County mulls pay raises for elected officials - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Posted: Tuesday, August 13, 2019 2:45 pm

Cameron County Commissioners Court will soon decide whether to approve raises for its members and other elected county officials for the 2020 budget year.

According to a public notice published Saturday in The Brownsville Herald, the county has proposed pay increases for a majority of the county’s elected officials.

The proposed increases include salary hikes and possible allowances for automobiles and cell phones.

The largest proposed increase is for County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr., who is currently compensated $70,743, according to the notice. If approved, the county would add $48,657 to his compensation with increases to salary and an auto allowance for a total proposed compensation of $119,400.

County commissioners could see increases of $32,684 though proposed salary increases and automobile allowances.

The commissioners include Sofia B. Benvides, Pct. 1; Joey Lopez, Pct. 2; David A. Garza, Pct. 3; and Gus Ruiz, Pct. 4.

With the exception of Benavides, who does not collect a $960 phone allowance, the commissioners would be paid $81,760 a year, up from $49,076.

Under the proposal, Benavides would collect a total of $80,800, up from $48,116, according to the notice.

The Commissioners Court is set to conduct a public hearing at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 20, at the Commissioners Courtroom, according to the public notice.

Trevino on Saturday said the proposal to increase the salaries of elected public officials was made by Cameron County Precinct 2 Commissioner Joey Lopez.

Lopez could not be reached for comment Saturday evening.

Trevino said Interim County Administrator Pete Sepulveda Jr. conducted a study to see what the salaries of elected officials in counties the size of Cameron County were.

In counties with the population of 100,000, Cameron County was next to the lowest in what it paid its elected officials.

In counties with populations of 300,000 or more, Cameron County ranked the lowest. The average pay for a county judge was $130,000 while the average pay for a county commissioner was $115,000, Trevino said.

Cameron County’s population is between 430,000 and 450.000.

The increases are part of the budget so it should not affect taxpayers, he said.

Trevino said it was his understanding that Commissioners Court had not given itself a raise in 25 years and also some elected officials had also requested increases in their salaries.

“ People who don’t think there elected officials deserve a raise, I am sure we are going to hear from, but with or without a raise we are going to do everything we can to move Cameron County forward,” Trevino said. “Some people will think it’s OK and some others that don’t think it’s OK.”

Trevino added that Commissioners Court is working on a Compensation Plan that would allow all county employees to receive pay raises. “We are trying to implement it over a three year time frame but we are also looking at trying to implement it over a shorter time period.”

Also according to the notice:

>> District Clerk Eric Garza’s compensation could increase by $24,000 to a total of $105,960. Garza currently earns $81,960.

>> County Clerk Sylvia Perez Garza could receive an increase of $22,380 for a total of $105,960. Perez Garza currently earns $83,580.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 Bennie Ochoa currently earns $56,383 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,000.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2-1 Linda Salazar currently earns $57,343 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,960.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2-2 Jonathan Gracia currently earns $56,383 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,000.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 2-3 Mary Esther Sorola currently earns $56,383 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,000.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3-1 Jesus T. Garcia Jr. currently earns $57,343 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,960.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3-2 David Garza currently earns $57,343 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,960.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 4 Juan Mendoza currently earns $57,343 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,960.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5-1 Dora A. Gonzalez currently earns $57,343 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,960.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5-2 Eloy Cano currently earns $57,289 and could receive a raise of $8,711 for a total of $66,000.

>> Justice of the Peace, Pct. 5-3 Mike Trejo currently earns $57,343 and could receive a raise of $9,617 for a total of $66,960.

>> County Treasurer David Betancourt currently earns $65,992 and could receive a raise of $39,968 for a total of $105,960.

>> Tax Assessor/Collector Antonio Yzaguirre currently earns $88,915 and could receive a raise of $17,045 for a total of $105,960.

>> Constable Pct. 2 Abel Gomez currently earns $62,962 and could receive a raise of $10,000 for a total of $72,962.

>> Constable Pct. 3 Jose Adrian Gonzalez currently earns $57,202 and could receive a raise of $4,800 for a total of $62,002.

>> Constable Pct. 5 Evarado Solis currently earns $52,962 and could receive a raise of $10,000 for a total of $62,962.

According to the notice, the following officials are not being considered for increases in compensation:

>> County Attorney Luis V. Saenz, according to the ad;

>> Constable Pct. 1 Pete Delgadillo is compensated at $62,002 and is not being considered for an increase;

>> Constable Pct. 4 Merced Burnias is compensated at $62,002 and is not being considered for an increase;

>> Sheriff Omar Lucio.

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