Before Comal County Commissioners heard from department heads whose requests totaled nearly $112 million in the county’s 2020 budget, they received details on a revised pay scale for county employees on Thursday.

Jerri Hettinger, human resources director, and Jessie Rahe, county auditor, presented a revised pay scale and step level chart covering employees in three classifications – non-exempt, exempt and law enforcement – which have not had a major pay equity revision since 2007.

“One of the things we talk of quite a bit is being competitive with other employers,” County Judge Sherman Krause said. “We must offer salary and benefit packages to either attract people here or to keep people here.”

“We don’t want to train people to do certain jobs and then see them go elsewhere for more money. We know we can’t compete just on salary alone, but we can on the basis of salary and benefits.” 

To that end, Hettinger said in October 2018, the county launched a salary scale market analysis of pay scales and classifications, retention and longevity rates, position functions, opportunities for advancement and more for 18 county departments. 

Comal pay scales were compared to those in Hays, Travis, Bexar and Midland counties, and the city of San Antonio. Other factors also led into the proposal commissioners will consider as part of the 2020 budget.

Most employees will receive scale pay hikes ranging between 2% and 4% effective Jan. 1, 2020, in addition to cost-of-living adjustments approved by commissioners. Adjustments included tweaks to step scales in the classifications. 

New hires after Jan. 1 will receive increases on the two-year anniversary of their hiring dates. Adjustments included tweaks to step scales in the classifications. Some positions won’t immediately receive increases due to pay grade reclassifications; others will be adjusted for COLA increases, with merit pay raises gauged and granted on a case basis.

Officials project the changes will total $4.7 million in the 2020 budget, with 34 additional hires and reclassifications totaling another $2.2 million. 

There are many more details in the proposal, which cuts back on steps in some classifications and sets limits and conditions in others. Hettinger said the proposed changes will be decided by commissioners before they finalize the budget next month. 

“The costs aren’t cheap, but we’re a county family and our county employees are our greatest asset, so we’re going to make sure we take care of them,” Krause said. 

All commissioners agreed. 

“We’re going in the right direction with this,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Scott Haag said. 

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