Salary Grievance Committee Formed
Limestone County Commissioners took the necessary steps Thursday, Sept. 3, in a special-called meeting to establish an Elected Official Salary Grievance Committee.
The committee was set up in compliance with state laws and in response to a grievance from justices of the peace.
After multiple discussions in recent budget workshops and meetings ultimately resulted in no planned pay raises for county JPs, they requested a hearing to voice their grievances with the proposed salaries just ahead of the deadline for final approval of the county budget.
County Judge Richard Duncan explained that this process is not one he has dealt with before, but that according to Texas Local Government Code, commissioners could choose between two formats – selecting nine members of the public at random to form the committee, or creating the committee with six elected officials and three public citizens chosen at random.
(The pool from which citizens would be chosen consists of all individuals who served on a grand jury during the preceding calendar year. Their names were written on separate slips of paper, folded, and placed in a jar, from which the judge would select the agreed upon number of potential committee members.) Duncan stated that should a citizen drawn at random have familial or employment ties to any of the JPs, they would be recused, and the JPs were in agreement.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Bobby Forest made a motion to structure the salary-grievance committee with six elected officials and three members of the public, which was seconded by Precinct 3 Commissioner Jerry Allen, and the motion passed.
The elected officials on the committee are Sheriff Dennis Wilson, Tax Assessor-Collector Stacy Hall, Treasurer Carol Pickett, County Clerk Kerrie Cobb, District Clerk Carol Jenkins and District Attorney Roy DeFriend. Duncan selected three members of the public– and five alternates – through the drawing process, but they will not be named until it is determined whether or not they will serve. As county judge, Duncan is chair of the committee but is not entitled to vote.
“We’ve got a called meeting next Tuesday at 11 o’clock to meet and hear the grievances and make a determination,” Duncan said.
As the JPs were present for the meeting, he opened up the floor and asked if any of them wished to speak or provide information that would “make this the most fair committee we can make it,” but none spoke up.
The hearing before the salary-grievance committee will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, following a regular Commissioners Court meeting at 9 a.m.