County Judge last public speech will be at Lincoln Society on Dec. 12 in #McKinneyTX

From Keith Self

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Attorney General case up for discussion at Commissioners Court

From Collin County Judge Keith Self: On Monday, the Commissioners Court will, for the first time, discuss in plenary session the invoices submitted by special prosecutors in the Attorney General case.

You may remember that we budgeted $100,000, three times the amount required in the rules written by the district judges for this type of reimbursement. The invoices submitted so far add up to $255,000, more than twice what we budgeted. And there is more to come. Much more.

The Commissioners Court will examine every option to protect our taxpayers.

The county administrator asked the district judges to come to Commissioners Court on Monday to help with the analysis of the invoices relative to the rules they promulgated. We will discuss the issue in executive session with our attorney, but any open discussion and possible votes will be held in public session.

We convene at 1:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 11, in the Jack Hatchell Administration Building, 2300 Bloomdale Rd. I suggest that you come early if you want a seat since this is certain to be a well-attended session.

I assure you that we will discuss the fees although they do not appear in the court packet online. All disbursements will be posted online after Commissioners Court approval.

More information about this situation can be found at the following links:

From the Dallas Morning News: http://bit.ly/1P0IQbr
From WFAA Channel 8: http://bit.ly/1kYuHDO

Collin County cleanup under way

From County Judge Keith Self:

Collin County will foot the bill for county residents hauling storm-related debris to the North Texas Municipal Water District landfill in Melissa.

County residents may bring debris from the Dec. 26 storm-related debris only to the Melissa landfill free of charge on the following days:

Thursday Dec. 31 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Friday Jan. 1 Landfill is Closed
Saturday Jan. 2 8 a.m.-3 p.m.
Monday-Friday Jan. 4-8 7 a.m.-5 p.m.
Saturday* Jan. 9 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday* Jan. 16 7 a.m.-3 p.m.
* Help will be available at the landfill to unload debris

Earlier today, the county announced that it had arranged for two free debris drop-off days at the landfill on consecutive Saturdays — Jan. 9 and 16. However, rather than make residents wait another week to clean up debris from last week’s storm, county officials made arrangements with the NTMWD to allow residents additional times to haul the refuse to the landfill over the coming week.

The county’s Public Works Department will have a representative at the landfill to verify residents and storm-related debris. A current drivers license or utility bill is required to prove residency. Except for Jan. 9 and 16’s Saturday drop-off days, residents will need to unload the debris on their own.

Residents driving pick-ups with trailers will be allowed in at no charge. However, the NTMWD has informed us that large flatbed trucks, box trucks, roll-off trucks, dump trucks and construction vehicles will be charged the normal rate for disposal.

County job openings

By Keith Self, County Judge

Collin County employs around 1700 people. We offer competitive salaries, out-of-this-world retirement benefits, and almost absolute job security as long as you perform your duties.

We have a merit pay system known as pay-for-performance. Since salaries are a major portion of our budget, I thought I would lay out some parameters of our salary structure as we move toward budget discussions.

The Collin County starting salary for entry-level positions is $12.54 per hour, which is 73 percent higher than the federal minimum wage. That’s our lowest starting hourly wage, not our average hourly wage.

$12.54 per hour is not only 73 percent above the federal minimum wage; it is also 4.5 percent above the average hourly wage in Texas. Did you catch that? Our lowest starting hourly wage is 4.5 percent above the average hourly wage in Texas; not the starting hourly wage in Texas, but average hourly wage in Texas, which is obviously dominated by the private sector.

Add another 14 percent of salary for retirement. The average private sector contribution to a 401k (when/if offered) is about 4 percent. The county contributes 14 percent.

And we pay about 84 percent of employee health care costs.

Like most government entities, our turnover rate is a fraction of the private sector.

Our elected officials, appointed officials, supervisors and employees provide the excellent level of service that our citizens expect in Collin County. These factors are why I get regular comments about how much folks prefer doing business in Collin County than other, unnamed counties in our vicinity.

I believe that our merit pay system could be reversed if we do not adequately and transparently articulate our total compensation plan. Trust me, the desire for automatic government pay raises is alive and well.

We take great pains to compare our salaries to “like” organizations. Where we can, we include private sector positions. Where we cannot, we compare only against public sector positions. And last year, we adjusted several positions where experience had gotten out of sync with comparable positions. We go to great lengths to make sure our work force is properly compensated.

Today, we have 39 open jobs posted. If you like what you read above and believe that one of the positions fits you, apply … http://www.co.collin.tx.us/human_resources/Pages/default.aspx

Water update

I was asked to include a report on the Lake Lavon water level. Frankly, there’s not much to report. The lake level has been right at 12 feet low since last September, and today is no different. We are just a smidgen above 12 feet low. We need rain badly before summer, even with the Lake Texoma pipeline coming online.

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