Some elected officials in Kleberg County say they want salary raises -- $14,000 in salary raises, to be exact. The officials are so serious about it that they have filed grievances with the county.
The elected officials that have filed grievances include the county attorney, county clerk, county treasurer, tax collector-assessor, justices of the peace and constables. Their current salaries vary in range, but all of them want a raise of the same amount.
Now, the county has set up a grievance committee made up of grand jurors that will vote on whether the elected officials should get the salary increases or not.
This all started when the Kleberg County sheriff said he wanted a raise. The county commissioners considered giving the sheriff a raise of $14,000. They ultimately voted against that, but not before other elected officials said they wanted a raise, too.
As of right now, county officials are paid as follows:
Tax Assessor-Collector - $45,210
Treasurer - $45,210
County Clerk - $45,210
County Attorney - $57,390
Constables - $33,752.90
Justices of the Peace - $34,080
When asked if the county could afford to give those $14,000 raises, County Judge Juan Escobar said, "Not right now. So we have two options. We either raise taxes or we go ahead and go to every department and start cutting personnel because we're not going to. I am not of the opinion that we should raise taxes."
"The auditor had already plugged in the numbers," County Clerk Leo Alarcon said. "She plugged in $14,000 for sheriff, all the other elected, $1,000. Okay, that happened, and then I said, 'You're going to have a bunch of grievances here. This is totally unfair.'"
County Judge Escobar, who makes $54,000 a year and is not asking for a raise, said that if the county raises taxes to pay for the salary increases, the county will end up in a situation like Brooks County -- broke.
The grievance committee, made up of nine grand jurors, will vote on the matter on Thursday. If they vote unanimously to approve the raises, the county commissioners will have to approve them. If the vote is not unanimous, the county commissioners will have the final say on whether to approve the salaries or not.
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