The Orange Leader
The Board of District Court Judges recently approved a 10 percent raise — from $70,000 to $77,000 — requested by County Auditor Mary Johnson.
The raise is scheduled to go into effect Oct. 1, 2013.
The Board of District Court Judges also is responsible for approving the County Auditor’s budget for the 2013/2014 fiscal year.
Johnson requested the budget stay the same as the current fiscal year budget. The board approved the request during the July 15 meeting.
The board will hold a public hearing concerning the auditor’s pay increase at noon, Wednesday, Aug. 14 at the 260th Court’s jury room.
Commissioner Pct. 3 John Banken said he respects the judges and the job they do.
“They are top of the line people,” Banken said. “I respect Mary Johnson and the job she is doing for the county. A 10% raise is out of line for anyone knowing the financial situation of the county.”
Banken also said that there are county employees that have not had a raise in five years.
“There has not been a cost of living raise for three years for everyone,” Banken said. “We have employees hurting because of insurance increases. We need to so something to help them.”
Banken also said he believes that if one gets a raise all employees should get a raise.
“I believe we should treat each employee as equals,” Banken said. “Not pick and choose.”
A request for 3% pay increase for court reporters was made during the July meeting. Approval on the request is delayed pending the Commissioners Court decision on pay increases for county employees.
“It is a matter of maintaining separation of powers,” Commissioner Pct. 4 Jody Crump said in a phone interview. “The District Judges decide the level of compensation.”
Crump said it was a situation Commissioners Court has no control over.
“She is going from $70,000 to $77,000,” Crump said. “There are big allowances we have to make.”
The county is currently holding workshops to discuss the 2013/2014 fiscal budget. The current proposed changes show the budget as -$6,553,743. That number does not show the reimbursements from grants. Zero funds from grants were listed in the budget at this time.
Johnson was promoted to the position as County Auditor when Deborah Rawls retired in Jan. 2012. Messages left for her were not returned by press time.