Letters to the Editor

June 14, 2014

History comes alive in clerk’s documents

Viewing 1800s documents on a computer screen is outstanding and very handy; however, being able to see the original document is indescribable!

History really comes alive through the documents at the county clerk’s office on West Bridge Street in Granbury. Using no tax money, County Clerk Mary Burnett has preserved deeds and other Hood County documents for posterity.

While I was looking up deed records from the 1870s and 1880s, Mrs. Burnett and her staff brought in more bound books. Three of those books caught my attention … Brands and Markings of Hood County Ranchers & Farmers! I was able to see the brands of many branches of our family.

Also for those of us who enjoy icing on our cake … the people in the office were not just helpful assisting me with computer access … they were friendly and smiling … making the three hour task my husband had sent me to do very pleasant!

Christy Massey

Granbury

More explanation from BRA please

We have followed with great interest the disclosures made by your newspaper regarding salaries paid to city and county employees and most recently by BRA to its employees.

For those of us living “on the lake” in our “dream retirement homes” who have been active for years trying to stop the BRA from emptying Lake Granbury these numbers are not only atrocious; they are enough to make my blood boil!

The BRA has made it quite clear that they don’t care if some Realtor told us this was a “constant level lake.” We now live on the river (if about 1,000 yards away can be considered on the river).

It is quite obvious that BRA has one goal. Sell all the water they can to increase greatly their revenue so they can give themselves big raises and bonuses. We note that your article said nothing about bonus income and only quoted base pay figures.

We would very much like to know the following:

1. What did the Chairman of the Board make last year? What was his bonus?

BRA response: Members of the BRA Board of Directors are appointed by the Governor and serve on a volunteer basis. The compensation for the Presiding Officer is the same as all other members of the Board per the Texas State Water Code Section 49.060 FEES OF OFFICE. A director is entitled to fees of no more than $150 for each day they attend. Our meetings are quarterly and usually last one day. They also receive reimbursement for the actual expenses incurred for which would normally include travel including gas (state approved mileage of $.56 per mile) and meals. Hotel costs, if necessary, are billed directly to the BRA.

2. What did other board members make and what were their bonuses?

Same as above.

3. How much money was paid to their 10 management people for bonuses?

The BRA does not provide bonuses to its employees in the traditional sense, where an employee must reach a predetermined objective in order to receive a bonus; rather, from time to time, our Board has authorized merit-based pay that a supervisor may recommend based on performance (not unlike receiving a raise). When such a payment is authorized by the Board, it is capped at a certain percentage. In the current fiscal year, the Board authorized merit pay in an amount not to exceed 4% of a department’s annual compensation budget. The supervisor in the particular department will then determine an appropriate allocation of the authorized funds (if any) among the department’s employees. Employees receiving merit-based pay are permitted to accept the payment as a one-time disbursement or as a pay increase.

4. What specific criteria are there for awarding bonuses?

Employee bonuses are not regularly awarded by the BRA and are not considered to be an integral part of management compensation. Additionally, there have been several recent years in which neither cost of living or merit increases were included in the BRA annual budget. If bonuses are awarded to any employee at the BRA, they would be based upon merit as part of the employees annual evaluation process.

5. How many gallons of water has the BRA sold for each of the last 10 years?

The following list includes all water under contract (long-term, short-term, one-year, interruptible, etc) at the end of December on the given year. For 2014, the value shown is the amount of water currently under contract.

2005 – 205 billion gallons

2006 – 217 billion gallons

2007 – 236 billion gallons

2008 – 236 billion gallons

2009 – 253 billion gallons

2010 – 235 billion gallons

2011 – 269 billion gallons

2012 – 253 billion gallons

2013 – 261 billion gallons

2014 – 242 billion gallons

In my last job working for the public as many as 6,000 employees reported to me. I can tell you that all these salaries are ridiculous and considerably above what is paid in private industry for comparable responsibilities.

Frank Williamson

Granbury

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Category: Forum