Tarrant County commissioners approve salary increases for next budget
Like most employers, Tarrant County lost significant numbers of employees during the pandemic.
Between March 2020 and mid-June 2022, 1,625 employees resigned, retired or were fired from the county government. Pay increases now are one way Anjanie Ramnarine, assistant director of human resources at the county, says her department is working to keep employees.
Tarrant County commissioners approved salary increases and merit raises for elected officials and county employees at a meeting Aug. 1. Commissioners Roy Brooks and Alisa Simmons were absent.
Elected officials will receive a 3% raise under the new compensation plan.
Tarrant County Judge Tim O’Hare would make about $218,252; his current salary is $211,895.
The four commissioners would each make $207,952, an increase of $6,057 from their current salary of $201,895.
Sheriff Bill Waybourn would make $218,252, up from $211,895.
Tarrant County seeks to provide any bit of relief possible during rising inflation and economic pressures, Commissioner Manny Ramirez said. The county has fewer employees per capita than any other large county in Texas, he said.
Tarrant County has about 4,700 employees serving 2.1 million residents, Ramirez said. Dallas County has about 6,500 employees working for 2.6 million residents, and Bexar County has about 5,000 employees for about 2 million residents.
“If we’re continually asking our employees to do more, we’ve got to do everything in our power to make sure that we compensate them accordingly for the great work they do for our citizens,” Ramirez said.
The plan for raises could be changed when commissioners consider the final budget for 2024, but that typically doesn’t happen, Ramnarine said.
Although the county’s retention rate has remained steady over the last two years, Ramnarine said she can’t attest to what part of that is due to compensation versus other factors.
Ramirez said the recommended salaries should remain the same so long as it fits within the 2024 budget and does not require an increase in property taxes for existing homeowners.
The human resources department made salary increase suggestions based on specific issues relevant to each group of staff, generally related to recruitment and retention of staff, Ramnarine said.
County employees won’t see a set blanket increase. Instead, those with salaries below the new hire-in rates would be eligible to receive an increase to that rate, according to the public documents. Hire-in rates vary from position to position.
County employees whose job duties have changed enough to qualify for a new salary grade could receive a 5% increase or an increase to the hire-in rate, whichever is higher.
Some county employees may also receive up to 6% merit raises.
The range of merit raises, which goes from zero to 6%, is determined by departments based on various factors, including performance, education, experience and certifications, Ramnarine said.
Tarrant County operates a lean machine where every employee is critical to services and operations provided to residents, such as county employees who maintain facilities, roads and bridges and nurses, Ramirez said.
“We adopted those recommendations because those critical positions are the ones that truly are where the rubber meets the road for our citizens,” he said.
Each year, the Commissioners Court sets the salary, expenses and allowances of elected county officials, precinct officers and employees, according to government code.
The majority of salary increases would take effect Oct. 1, the start of the county government’s fiscal year. Merit raises would begin Jan. 1, 2024.
Dang Le is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.