Breckenridge Texan

County commissioners approve salary increase for jail administrator

County commissioners approve salary increase for jail administrator
April 25
15:37 2019

Stephens County Sheriff Will Holt addressed the County Commissioners at their meeting on Monday and asked for an increase in the salary of the jail administrator, a position that recently became vacant. After discussing the situation with Holt, the commissioners approved the increase.

The salary for the jail administrator will increase from $13.65 to $17 per hour, but the raise will come from within the Sheriff’s Office budget.

Holt said in an email on Thursday that the jail administrator has been paid $13.65 per hour. That is 55 cents more than the $13.10 an hour that a new, inexperienced jailer is paid. In addition to supervising a staff of 12 jailers, the jail administrator has the added responsibility of being the point of contact with the state of Texas on jail standards, Holt said.

“The pay has not increased for anybody over there,” he said. “But, if there’s any one position that needs some type of pay to reflect a manager and a supervisor, then it’s the jail administrator.”

Holt told commissioners that over the last several years, the state has increased the amount of responsibility for the jail administrator position but the pay has not increased.

He said he will be able to cover the costs of the increase in the salary from his current budget and was not asking the commissioners court to amend his budget or pull the money from the county’s general fund or anywhere else in the county’s budget. He said he has a plan that allows his department to pay the additional salary without increasing the budget, which he said is possible due to his employees’ ability to be frugal and save within their budget.

“Last year, 2018, my jail and building budget came in under about $7,000, and the year before that in 2017, we came in at about $8,000 under budget,” Holt said. “So that’s two years coming in under budget. The difference that I’m asking y’all to vote on that would increase, is about half to two thirds of that amount.”

According to Holt, the increased salary for the position will take the annual base salary from just under $31,000 based on an 86-hour pay period to a range of $35,000 to $38,000, depending on the number of hours worked. He said overtime doesn’t start until after 86 hours.

“I gave you that range of $35,000 to $38,000 because all of my jail employees, sometimes they work 82 hours in a pay period, sometimes they work 80, sometimes they work a full 86,” he said. “So I give you that range to let you know where that increase is going to go to.”

When asked by commissioners if he had looked at the average jail administrator salary in surrounding counties, Holt said he had a little bit, and that Stephens County was significantly lower by about $10,000 or more a year. He said you have to gauge it depending on the size of the county, but if you look at other counties the size of Stephens County the jail administrator is making more.

Holt said because the jail administrator position is a highly specialized position, increasing  the salary gives them the opportunity to hire somebody who has a great track record working with the same jail inspector that Stephens County works with from the state.

When asked by commissioners whether his budget would have to be increased next year to cover the increased salary, Holt said it was debatable. He said while he couldn’t say absolutely not, his said his department had come under budget on both their budgets, the jail budget and the law enforcement budget, by around $50,000 between the two budgets in 2017 and 2018.

Additionally, he said they had the ability of taking some money from the law enforcement budget in the Sheriff Department if needed and move it to the jail budget and wouldn’t have to add more money from the outside.

“Now I might not even have to move any,” he said. “After this year plays out, I can tell you that for certain. So it’s a possibility. I think if we did have to do that, I think it would have to be low, like in the $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 area not tens of thousands of dollars. It might not even be low thousands. It may just be the ability of sitting down with y’all when it comes to budget workshop time and there’ll be a little bit more increase on the jail side.”

True-up payment for Stephens County Ambulance Service

Also during their meeting, commissioners approved the payment of their portion of an annual true-up payment of $21,666.66 for the county’s ambulance service which is provided by Sacred Cross EMS, Inc.

Under an interlocal agreement between Stephens County, The City of Breckenridge and the Stephens Memorial Hospital District, each entity agrees to split the costs of the annual true-up subsidy payment to Sacred Cross EMS, Inc. The total combined subsidy payment to for all three entities is capped at $65,000 which is divided between the three at $21,666.66 each.

Appointment to the Stephens County Historical Commission

Commissioners also approved the appointment of Jean Hayworth, Lisa Echols and Scott Harris to the Stephens County Historical Commission. They will represent Stephens County with the Texas Historical Commission.

Other Business

In other business, commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding for the Stephens County Humane Society and added A-1 Quality Plumbing to the pre-approved payment list. They also voted to allow exceptions to their required monthly safety meeting and maintenance day in case an emergency or weather requires them to perform road maintenance in their precinct on that day; they will then be required to hold the meeting on the following Monday.

Commissioners also chose to leave the county-wide burn off and took no action regarding burning in the county.

 

Story by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan 

Cutline, top photo: Stephens County Sheriff Will Holt addresses members of the Stephens County Commissioners Court during their regular meeting on Monday, April 22. Holt’s request for a pay raise for the jail administrator position was approved at the meeting. (Photo by Tony Pilkington/Breckenridge Texan) 

Editor’s note: This article was updated with corrected salary amounts for the jail administrator and jailers. Sheriff Will Holt provided corrected information via an email on Thursday evening.

 

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