GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) — Corrections officers in Williamson County are pushing for a large pay increase in order to be on par with other corrections officers in the area.
“Morale is low you can ask anybody in this room,” said one corrections officer.
Seven speakers addressed the Williamson County Commissioner’s Court Tuesday morning, asking for higher pay.
“Why would somebody come to work here when they could make more money at Taco Bell?” said Noel Johnson with the Texas Municipal Police Association.
Even though there is an automatic two percent increase in pay every year, the union representing the officers are asking for a 10 percent increase to the base pay. On Tuesday, the Williamson County Commissioners Court said while it is open to discussion, the budget is currently allotted for a 2-3 percent increase for base salaries, which start at $32,775.
“It doesn’t cover the cost of living increase specifically in Williamson County,” says Tony English, secretary for the Williamson County Deputies Association.
The Williamson County Corrections Bureau says they are having a hard time keeping officers because they are losing them to other locations that offer a larger salary. A 10 to 11 percent raise would align with the rising cost of living in the area, according to the officers. The last adjustment to the living wages scale was made in 2008.
However, County Judge Dan Gattis says they don’t need a 10 percent increase to be competitive.
“If it took 10 percent to get there, I wouldn’t be opposed, 10 percent doesn’t scare me,” says Gattis. “But I do not think that’s a realistic figure of how far behind we are with what we need to do.”
County commissioners still have three weeks to decide how much they’re willing to give corrections officers. The commissioner’s court accepted the pay recommendation for corrections officers from Human Resources Tuesday, but they’ll take a final vote on the budget Aug. 30.
To compare the starting salary of Williamson County corrections officers to other counties in Central Texas, Travis County corrections officers make $38,920. Bastrop County starts at $35,610 and Burnet County gives starting corrections officers $34,320.
However, Williamson County corrections officers make more than those in Hays County, which make $31,333 and Bexar, which start at $31,308.