The Houston Chronicle reports that the Harris County Commissioners’ are discussing hiking the salaries of most county officials. The notable exceptions are the Judges with a local jurisdiction, whose salaries are tied to that of the District Judge, set by the State Legislature. Similarly tied is the salary of the County Judge.
However, the Constables, County Attorney, County Clerk, County Commissioners, County Treasurer, District Attorney, District Clerk, Sheriff and Tax Assessor-Collector will all receive modest increases in their salaries. When I say “modest,” I truly mean somewhat miniscule. For example, the County Commissioners accused of these nefariously dealing with regard to “voting themselves a raise” would simply see 11% hike, which would be near the top of the raises. Towards the low end, the District Clerk would only see his salary go up by little more than 5%.
The Chronicle then went out of its way to interview those with an ax to grind against the Commissioners. Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of TFR, suggested that the County adopt a salary implementation system similar to the 27th Amendment to the US Constitution, which mandates all pay raises do not take effect until after the next election.
However, literally in the next paragraph, the Chronicle notes this is impossible under State Law. That is because the Commissioners are typically disallowed from making decisions that affect future sessions of the Commissioners’ Court. Collier then interviewed two commissioners –Steve Radack and Jack Morman– as well as County Judge Ed Emmett, County Clerk Stan Stanart and County Treasurer Orlando Sanchez. All the aforementioned expressed their support for the small raises.
I have maintained many times steadfast support for paying politicians liveable wages. I think Harris County does this very well, giving their elected officials all six-figure paychecks. Since the Judges and Emmett all got pay hikes from the Legislature this past year, such a reaction from the Commissioners is only fair.