Pay bumped for county officials, employees

Margaret Allen
Hays Daily News
Ellis County government employees were approved by the Ellis County Commission on Monday evening for a cost-of-living pay increase and to keep them at parity in the market.

Ellis County employees will see a pay raise on their next paycheck, due March 7.

The Ellis County Commission at its regular meeting on Monday evening approved pay grade raises for all non-elected employees, as well as a 1.3% cost of living increase. Elected officials were also approved for an increase.

The 2021 county budget allowed $150,000 for pay hikes for the county’s 174 elected and non-elected employees. The increases approved Monday amount to $142,468, according to interim county administrator Darin Myers.

Ellis County Commission Chairman Butch Schlyer said the salary scale increases, as recommended originally in the county’s 2015 wage and benefit Evergreen Study, are needed, as well as a cost-of-living increase.

“I know last year our employees didn’t get a cost of living increase until approximately the middle of the year. They waited a long time for one last year,” said Schlyer. 

There have been some tough years the employees didn’t get raises, he said.

“So it’s definitely due. I think we all agree that our employees are some of the best,” Schlyer said. “The only thing Ellis County has to offer people is its services, and our employees provide the services. Many of those positions require technical skills, and all of them require a level of social graces, as they have to interact with the public. And I’m very much in favor of these salary increases as you present them, Darin.”

“I am, too, Butch,” said Commissioner Dean Haselhorst, who indicated, as he has in the past, that the Evergreen Study was a waste of money because the incremental pay grade increases weren’t immediately implemented but instead stalled, and then dragged out over time. “It’s time to do it. We budgeted it. It’s coming in under budget, which is great to see for once. We need to take care of our employees. They’ve encountered a lot this past year, with COVID, and so has the whole community. And I think we need to take care of our employees.”

Commissioner Neal Younger agreed.

“I, too, am in favor of it,” Younger said. “I’ve seen it over the years, we were being a training center, and they would leave. If we don’t make it inviting for them to stay, they are going to leave, and we start all over again.”

The increases include hikes for non-elected officials covered in the Evergreen Study, developed by outside hired consultants, to bring and keep county employees into parity with the market. The schedule provides for salary increases by moving employees each year to their next higher pay grade step.

“As the commissioners are aware, last year we finalized that pay study and implementation plan,” Myers said. “So now the next step is to basically, on an annual basis, as budget allows, the commission approves to move everybody within their pay grade one step to the right. That does not include a cost of living adjustment.”

The commissioners approved a 1.3% cost-of-living increase for the employees, like the one allowed in 2021 by Social Security.

Pay bump for elected officials

The commissioners also approved a 1.3% increase for all elected officials, as well as for employees already at their highest pay grade step, attorneys contracted by the court system, and employees still in their six-month new hire probationary period or recently promoted.

With the increases, which take effect March 7, elected officials' salaries now are: county commissioner, $19,036; county attorney, $91,170; sheriff, $86,105; county clerk, $63,819, plus $8,000 election stipend; county treasurer, $63,312; and register of deeds, $57,437.