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County rejects Sheriff’s assistant salary increase, look to reconsider county-wide pay-rates

June 15th, 2017 under Top Stories

By NICK WINCHESTER

nick@bigbendnow.com

MARFA — A county-wide review of the hourly pay rate for assistants employed in the county is needed, commissioners agreed during Presidio commissioners court Tuesday. The court also rejected Sheriff Danny Dominguez’s request to increase the salary for the currently vacant assistant’s salary up to $16.

Sheriff Dominguez stood before the court to request that the salary PCSO assistant position be raised from its current rate of $12.45 and hour to $16. Judge Guevara and commissioners voted not to raise the rate to $16, but agreed 3-2 to allow the Sheriff to pay his new assistant up to $14. Commissioner Loretto Vasquez and Commissioner Brenda Silva Bentley voted against the motion.

Sheriff Dominguez told commissioners that he wanted to raise the pay for his assistant so that a good candidate would be attracted to the currently vacant position. Dominguez added that his assistant deserved the extra money because they do work across many county departments, as well as for the jail.

The PCSO assistant’s long list of duties includes anything from processing open records requests, updating Facebook/Twitter, maintaining their website, to refilling the Coke machine, filling in time sheets, and picking up and sorting the mail on a daily basis.

Judge Guevara reiterated this, stating that the previous PCSO assistant was a huge asset to the county.

Commissioners were handed a document with a breakdown of each county employee’s hourly pay rate. The rates of pay for the 18 county employees paid by the hour ranged from a low of $8.45 for JP 2 Bishop’s assistant, to $20.66 for the county jail records manager. The average rate of pay is $13.76.

Commissioners agreed that the hourly rates lack consistency based on the individual employees’ duties and length of service.

Commissioner Lorenzo Hernandez expressed concern that if they accept the Sheriff’s request, everyone else will begin to ask for a $3 dollar raise. Hernandez pointed to County Treasurer Frances Garcia, whose request for an increase to her assistant’s salary was rejected by the court.

Judge Guevara asked the David Beebe who was present how much he earned in his position as Presidio County Justice of the Peace (JP 1). Beebe responded that it worked out to $31,000. “We can’t pay the Sheriff’s assistant more than the JP,” Judge Guevara said.

Earlier in the meeting, during the approval of County Auditor Patty Roach’s report, Roach outlined the need for a salary survey across all county departments. There is a need to review the salaries and hourly rates that county employees earn, and the workload and work environments of the employees must be taken into account, Roach told commissioners.

In the county, department heads and elected officials are on yearly salary, while employees, which includes assistants, are on an hourly rate.

The county could undertake a salary survey by comparing rates of pay to neighboring counties, or looking within Presidio County, depending on the position, Roach told the court. She added that it would take a month or two, depending on who undertook the work, be it internal or an outside firm.

Commissioner Vasquez was firm on only increasing the Sheriff’s assistant rate of pay by one dollar, to $13.45. Commissioner Hernandez said he’d be happy with $14, while Commissioner Eloy Aranda said $13.50 was a suitable amount.

Commissioner Hernandez put forward the motion to only increase the PCSO assistant’s hourly pay rate to $14. Commissioner Aranda seconded the motion. Because Vasquez and Bentley voted against the decision, Judge Guevara voted in favor on the deciding vote.

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