San Benito judges receive pay raises

SAN BENITO — Municipal court judges here will soon be seeing extra money in their paychecks.

The City Commission has approved a $500-a-month salary increase for Municipal Court Judges Benjamin M. Yudesis and David Garza.

That’s $6,000 more a year.

Repeated requests to the city secretary for information on the judges’ current salaries went unanswered.

The increase comes after six years of being overlooked, according to Commissioners Joe D. Gonzalez and Rene Villafranco.

Together, they thought it was time the judges receive a raise, so they brought it up to the City Commission and were successful.

“I thought they were being included all these years along with other staff for raises, but they weren’t,” Gonzalez said. “We have two excellent judges who have a tremendous responsibility that we have bestowed upon them.”

Other commissioners were quick to agree.

“It’s well deserved,” said Commissioner Esteban Rodriguez.

Municipal Court is the judicial branch of city government and is responsible for handling all violations of city ordinances, traffic laws and Class C misdemeanors within city limits.

These violations are referred to Municipal Court by the San Benito Police Department, Fire Department, Code Enforcement and Animal Control.

It is staffed by a licensed attorney and a justice of the peace who serve as judges to hear arraignments and conduct court sessions.

A court administrator, two court clerks and a bailiff staff this department.

It is the court’s goal to continue to handle requests for trials in a timely manner and to maintain ongoing training for the municipal court judges and staff to ensure that decisions are based on an understanding of current law and court procedures.

Court officials say they further intend to improve electronic technology for Municipal Court recordkeeping and to develop and improve procedures to collect past-due payments for fines and fees.