Collin County commissioners decided Tuesday not to automatically grant 3 percent higher starting pay to all bilingual employees
Juvenile Probation Director Joe Scott and County Clerk Stacey Kemp urged commissioners to make the higher salaries automatic to help attract employees who speak Spanish. They said their employees encounter people every day who do not speak English.
The county has a longstanding unwritten practice of paying bilingual workers in some departments a 3 percent higher starting salary.
Commissioner Jerry Hoagland, a longtime critic of illegal immigration, opposes the practice and called for Tuesday's vote, hoping to end it. He said people who don't speak English and need a county service should provide their own interpreter.
The commissioners voted 5-0 to have the human resources director draft a policy for their approval that generally would maintain the status quo. Several said they wanted to give elected officials and department heads the option of offering the higher starting pay, but the increases would still be subject to approval by the commissioners.