Texas Attorney General Opinion: GA-0694 Page: 1 of 3
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ATTORNEY GENERAL OF TEXAS
February 26, 2009
The Honorable Roy L. Cordes, Jr. Opinion No. GA-0694
Fort Bend County Attorney
301 Jackson Street, Suite 728 Re: Whether a county must consider longevity pay
Richmond, Texas 77469-3108 when determining a statutory county court judge's
salary under Government Code section 25.0005(a)
Dear Mr. Cordes:
Under Government Code section 659.0445, certain district judges who receive a state-paid
salary are entitled to "longevity pay" in the amount of $20 per month for each year of service,
payable after 16 years of service. See TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 659.0445(a)-(b) (Vernon Supp.
2008). Government Code section 25.0005(a) provides that a statutory county court judge who does
not engage in the private practice of law "shall be paid a total annual salary" that is "not less than
$1,000 less than the total annual salary received by a district judge in the county." Id. 25.0005(a).
You state that two of Fort Bend County's five district judges receive longevity pay under section
659.0445.1 You ask whether a county "must consider" the section 659.0445 longevity pay "when
determining the salary for a statutory county court judge in accordance with" section 25.0005(a).
Request Letter, supra note 1, at 1.
A district judge's "total annual salary" in section 25.0005(a), "includes contributions and
supplements, paid by the state or a county." TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 25.0005(a) (Vernon Supp.
2008). Section 25.0005 does not, however, define any of the relevant terms. The ordinary meaning
of "salary" is "a fixed regular payment . . . made by an employer to an employee," while a
"supplement" is "something that completes or enhances something else when added to it," and a
"contribution" is a "a gift or payment to a common fund." THE NEW OXFORD AMERICAN
DICTIONARY 374, 1504, 1707 (2001). Giving the term its ordinary meaning, "total annual salary"
in section 25.0005 is broad enough to encompass the amount of longevity pay received by a district
judge in the county.
Section 25.0005(a), by its terms, requires that a statutory county court judge be paid not
less than $1000 less than the "total annual salary" received by "a district judge in the county."
TEX. GOV'T CODE ANN. 25.0005(a) (Vernon Supp. 2008) (emphasis added). The "word 'a' is
'Request Letter at 2 (available at http://www.texasattomeygeneral.gov).
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: GA-0694, text, 2009; (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth275590/m1/1/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.