Dallas County workers ask commissioners for pay raise

Dallas County workers urged county commissioners to approve a pay raise for employees on Tuesday.

The number of Dallas County workers -- including sheriff's deputies, health and social service workers, courts and courtroom personnel -- has been shrinking.

"We are having a problem, a big time problem getting young people into the sheriff's department,” said Lt. Sefton Burke, who has worked at the Dallas Co. Sheriff's Department for more than two decades. “We're not paying people enough to be attracted to the department at all."

The issue was discussed during a public hearing at commissioner’s court and brought out dozens of uniformed sheriff's department employees.

The county's own private study recently determined most Dallas County workers earn from 15 to 30 percent below market for what they would make doing the same job for a private company.

Judge Tammy Kemp appealed on behalf of non-elected court workers.

"I wholly support all that you've done being fiscally conservative, but at the end of the day we need to treat people fairly,” Judge Kemp said.

Officials said new revenue available for salaries depends on the property tax rate commissioners approve.

"We've got some good employees, I've got to be concerned about them, make sure they get a raise,” said County Judge Clay Jenkins. “I've also got to be concerned about the 2.6 million people who live here in Dallas County. All but 20,000 of them are not in families of these county employees. It's a balancing act."