ECTOR COUNTY, TX (KWES) - It was a tough choice to make at Tuesday night's public Ector County Commissioner's court meeting. County Judge Ron Eckert said the meeting was about getting the ship right. There were groans and one Ector County employee called the judge "short sighted" but the decision was made to suspend pay raises next year for county employees.
"It's one of those things where we are going to have to get our financial house in order because we don't' know how long this bust is going to last," said Judge Eckert.
The downturn in oil was one of the reason why Judge Eckert said changes to the budget were needed. Eckert explained in the current model new employees to the county could get raises in their first three years and now with it on hold some directors now have the tough task of expecting work from their employees.
Clarissa Webster, Ector County District Clerk said, "I know the judge mentioned in a downturn other companies do the same thing and they maybe even have to lay off employees. I think at that same time they are also reducing the amount of services they provide, the county's stepping up the amount of services they provide but they are not paying anymore to their employees."
Employees and the commissioners believed suspending the raises were tough but Judge Eckert says the changes to the budget will help Ector County in the future.
"I'm just happy that we were able to get through the budget process and I'm very pleased with the sacrifices, input, and hard-work our employees do for Ector County," said Eckert.
Judge Eckert says he proposed making cuts to employees' retirement plans before coming to this decision and added depending on what future budgets look like will decide when employees will get their raises back.