It took a year, but county JPs finally get their raise

County justice of the peace judges took to a greivence committee Friday to ask for a 15% raise be added to the 2020 county budget. After some diliberation, they settled for a 10% raise and left pleased. Shown from left, front row, are JP Pct. 1 Yolanda Guerrero, JP Pct. 2 Daniel Garza and JP Pct. 6 Karen Diaz; back row, JP Pct. 5 Nere Villarreal, JP Pct. 6 Susan Price and JP Pct. 8 Elvia Hernandez.

SINTON – Last year, county justice of the peace judges appeared before a grievance committee to ask for a 15% raise, currently not included in the 2020 budget.

Last year, Justice of the Peace Pct. 5 Nere Villarreal also appeared at the grievance committee asking the same. Due to a mix-up in notifying her and the other county judges, she was the only one allowed to appear at the grievance hearing to ask for a raise.

Last year didn’t go so well for the judges, to say the least.

This year the county JPs were able to come together and ask, collectively, for a 15% raise, but were quickly shot down after appealing to the grievance board.

It was when County Treasurer Denise Janak asked them to consider a 10% raise instead of 15% that things took a turn for the better.

“I  think what makes us feel the best is that the public members (of the grievance committee) are the ones that got it,” Justice of the Peace Pct. 6 Susan Price said.

“And they were appalled at the salary we make, and they made it be known.

“One of them even made a motion that we be paid the same as all the other elected officials. He said I don’t understand why their job is so underpaid in this county.

“So that’s someone coming from the outside looking in.

“So for the public in both hearings – last year, and this year – the three public people last year and the two public people this year both 100% supported our salary increase.”

JP Villarreal added that along with treasurer Janek’s support, Sheriff Oscar Rivera was another strong supporter.

“The sheriff said he didn’t realize we were getting paid less than his sergeants were getting paid,” Villarreal said.

After a seven-to-one vote, the grievance committee agreed to give the county JPs their 10% raise.

County commissioners then made it official on Monday during commissioners court voting to give the JPs their raise.

“We all stood together as a team, and we’re glad this turned out the way it did,” JP Pct. 8 Elvia L. Hernandez added.

“It was absolutely overwhelming.”