Executives Have Received Big Pay Raises at Social Services Agency That's Under Fire

AUSTIN — Under Gov. Greg Abbott, more and more top officials at Texas' social services superagency command big salaries.Not counting staff physicians, the Health and Human Services Commission has 11 administrators making $200,000 a year or more. A decade ago, there were none. When Abbott took office in January 2015, there were just three.Over the past 13 months, 10 top commission officials have received five-digit raises — of between $10,000 and $72,000 apiece, according to a review by The Dallas Morning News of open records. Most of the huge pay bumps, if not all, resulted from promotions.While his closest subordinates prosper, though, Executive Commissioner Charles Smith hasn't sought pay raises for his agency's more than 33,000 rank-and-file workers. Most care for Texans with a mental disability at state-run institutions. Many take applications for welfare programs.Some belong to the Texas State Employees Union. It says top officials are taking undue financial rewards while their subordinates suffer economic hardship.Many thousands of the commission's lower-level employees "haven't had a real pay raise" for years, union president Judy Lugo said in an interview. Squeezed by rising pension and health insurance costs in their state jobs, many moonlight to make ends meet, she said.  Continue reading...

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