Judge Lina Hidalgo inquires over county toll road director's 38% pay hike: 'It's beyond perplexing'

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Friday, February 2, 2024
Hidalgo inquires over county toll road director's 38% pay hike
Judge Lina Hidalgo was left questioning why Harris Co. Toll Road Authority Director Roberto Trevino was given a nearly 40% raise.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- A major pay raise was approved for a county official in charge of the Houston tollways, which has Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo questioning the generosity of the Commissioner's Court.

According to officials, Roberto Treviño, the Harris County Toll Road Authority Director, had his salary increased to $485,000. That is reported to be a 38% pay raise.

Treviño's previous salary was totaled at $350,531. The new amount now makes him the highest-paid employee in the county.

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The court reportedly reclassified Treviño's position, which allowed for the raise.

Hidalgo, who presides over the court, was the only one who opposed the pay raise. Before the vote was handled, the judge raised her concerns about the raise and told her colleagues they should feel ashamed.

Hidalgo sent a statement that read in part:

"It is beyond perplexing, at best, to give any employee a 40% salary increase overnight without transparent decision-making or a justifiable reason. I'm not opposed to giving Director Treviño a raise if he deserves one and if we can afford it, but I am opposed to singling him out with puzzling urgency and with no regard for the salaries of the rest of the county's employees. This sets an unsustainable precedent for how we spend taxpayer dollars. I'm frustrated on behalf of hard-working and vital department heads and county employees not receiving a 40% raise, many of whom have brought large and tangible results to county residents. I'm also frustrated on behalf of taxpayers. There is a solution to this. I call for this increase to be rescinded or for Director Treviño to reject it out of respect for his colleagues. All county employees just received a 7% cost of living adjustment while an official compensation study is conducted, and I know the County Administrator is laser-focused on getting that done."

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Commissioner Adrian Garcia agreed with the raise, saying Treviño " is worth every penny."

Hidalgo wasn't alone in her opposition. Commissioner Rodney Ellis also vocalized that he disagreed with the raise and renewed his push for a pay equity study.