Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

September 5, 2013

Commissioners approve new positions, raises

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Two new positions and several individual salary adjustments made during talks last week are part of the proposed Navarro County budget now posted on the county’s website.

The current version of the budget includes a deficit of just over $1 million for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, 2013, with no increase in the tax rate.

The court voted Aug. 26 to stick to the current tax rate of .6270 per $100 taxable value.

During workshops held after that vote, commissioners added an assistant prosecutor’s position to the District Attorney’s office at a budgeted salary of $54,174, an IT assistant position at a salary of $35,000, and agreed to several individual salary adjustments on top of the previously approved 4 percent across the board increase.

County Judge H.M. Davenport Jr. said District Attorney Lowell Thompson has requested an additional prosecutor for the last several years, and commissioners agreed to add the post for the coming year.

“With what was not spent out of his budget, we felt like there could be some tradeoffs made,” Davenport said.

The addition of the IT assistant was the result of an analysis of the county’s IT system.

“Given the inventory of all the machines that are here and the complexity of what we have in the courthouse, the industry standard was to have more than one (person), given our numbers,” Davenport said. He said commissioners agreed to add the post.

Also during last week’s workshops, several individual salary adjustments were made by commissioners and added to the proposed budget.

In the County Clerk’s office, the chief deputy clerk position is budgeted for a 5.78 percent raise, and the senior clerk at 6.03 percent. In the District Clerk’s office, the chief deputy and senior clerk received similar increases; the chief deputy 5.77 percent, the senior clerk 6.03 percent.

The four clerks received the extra increases at the request of the office holders after action last year raised the pay of other clerks in the two offices to $28,000 annually, but the chief deputy and senior clerks did not receive any increase, Davenport explained.

Three positions in the county auditor’s office — the first assistant auditor, internal auditor and assistant auditor — received 5 percent raises, as did the court reporter for the District Judge’s office. Judge James Lagomarsino sets those salaries, Davenport said.

Commissioners also raised the salary of the county elections administrator 7.71 percent. Davenport said the move was made because of overtime required for the position.

“There is extensive overtime that her assistant gets, however she has not gotten it in the past as a department head,” Davenport explained. He said the auditor calculated how much that overtime amounted to over the past several years, and commissioners considered that in deciding on the increase for the position.

County Court-At-Law Judge Amanda Putman is receiving a 10.79 percent increase overall, but part of that increase was mandated by the state of Texas. The state pays approximately 60 percent of the judge’s salary.

Commissioners had previously raised the pay of the county’s four constables twice during the budget process. The first raise was from $17,340 to $18,500. Then after a grievance hearing filed by Pct. 2 Constable David Foreman, commissioners settled on $20,000 annually for the four positions — amounting to a 15.34 percent increase. The Pct. 3 constable’s post pay had been lowered to $2,400 annually in previous  years, but commissioners agreed to raise the rate to equal the other three offices after Constable Nicole McMahan took office. The constables did not receive the original 4 percent across the board increase.

Commissioners are tentatively scheduled to pass the budget on Sept. 23. The next commissioners court meeting is slated for Sept. 9.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com