When Gov. Rick Perry made Steve McCraw the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety in 2009, only a dozen DPS employees earned $100,000 a year or more at the notoriously tight-fisted agency.Under the new management pay scheme, though:
[As of 2012, there were] 73, reflecting an enormous growth in DPS management positions and pay since McCraw, an ex-FBI agent who formerly led the governor’s Homeland Security office, took charge of the department in August 2009.
McCraw will now be paid $214,672 annually, up from $183,498. Two deputy directors, David Baker and Robert Bodisch, saw their yearly base pay rise from $176,460 to $206,458.By contrast, reported the News, "Earlier this year, the Legislature granted many state employees a raise of 2.5 percent to offset increased contributions by workers to their pension fund." So most state employees at best broke even, while DPS managers were rewarded as though they hadn't been responsible for the ignominious failed border surge which has made the rest of the state measurably less safe.
Figures released by DPS this month show that 15 assistant directors will now be paid $193,330 a year. Seven regional commanders will receive an increase to $176,026. Also, 32 deputy assistant directors will see their annual salaries rise to $161,109.
There was no looming threat that these managers were going to leave state employment if they weren't compensated in such an over-the-top fashion. It's not like the free market is offering comparable pay for police administrators. And it begs credulity to imagine these raises were based on pay-for-performance: There's no way managerial productivity gains matched these pay hikes.
A cynic might suggest the state is throwing good money after bad, rewarding folks for going along to get along as first Rick Perry and now the Legislature politicized the agency and its mission. That probably overstates things, just as does the agency's claim that the raises are all merit based. The truth likely lies somewhere in between, though perhaps a bit closer to the cynics' camp than to those justifying the raises.