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Supplemental income for appellate judges questioned

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The Ellis County Press

Ellis County – Last week commissioners approved a 3-1 vote to voluntarily send a supplemental income to the Tenth Court of Appeals in Waco. Approved by the state legislature, the court of appeals can only receive up to $7,500 supplemental income a piece per year.

The Tenth court of appeals has three judges, Chief Justice Tom Gray, Justice Felipe Reyna and Justice Rex Davis, serving 18 counties.

"Ellis County pondered about giving the extra income longer than most," said Gray.

According to press releases from Diana Buckley, Ellis County Communications Officers, June 2007 shows the first time a subsidy for the courts was approved by the county.

"I make about $140,000 a year- a little less than I did in private practice, while the other two justices get about $137,500 plus the additional supplement of $7,500 each," said Gray. Commissioner Heath Sims, R-Waxahachie, opposed the vote this year.

"I just feel that with the economy the way it is right now, we shouldn’t be just giving out an extra $1,600 when the county employees didn’t even receive pay raises," said Sims.

County Judge Carol Bush, feels that even though she "hears my [this reporter’s] empathy" for the county employees coming through, she feels strongly about the contribution being sent over.

"It is important to clarify that this flat amount of $1624 is for the entire budget year, and that it only represents an increase of $9 over last years shared contribution,"said Bush.

"I think I can speak for all of the other members of the commissioners court in saying that we value the contribution of the judges on the Tenth Court of Appeals."

All counties split 1/18 of the final expenditure.

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Nelson Propane

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