Elected officials of Dallas County will not be getting a salary increase this year based on a vote on August 20. County Judge Clay Jenkins and Commissioners J.J. Koch and Elba Garcia voted against a four-percent pay increase. Two commissioners, John Wiley Price and Theresa Daniel voted for the salary increase.
The vote impacts 26 elected officials in Dallas County. Non-elected county employee salaries are not impacted by this vote.
Commissioner Koch noted that Dallas County has made an effort over the last several years to get its salaries more on par with other urban counties. He said that the county is still trying to reach “equity” for county employee salaries, but that elected officials’ salaries are not an issue.
“Elected officials have received raises for the last six years or so and are in line with other urban counties. I don’t believe we need to spend extra taxpayer money there,” Koch explained.
Speaking in favor of the pay increase, Commissioner Theresa Daniel pointed out that these “26 people work for the betterment of Dallas County,” and that they should receive the same pay increase as other county employees. Daniel also suggested that county elected officials who don’t want the pay increase can decline it.
The vote was not without contention.
As a result of the commissioner court decision, a Salary Grievance Committee is being formed under Section 152.014 of the local government code. According to staff, this is the first time such a committee has been convened in over 26 years.
On Monday, August 26, the county commissioners court held a specially called session to appoint nine members drawn from the 2018 grand jury pool to fill the Salary Grievance Committee. Judge Jenkins will preside as a non-voting member.
The grievance committee will meet Friday, August 30 at 9:00 a.m. in the commissioners’ courtroom to hear salary request grievances from Dallas County elected officials.
At the time of publication, elected officials who have petitioned to be heard by the grievance committee include Tax Assessor John Ames, Sheriff Marian Brown, Commissioners Theresa Daniel and John Wiley Price, and several justices of the peace and constables.
Seven of the petitioners for salary increases have been elected to their respective offices for less than a year.
As an example, according to the Texas Association of Counties 2018 salary survey, Dallas County paid its sheriff a salary of $175,498.
By contrast, the Texas governor earns a salary of $150,000 annually.
The meeting is open to the public and Commissioner Koch urges interested Dallas citizens to attend.
“Their opinion is just as important as the elected officials,” Koch said.
If a citizen wishes to speak at the meeting, they can register by calling (214) 653-7165 by Wednesday at 4 p.m.
The results of the Salary Grievance Committee must be reported to the commissioners court in time for a vote before the next fiscal year beginning October 1.
According to the local government code, “If all nine members of the committee vote to recommend the increase and sign the recommendation, the commissioners court shall include the increase in the budget before the budget is filed and the increase takes effect in the next budget year.”
The committee can vote for a larger salary increase than requested by the official.
Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.