Burnet County approved a longevity plan that rewards county employees for staying with their jobs. Licensed deputy sheriffs already on the payroll are grandfathered and can choose to stay in the old system, which phases out for everyone else Oct. 1. The action was taken at the Commissioners Court meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14.
At another meeting two weeks earlier, Sheriff Calvin Boyd argued that his deputies would receive less money in their paychecks if the new program was adopted. Burnet County Judge James Oakley and Human Resources Director Sara Ann Luther disagreed, both insisting that deputies’ paychecks will remain unchanged.
“No employee will make less under the new plan,” Luther confirmed to DailyTrib.com after the Tuesday meeting. “No one’s pay will decrease.”
Boyd was present at the meeting when the new plan was unanimously approved by commissioners but did not address the court again on the subject.
“They know how I felt,” he said. “I don’t have a vote. That’s why I didn’t say anything.”
The new program mirrors one used for state employees. The plan kicks in after an employee has been with the county two years as of Oct. 1, 2021. It’s based on months of service. If an employee has worked at least 24 months by Oct. 1, they will receive $20 per month, or $480, in one lump sum sometime in November. After three years, the lump sum is $720; after four, $960; and by the fifth year, it’s $1,200.
Licensed deputies already on the payroll receive $1,300 in longevity pay after one year of service as of Oct. 1, 2021. That amount is split up monthly, so each deputy receives an extra $50 per paycheck throughout the year.
“With this plan, it continues to go up after the fifth year through the 15th year,” Oakley said after the Aug. 24 meeting regarding deputy pay. Longevity pay would be more than $1,300 by the sixth year. To keep the old plan would be to lock it in at $1,300, he added.
“I think the longevity plan is a great deal for the county employees, I really do,” Boyd said. “I’m not against longevity. My complaint is that they called it a salary structure a couple of years ago. Now, it’s going to be longevity. They tell me I just don’t understand.”
Deputies can choose to go into the longevity system if they want.
“They are not required to be grandfathered,” Oakley said. “We are honoring what has been done in the past. Each time we do this, it is good for that fiscal year. One commissioners court cannot bind or dictate a future commissioners court to financial commitments except for debt. Each budget stands on its own merit.”
Boyd is currently looking for four new deputies. The money to hire them was approved in the county’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget. Newly hired licensed deputies will be part of the new state longevity program, which takes effect after two years of service and is paid in one lump sump annually.