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Elected county officials taking pay cuts

By DAVID TEWES
Aug. 23, 2010 at 3:23 a.m.


What they makeExamples of pay received by the elected officials include:

District judges and district attorney: $140,000.

County judge: $96,927, plus a $5,720 supplement for working with the juvenile board.

County court-at-law judges: $139,000.

Sheriff: $74,718.

Justices of the peace: three make $45,000 and the fourth makes $70,000.

Constables: low to mid-$30,000.

Victoria County elected officials will take a $1,000 pay cut under a plan proposed Monday by the commissioners court.

"They're doing what they think is right," said Russell Pruitt with Citizens for Responsible Government. "They're showing that they're sacrificing, too."

But not everyone was thrilled, including Justice of the Peace Stuart Posey. The justices of peace are on the lower end of the pay scale of those affected.

"That would hurt," he said. "We don't even get reimbursed for mileage when we get called out."

The commissioners court went into closed session Monday and when it emerged there was consensus to cut $1,000 off the pay of the elected officials.

That won't be official until the court votes to adopt the budget.

County Judge Don Pozzi said the cuts would save about $30,000, including fringe benefits, in the 2011 budget year that begins Jan. 1.

"At this time, it's going to go back into the general fund for uses we would anticipate next year, possibly due to some of the reductions in force," he said. That could be part-time or full-time help, as needed.

The commissioners court had already informally agreed to eliminate 19 positions and cut pay for three other positions in 2011, while keeping the property tax rate level.

At least three of the people in the 19 positions were retiring and won't be replaced. Pozzi said there may be others eligible for retirement who he doesn't know about.

Pozzi said all 26 elected officials will be affected, including County Auditor Judy McAdams. He said her salary is set by the district judges, but McAdams volunteered to take the cut.

The positions are the four constables, four county commissioners, four justices of the peace, four district judges, both court-at-law judges, county judge, district attorney, sheriff, county treasurer, county auditor, county tax collector, county clerk and district clerk.

Pozzi said the court debated such options as pay cuts for everyone who makes more than $50,000 or $60,000.

"But we feel like the employees have suffered enough," he said. "It didn't matter to us what they were making, and we decided to limit it to the elected officials."

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