During discussion on an item to approve court interpreters’ claims for payment, Montgomery County Commissioners Court approved a motion to allow Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 1 Commissioner Robert Walker to work together and study court interpreter pay and see where costs can be cut during its May 23 meeting.

The backstory: In December, the Commissioners Court approved a pay change for court interpreters, amending the jury trial pay from $65 an hour to $650 per day for the first two days, Community Impact previously reported. Pay for nonjury trials is $220.

Noack previously spoke about the pay rate for interpreters during the Commissioners Court’s May 9 meeting, where he expressed concern over paying court interpreters for minutes of work, according to previous reporting.

Also of note: Montgomery County’s full-time court interpreter position is vacant, said Wendy Little, the county’s director of the office of court administration, during the meeting.

What they’re saying:

  • “I know this issue, I keep talking about it,” Noack said. “But I am convinced that we’re paying too much. I’ve been doing some research. We have invoices in here today for over $1,000 a day for court services for interpreters.”
  • “This is one thing that I think requires a little bit of attention,” Walker said. “We have to work through this.”
  • “We’re all trying to save money. ... And we don’t want to sacrifice the opportunity to get people when we need them,” County Judge Mark Keough said. “Kudos to you, Commissioner [Noack], if you guys want to do a study and try and figure out where we can, what possibility can be done to hone this down, just with the understanding that we don’t want to get telephone calls from judges saying, ‘I can’t get any interpreters to come and work.’”
What’s next: Noack and Walker will begin studying court interpreter pay and see where costs can be cut. A timeline for further action on court interpreter pay was not discussed during the meeting.