WICHITA FALLS, TX - The issue of pay raises at the Wichita County District Clerk's Office continues and employees aren't backing down.
Chief Deputy District Clerk Nikki Tepfer, along with other district clerk employees, sent a formal grievance to Wichita Falls City Commissioners last month. It raises questions as to why they weren't given a four percent raise. They received a one sentence response from the human resources director stating no further action would be taken in the matter. Employees say they're not giving up just yet.
"They don't understand why they're being excluded," said District Clerk Patti Flores. "They think they're being discriminated against."
Flores says nine members of her staff are being cut out of a four percent pay raise that almost all other county employees are receiving
"I've asked for it three times to be put on the agenda, why won't you at least hear us out?" Flores said. "That's been my question the whole time."
Judge Woody Gossom believes he has heard their grievances.
"Her people, in that office, all received significant raises earlier in the year," Gossom said. "Patti wanted those done then, she didn't want to wait until the end of the year and was told in court that unless there was greater raises given, then they would have to live with what they had gained in 2015."
According to Gossom, some of the raises given to the Wichita Falls District Clerk's Office earlier this year were more than four percent. He says some were as high as 10 percent.
While that may be true, Tepfer says their exclusion from this specific pay raise is unfair.
"We received a letter a response from the Wichita County Grievance Committee that they are not going to take any action," Tepfer said. "It's frustrating. A lot of the employees who are not getting the raises have been here 10 years and longer. We have worked hard for Wichita County and we would like to be shown that we are appreciated just like everyone else is."
Earlier this week, Tepfer went before the Wichita County Commissioners to lay out her distaste with the pay raise snub. Judge Gossom responded saying it wasn't on the agenda so there would be no rebuttal from the commissioners.
"It's been heard," Gossom said. "It's been run to the county grievance committee. They unanimously said they did not find they had an action that merited any more discussion.
"A lot of people have families and are trying to raise children and with the cost of everything going up every year, to get an extra boost would really help out anyone in here," Tepfer said.
Gossom did try and compromise with Flores in regards to the district clerk's office. He says he tried to get the commissioners to consider a two percent increase instead of the four percent, however the commissioners turned it down.
Gossom says they've still got a lot of work to do on their pay raise system and he's working on a formula with the court to have more uniformity of salary among the different offices. Meanwhile, officials at the district clerk's office they are going to keep pushing for those pay raises and they will see where it goes from there.