Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-51 Page: 2 of 5
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Honorable Gene Green - Page 2
Section 152.012 declares that the commissioners court "may not set the salary of a
justice of the peace at an amount less than the amount of the salary in effect on May
In Attorney General Opinion JM-770 (1987), this office considered whether
the salary of each constable in a particular county was required to be equal. The
opinion concluded that
the commissioners court may provide for different salaries for
constables depending upon the circumstances in each precinct if
the circumstances reasonably require different salaries and if
each salary is in itself reasonable. The circumstances that may
properly be considered relate to what constitutes a reasonable
In Attorney General Opinion JM-1019 (1989), this office addressed the question of
whether each county commissioner had to be paid the same salary. The opinion
held that only if there were "unusual circumstances" in the different precincts could
a salary differential be considered reasonable. The opinion based this conclusion on
the fact that, in the usual instance, the various commissioners have more or less
equivalent duties. By contrast, it was noted that
the duties of a constable or justice of the peace are more
confined to the official's precinct than are the duties of a county
commissioner and.. . therefore payment of different salaries to
the former officials might reasonably correspond to some such
officials' duties being more extensive than others'.
Both these opinions recognize that there might exist circumstances in which
certain precinct officials holding equivalent positions might be compensated in
differing amounts. Both emphasize that the specific amount "that constitutes a
reasonable salary is a fact question within the discretion of the commissioners
court." See also White v. Commissioners Court of Kimble County, 705 S.W.2d 322
1Section 152.014 of the Local Government Code establishes a salary grievance committee in
each county, and section 152.016 descrinbes the grievance procedures to be followed by elected county
and precinct officers. If the nine-member grievance committee votes unanimously to increase the
individual's compensation, the commissioners court is required to grant the increase for the next
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: DM-51, text, 1991; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth273860/m1/2/: accessed March 25, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.