Sheriff's Office Unions fighting for cost of living pay raise

The Travis County Sheriff's Office Law Enforcement Association President, Mike Morton, said it's been six years since there has been a pay scale and cost of living adjustment. 

“I can guarantee in the last six years, their house payment alone rose by about $500 or $600,” said Morton.

The Travis County Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Association has hired a market analyst who said the office is paying sworn-in staff 13 percent less than what they should be making. 

“That's a $15 million package. We understand that's a lot of money for a county budget, but we do submit, what our salary survey came back as,” said Morton.

The topic came up during Tuesday’s commissioner court meeting, along with POPS, or (peace officer pays scale) positions, but there was no vote. Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez said compensation is important, but staffing needs, such as the need for more detectives, are also important at this time.

“Caseloads have increased and the amount of technology and everything that goes along with investigating crimes in Travis County has increased,” she said, emphasizing the need for more detectives. 

Both sides agree that staff should earn more, but they disagree on who should receive this compensation. 

Hernandez believes entry level and experienced staff should get the pay raise, while TCSLEA thinks the ones in the middle deserve that same treatment. Morton said that their job is to fight for a pay raise for their members. 

“There is a pot of money and it has to be spread out through compensation, the needs of the office, so they have to take all of that into consideration,” said Hernandez.

The conversation has started, but it may be a while before there is a final vote. Both sides are hoping to find middle ground.