Friday, October 14, 2011

Judicial Compensation

The reporting on the Texas Department of Transportation's new director's compensation prompts me to point out the stunning disparity between the numbers under discussion there and the compensation we pay to judges in particular (not to mention other public servants such as yours truly), and the Chief Justice in particular.  The prior director of TxDOT (an engineer) received $192,500 per year and the TxDOT board wants to pay the new gentleman (an MBA) $381,000, but according to today's Statesman, he will have to settle for only $292,500.  I hope that he will feel better knowing that the latter at least puts him one step closer to the top of the comparables list that the Judicial Compensation Commission published (based on the General Appropriations Act) as Table 10 in their most recent (2010) report, which has these figures for "Salaries of State Constitutional, Elected and Other High-Ranking Executive Office Holders":
Executive Director: Employees Retirement System $300,000

Executive Commissioner: Health and Human Services $210,000
Executive Director: Department of Transportation $192,500
Commissioner: Texas Education Agency $186,300
Executive Director: Department of Criminal Justice $186,300
Commissioner: Department of State Health Services $183,750
Executive Director: Department of Information Resources $175,000
Executive Director: Department of Public Safety $162,000
Executive Director: Texas Youth Commission $160,000
Comptroller of Public Accounts $150,000
Attorney General $150,000
Governor $150,000
Executive Director: Commission on Environmental Quality $145,200
Agriculture Commissioner $137,500
Commissioner of the General Land Office $137,500
Railroad Commissioner $137,500
Secretary of State $125,880

Average $169,966
Median $169,000
The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, and the Presiding Judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, are paid $152,500.  (The Commission's report recommended increasing that amount to $168,000 but of course there was no serious talk of judicial pay raises during the last session.)  Other Texas judges' salaries go down from there, except for some county court at law judges whose locally-supplemented pay puts them above their arguably higher-ranked district and appellate brethren. 

And for the record, after 26 years of state service as a lawyer, general counsel and now agency director, I make $130,000 and feel privileged to make that kind of money in this economy, get to do what I do, and work for Chief Justice Jefferson.

1 comment:

  1. Carl, you deserve a raise for writing your blog. Alex Bunin