With COVID-19 having impacted many people financially, the Commissioners Court this week scrapped plans to give themselves and all other county elected officials a 3% pay raise for the upcoming fiscal year.
It will be the second consecutive fiscal year in which county elected officials have not received a pay increase.
County Judge Ron Massingill said that elected officials not receiving pay increases would “set the tone.” He seemed to indicate that it would be an acknowledgement of the financial struggles of many taxpayers.
“We’ve all been through a hardship… We’ve all had to tighten our belt here,” the judge stated.
County Auditor Becky Kidd said that she would adjust the 2021-2022 Fiscal Year budget to reflect the court’s wishes.
County court-at-law judge Vincent Messina is the highest paid county elected official. He earns $168,648, plus an $18,000 stipend for serving on the Hood County Juvenile Board and $8,400 in longevity pay. He has been on the bench for 20 years.
The district judge, who also serves on the juvenile board, receives the same stipend from the county but the base salary for that position is paid by the state. Bryan Bufkin was recently appointed to the district judge post to serve out the remaining term of Ralph Walton, who retired due to health issues.
The next highest paid county elected official is the district attorney, a position currently held by Ryan Sinclair. His annual pay is $148,470, plus $600 in incentive pay.
Next in the pay hierarchy is Sheriff Roger Deeds, who is paid $97,875 per year.
Massingill is paid $90,145 annually, but also receives a state stipend of $25,200 and a county stipend of $18,000 for serving on the Hood County Juvenile Board.
Each of the four county commissioners (Kevin Andrews of Precinct 1, Ron Cotton of Precinct 2, Jack Wilson of Precinct 3, and Dave Eagle of Precinct 4) earns $77,340 per year.
Tax Assessor-Collector Andrea Ferguson is paid $74,700, plus $601 in incentive pay.
The county treasurer, district clerk, county clerk, all four peace justices and all four constables earn $73,240 per year.
The new fiscal year will kick off Oct. 1.