Tension at the Wichita County Courthouse

A dilemma about pay raises at the Wichita County Courthouse continues.

All of the employees are back to work as usual in the District Clerk's office, but there is still quite a bit of tension.  Patti Flores, the District Clerk for Wichita County said her employees deserve a four-percent pay raise.

However, Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom explained the majority of the staff members already received a raise this year.  This was done at the beginning of the year when the money from a vacant position was redistributed among the employees.

"The court agreed and said the effective date would be March 1st," he said.

Still, Flores explained she will not give up on getting the employees within the District Clerk's Office a pay raise.

"I told my girls I would try," she said, "I would take on this one battle, but I just don't know what to do, or where we can go from her."

Then, during budget discussions county commissioners decided to not give raises to anyone who had already received one, which eliminated the District Clerk's Office.  However, some exceptions were made, which raised concerns for Flores.

"Yes, my people did get a raise, but other people did too, and you're still giving them raises," she said.

The most recent exception was the County Clerks Office.  However, Judge Gossom explained there was a reason for giving the assistant the pay increase in that particular office.

"Mitzi came down and was just beside her saying you know, I'm at a point.  I can't train a whole new staff again.  I just soon retire if you don't help me keep her," Judge Gossom said.

Still, Judge Gossom tried to compromise in regards to the District Clerk's Office.  He explained he tried to get the commissioners to consider a two-percent increase.

"He approached me with that and I thought anything is better than nothing," Flores said.

However, the county commissioners turned it down.  Still, Flores continues making the request.  She has requested several times to be put on the Wichita County Commissioners Agenda, but it gets denied.

"They felt she had been answered and had her day in court and they were not going to consider it again at this time," Judge Gossom said.

Regardless of the commissioner's decision, Flores said she will try one more time.  However, she said she is sure she will be rejected again.

"I applaud her for doing that, but on the other hand, sometimes you get what you want and sometimes you don't," Judge Gossom said.

He said they should just wait until the 2017 budget comes around.  By that time, the commissioners will reconsider her request.

"They've kept telling me, wait until 2017," Flores said, "Well, I've been her 32 years.  Are we going to get raises next year?  I don't think so."

Alexandra McClung, Newschannel 6