The executive pay issue has arisen at agencies that include the Texas Department of Transportation, Employees Retirement System, Department of Public Safety and Texas Juvenile Justice Department. At those agencies, executive directors and some members of upper management teams are making six-figure salaries well in excess of the governor’s pay: $150,000 a year.Grits considers it bad form to count other people's money so I wouldn't join those "Prison employees [who] complain those pay hikes are too generous." But internally, the raises undoubtedly suffer from bad optics during a period when thousands of guard positions go unfilled thanks to low pay, grueling summer heat, and rural prisons located far outside Texas' main population centers. "Told of the executive raises, several corrections officers responded with expletives. None wanted to be quoted, citing a fear of job reprisals," Ward reported.
The prison-system raises ranged from a $66,000 increase for Dr. Lanette Linthicum, the medical director who went from $309,000 to $375,000; a $22,000 per-year increase for Carey Welebob, director of the Community Justice Assistance Division who went from $94,120 to $116,150; to a $16,600 increase for Deputy Executive Director Bryan Collier and Chief Financial Officer Jerry McGinty, who both went from $133,301 to $150,000.
Several other top officials received pay bumps of more than 12 percent, including Inspector General Bruce Toney, General Counsel Sharon Howell, Parole Director Stuart Jenkins, Facilities Director Frank Inmon and Chief of Staff Jeff Baldwin.
By contrast, the more than 23,000 correctional officers who make $37,000 or less got a 5 percent bump in pay.
Perhaps it's true, as TDCJ insists, the raises were "necessary to retain top talent." But there's little doubt that low pay and poor morale have lately worsened retention rates for front-line correctional officers. Arguably that's a bigger problem for the agency than the risk that Brad Livingston or Sharon Howell might leave for higher paying gigs elsewhere in Huntsville.