted a compensation and classifications study for Hays County. Their draft report found the county is 11.08% below the average market at range minimum.

“The study really looks at, not only the classifications, it looks at the regional market, and then they start utilizing a system with an algorithm that determines appropriate pay with pay scales,” Villalobos said.

Villalobos noted the intent of the court was to address the “largest portion of county organizations.”

“Some of the [county organizations] that are most in need had not been assessed and compared to the recent market analysis or most market comparisons,” Villalobos said. “In the future, I know that what they’re looking at is to address the rest of the positions throughout the county, so they’re not done yet.”

MAG will be further assessing with county department heads in the coming weeks, which will lead to a complete pay scale system presentation.

The commissioners court will meet again Feb. 28 at the Hays County Historical Courthouse, located at 111 E. San Antonio St. in San Marcos, at 9 a.m.