A Better East Texas: Smith County Commissioners Pay - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

A Better East Texas: Smith County Commissioners Pay


I received a lot of emails a few months ago when I went on the air and politely - okay, STRONGLY - urged Smith County Commissioners to "Give the money back!".

It was in response to the enormous pay raises they voted themselves. Not a great idea right before a bond election for the new Smith County jail. Since then, we've had some interesting developments.

The proposal for the new jail, of course, failed in November. Most will agree it had more to do with Smith County voters losing confidence in their commissioners than in the proposal itself. Now, most of the county commissioners have given some of the money back.

Just to be clear, Judge Baker and commissioners McGinnis and Van Ness have announced they will reject their second and third-year pay raises. Commissioner Flemming, never accepted the raise in the first place. But the remaining commissioner, Joann Hampton, has decided to keep hers - all three years of the 30% increase.

Now, Mrs. Hampton may have personal reasons for her decision to keep the entire amount. But she, as the rest of the court has learned, should realize that the court's actions make a big impact on Smith County voters, whether it's a bond issue or re-election time.

Thank you, commissioners court for taking steps to eliminate this distraction, allowing you to get back to the real task at hand: addressing county needs and making this A Better East Texas.

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