Meeting the price point of neighboring entities is leading Hays County constables to request a roughly $26,000 pay raise.
John Ellen, Hays County Pct. 5 Constable, said all constables in Hays County currently earn $67,762 a year. Under their proposed increase, each of the five Hays County constables would get a raise of $26,062, bringing each person’s salary to $93,824.
For all five constables to receive the raise, Hays County would expend an additional $100,310 annually, starting in the fiscal year 2019 budget, which the county is in the process of balancing.
“It’s a sizeable jump,” Ellen said. “But it’s really playing catch up, is what it is.”
Constables in Hays County earn significantly less than those in neighboring counties. In FY 2018, Travis County constables made $103,447, while Bexar County constables made $93,767. Williamson County constables had a $80,772 salary. This year, all five constables agreed to get together and ask for a raise.
During salary negotiations, the county looks at eight specific Texas counties to compare salaries to and aim to be in the middle in terms of wages, Ellen said.
But when it comes to what constables make, Hays County ranks second to last, just above Comal County, where constables make $54,817 a year. Ellen said the increase would help level out the pay that constables in comparable counties receive.
“It’s something that hopefully we would have been on top as the market changed,” he said.
As Hays County’s population has increased, so have constables’ duties. Their roles and duties vary across the state, but in Hays County, the constables’ offices work civil and court security, as well as monitor traffic, work accidents and conduct patrol work.
“We do everything the police department and sheriff’s office does, just on a smaller scale,” Ellen said.
The constables’ budget request did not make it into the first draft of the new county budget, Ellen said, but they will try again. If it is not accepted a second time, the constables plan to follow a grievance process.
“It has nothing to do with increase we’re asking for, but all five of your constables are very, very committed to the community and what they do,” Ellen said. “They are hardworking and dedicated, as are their deputies, and serve the community best they can.”
The second draft of the budget is expected to be presented at commissioners court this month.