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Zapata County rescinds pay increase after public outrage

Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 9:53 AM CDT
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - Tensions were high over in Zapata County Friday morning.

Many residents showed up to the county courthouse to give commissioners a piece of their mind after their representatives agreed to salary increases despite the county’s one-million-dollar budget shortfall and the judge’s strong opposition.

Judge Joe Rathmell says, “During the budget hearing I told them it was irresponsible to be considering such raises when we are dealing with certainly difficult times in our community.”

The court’s decision even sparked a bipartisan petition that was signed by hundreds of people.

Several of them showed up in full force to voice their frustrations but before they could commissioners had a change of heart and decided to reject the increase.

Commissioner Solis along with the rest of the commissioners and a few elected officials agreed to deny the pay increase.

Which satisfied the public but many of them still wanted to know why they did it, including petitioner Jennifer Thatcher who asked each of them for a justification.

During the meeting, Solis said that the salary increase would be for the position and would benefit future commissioners in the long run at which point Thatcher recalled a point where Solis said he would run for free if the county didn’t have any money.

While residents left the county courthouse with the change they wanted, they warn that more changes could be on the horizon.

Thatcher says through the online petition they were also able to raise over $400 for their local food pantry.

Meanwhile, Webb County Commissioners also voted in favor of a nearly $16,000 pay raise for themselves.

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