Committee to meet on JP salaries

BROWNSVILLE — After a small meeting between County Judge Pete Sepulveda Jr. and Justice of the Peace Pct. 2-2 Jonathan Gracia, it has been decided that each JP will still have to approach the salary grievance committee individually, Sepulveda said.

Gracia will still be allowed to make remarks on behalf of all nine JPs that have requested raises ranging from $10,000 to $12,828.

It is unclear whether the committee will decide to grant or deny the requests collectively.

Salary grievance committees are established when an elected official plans to grieve his or her salary seeking additional pay. The committee is made up of a pool of grand jury members.

Gracia said the JPs decided to do this after the county broke a promise to raise their staff’s salaries by 10 percent.

They gave up the salary increases the commissioner’s court proposed for them last year and their staff’s ability to travel in order to achieve the 10 percent raise.When the checks came in, the JPs saw that their staffs only received half of what was promised.

“All of us were disappointed, and that’s why we’re going forward,” Gracia said.

The JPs currently make about $47,172. In comparison to other counties in Texas with a population of 100,000 or more, they are on the low end. Neighboring Hidalgo County JPs earn $82,400, according to the Texas Association of Counties 2016 Salary Survey.

Sepulveda will preside over the committee but is not a voting member. He will be there to explain the process and why the committee is meeting.

If the committee votes unanimously in favor of the raises, it is automatic and bypasses the county commissioner’s court. If even one member votes against the increases, it goes to the commissioners court for a final decision.

The meeting is at 6 p.m. today in the Dancy Building on 1100 E. Madison St.