Commissioners To Review New Position, Raise For Budget Office - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/12/04-Smith County

Commissioners To Review New Position, Raise For Budget Office

It's been 40 days since a new budget was unanimously approved in Smith County, now one County Commissioner already wants to make changes.

On the agenda for Monday's meeting are two items proposed by Precinct 1 Commissioner Sharon Emmert.

One would add a new position to the County's Budget Office, the other additional money to the budget officers salary. And they come at a cost.

Currently Budget Officer Jeff Clark earns $60,000 a year. Commissioner Emmert wants to increase that by $15,000 a year, under the Title of IT Director, bringing his salary to an even $75,000. She also wants to add a Budget Analyst position within Clark's office at an annual cost of just under $31,000. It's money some say the county can't afford.

"I think it's ridiculous that you ask your County departments to cut their operating expenses by 5 % to maintain the employees they have, and now that they have passed a unanimous budget they want to come back now and give more money to somebody that has been here for 5 months," said Employee Association President Russell Buffington.

Buffington and Commissioner Hampton say approving this money at this time, sets a bad example.

"We're asking others to do it but we're not leading and we've got to take a leadership role and in order to do that we've got to take things out of our budget and not add to the budget," said Hampton.

"We are 40 days into a new budget and they are wanting to come back and add money to a budget that was cut and cut and cut and add more layers of government.. this is the epitome of adding layers at the top," said Buffington.

Phone calls to Commissioner Sharon Emmert were not returned Friday. The next time this issue is expected to be addressed is in the regular meeting of the Commissioners Court scheduled for Monday.

KLTV spoke with Jeff Clark, Friday. He says, while he has taken on additional duties, he has never asked for more money. He also says with or without the raise, he will continue to perform those duties.

Chris Gibson, reporting

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