Athens Review, Athens, Texas

August 20, 2013

Is pay bump on horizon?

County ponders 3% increase for all full-time employees

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Henderson County Commissioners Court, after spending numerous hours in workshops since County Judge Richard Sanders filed his proposed 2014 budget on July 31, were still faced with some difficult decisions on Tuesday.

The Commissioners were close to reaching the end of the workshop part of the process. Still ahead are a public hearing on the budget and two hearings on a proposed tax rate.

Sanders said Thursday he favors keeping the same tax rate as 2012. The rate of .4726580 was also the rate adopted in 2011.

Another question on the table Tuesday was whether the county can give an across-the-board pay increase to employees. The last raise was in 2009 when most county employees received a flat increase of $1,320. A dollar amount, rather than a percentage, was given so lower-salaried employees would get a larger-percentage pay bump.

Sanders said he would support a three-percent raise in the 2014 budget. A three-percent raise, plus the increase in the cost of insurance and other benefits, would cost $2,016 per employee.

The Commissioners Court also discussed changes in the employee handbook that will eliminate the possibility of a person with four years as a part-time county employee who switches to full-time status counting his part-time tenure toward his requirement for longevity pay.

Sanders said longevity pay must be limited to those with four years of service as a full-time employee. Another change being considered for the employee handbook is defining a part-time employee as one who works 29 hours or less per week.

Commissioners heard a request from Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Brian Hemati that his part-time receptionist position be expanded to a full-time job. Hemati said that during the hours the receptionist is not there, he has to take one of his troopers off patrol and place him at the desk to greet people, answer phones and do paperwork.