- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
By CHARLES RICHARDS
County Court-at-Law Judge Bill Harris said Tuesday he strongly disagrees with the decision Monday by the Lamar County Commissioners Court to give elected officials a raise and will refuse to accept the increase.
“I am in Washington, D.C., and just learned of the commissioners‘ court,” Harris said in an e-mail message Tuesday night.
Had he known the matter was coming before the court, Harris said, “I would have appeared in person and opposed the increase, just as I did last year.”
“Rank-and-file non-elected employees are not only being stripped of some benefits, but are also not receiving a similar pay increase,” Harris said.
“I stand opposed to any salary increase for myself or any other elected official. I will refuse to accept any pay increase this year,” Harris said.
The pay for elected county officials was raised by $100 a month on a 3-2 vote, with Precinct 1 commissioner Lawrence Malone, Precinct 2 commissioner Lonnie Layton and Precinct 3 commissioner Kevin Jenkins voting for, and Precinct 4 commissioner Keith Mitchell and county judge Chuck Superville voting against.
That vote came after Mitchell made a motion to keep the salary and allowances for elected officials unchanged from last year and got a second from Superville. They voted for it, but Malone, Layton and Jenkins voted against it.
Harris expressed frustration that for the second time in as many years, he was not contacted about raises for elected officials being considered by the court.
“Considering the continued hardships imposed on Lamar County by a soft economy and shrinking tax base, now is not the time for pay raises for elected officials,” Harris said.
“There remains opportunities to cut spending at the county. We also need to ‘stabilize’ benefits for the non-elected ‘regular’ employees, many of whom tolerate the relatively low salaries paid by Lamar County in return for retirement and health care,” he added.
Then and only then, he said, should county officials consider pay increases for themselves.
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