Conroe, November 26 – Montgomery County Commissioners Court salaries are far too high, as a result of the Commissioners Court ignoring the outside world and giving themselves enormous salary increases seven out of the last ten years. The salary increases amount of raises of 72.17% for the County Judge since 2008 and 76.80% for the County Commissioners, while the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), the primary measure of American inflation, rose only 14.57% during the same period.
The largest single increase occurred during the Great Recession in the Fiscal Year 2009 budget when the Commissioners Court voted unanimously to give themselves a 40.08% raise for the County Judge while the Commissioners received a 43.85% raise. The CPI that year was negative: -0.01%.
When the vote on the gigantic Great Recession salary increase took place during the Fiscal Year 2009 budget hearing (in July, 2008, the Commissioners Court still actually conducted public hearings, unlike now when they’ve eliminated them), Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador commented, “I sure could use the money.” Then-Precinct 2 County Commissioner Craig Doyal joined in, “So can I,” according to several people who were in the Commissioners Courtroom when the vote occurred.
Interestingly, all three of the budget years when there were no salary increases occurred during the budget consideration prior to Republican Primary Elections in the spring. There is an election for County Judge (Doyal), Precinct 2 County Commissioner (Riley), and Precinct 4 County Commissioner (Clark) on March 6, 2018.
Since the elections will have concluded in the Republican Primary Election, and since general elections are meaningless in Montgomery County as a result of straight-ticket voting, Montgomery County citizens should brace themselves for a gigantic salary increase grab by the County Judge and County Commissioners during the next budget consideration in July 2018. Already, Commissioners Court voting patterns seem to reflect a desire on the part of certain members to please others who will vote on whether to give them raises.
All of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court salary increases appear to constitute little more than “money grabs,” because there is no reason to them whatsoever. Even when a Salary Study Committee, which former County Human Resources Director Diane Bass chaired, recommended no salary increases in August, 2016, because the salaries were already way too high, the Commissioners Court voted unanimously to give themselves a 3.00% pay raise.
Montgomery County’s Commissioners Court salaries are entirely out of whack in comparison to the salaries of Commissioners Court across the State of Texas. According to the Salary Survey of the Texas Association of Counties, the Montgomery County Judge is third highest paid County Judge in Texas, only behind Dallas and Harris counties, both of which have budgets more than six (6) times the size of the Montgomery County Budget. Montgomery County Commissioners receive the second highest salary for a county commissioner in Texas only behind Harris County Commissioners who receive slightly more.
There’s an obvious reason that the Montgomery County Commissioners Court doesn’t want to address the massively wasteful spending inside of the County government. If they were conscientious, their first cuts would be their own salaries.
Meanwhile, law enforcement officers in Montgomery County receive slightly less in salaries than peace officers in comparable size counties in Texas.
From the Montgomery County Commissioners Court don’t expect to sense any sacrifice in public service.