Cost of a Constable

Cost of a Constable

WICHITA COUNTY, TX (KAUZ) - A Wichita County Constable is trying to get an increase in pay for the third time.

"This year I've decided that it's time to fight the good fight," Wichita County Precinct 2 Constable, Tom Black said.

Constable Black has filed a salary grievance with the county to have his pay raised from $12.71 an hour to $20.00 an hour. He's served as constable since 1989.

"The court spent a tremendous amount of time analyzing the volume of work that each person; not just constable, but deputy constables do, and the pay that they receive for the work that they do," Wichita County Precinct 4 Commissioner, Jeff Watts said.

According to the Texas Association of Counties, "constables are authorized peace officers and serve as the chief process server of the justice court. They have statewide jurisdiction to execute any criminal process, and countywide jurisdiction to execute any civil process. The constable may also execute process issued by some state agencies."

Commissioner Watts said deputy constable and constable salaries are based on services, specifically court papers they deliver in their respective counties. Last year Constable Black served 488 court papers while Chief Deputy Constable Christ Craig under Precinct 1 Constable Mark Brewer, served 1,089. But Constable Black and Precinct 2 Commissioner, Lee Harvey said the constable's job is much more that pushing papers.

"I am 100% in support for giving Tom Black an adequate raise," Commissioner Harvey said.

The average salary for a constable in the state of Texas is $41,000. Constable Black's salary is less than $26,000. If his request is honored by the Salary Grievance Committee his salary would be close to $40,000.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom said the process of choosing the salary grievance panel is in the works. It could be made of up to 7 county officials and at least 3 members of the public who have served on a grand jury. Judge Gossom, who is serving at the committee chairperson, will not have a vote.

If 6 or more of the 9 voting members vote in favor of the salary increase, Judge Gossom said a written recommendation by the committee would be presented at the next commissioners meeting. If 6 to 8 members vote in favor, the commissioners will hear their recommendation at the following commissioners meeting. If the vote is unanimous in favor of the salary increase, Judge Gossom said the Commissioners Court has to allow the committee's recommendation.

Samantha Forester, Newschannel 6