It has always been important to Judge Pulido to have both a fair and effective pay scale for County employees that paid fair wages and that was also standardized and uniform. By September 1999, the County was able to begin the two year process of implementing a ‘living wage’ that kept County Employees in alignment with the Federal minimum wage.
Pay increases began in Jan 2000 to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 an hour to $6.75 an hour.
By April of 2001, the county moved to implement a ‘pay scale system that would standardize pay rates for all county employees based on education and seniority. This is the first time the county has tried to convert to a uniform job classification method.’
Implementing this step and grade pay system for County Employees was important to Judge Pulido, but it was also important to do so in way that used sound financial planning. Pulido restricted action on agenda items that included pay increases and new positions, with a goal of reducing budget amendments for pay raises from the General Fund in efforts to keep a sound general fund balance.
The result was that the county received a favorable “A” credit rating that ‘reflected the county’s improving financial position, moderated debt burden and strong tax base growth.”
Implementing a uniform County wide pay scale that was fiscally sound took leadership and commitment. In June of 2001, the Board of Judges voted to exclude themselves and their staffs from the County Pay Scale Policy. Though the intent of the policy was to create equity in pay among county employees, the Board of Judges contented that the their staffs were ‘at will’ employees and thus, a County uniform pay scale would start to create contractual obligations. Pulido agreed that judicial courts could operate independently, but remained insistent that they had to operate within their budget, which had to be approved by the Commissioner’s Court.