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An Austin Republican who talks up affordability says he's also repeatedly taken pay cuts.
Gerald Daugherty’s campaign website says: "Leading by example, he has also taken an 8% pay decrease in each of the nine years he has been in office."
That’s nine years in two chunks: Daugherty, a businessman, recaptured the Precinct 3 post on the Travis County Commissioners Court, representing western Travis County, in 2012 after losing the spot to a Democratic challenger in 2008. He faces Democrat David Holmes, a mediator, on the November 2016 ballot.
Confirmed: Daugherty's smaller raises
Earlier this year, we found Mostly False a candidate’s claim that Daugherty had voted to raise his 2016 salary 19.6 percent.
Daugherty had voted to adopt the county budget including pay raises for the four commissioners. Separately, though, he set his own increased salary at $93,000, which was $8,400 less than what the budget authorized for commissioners. For 2016 then, Daugherty’s pay went up 3.2 percent from his 2015 salary of $90,109.
For that fact check, we also confirmed that while the county’s 2015 budget provided for each of the commissioners to be paid $98,463, Daugherty was actually paid $90,109 that year, or 8.5 percent less than his colleagues, according to the county’s 2015 actual expenditures data.
We also found that earlier, after Daugherty rejoined the body in 2013, he accepted a salary of $90,109 for fiscal 2013, according to his signed affidavit. At the time, that was about 5.7 percent less than the budgeted salary for each commissioner.
Pay cuts every year?
For this fact check, we wondered about the claim on Daugherty’s campaign site that he’s taken an 8 percent pay cut every year on the court.
Asked to explain his claim, Daugherty said by phone that each time that he voted for annual county budgets including pay raises for commissioners, he followed up by directing the county to give him less of a raise. "We make $103,000 this year, and I’ve elected to take $93,000, which is probably more than 8 percent" less, Daugherty said. "What I do is, each year I take somewhere -- at least 8 percent" less.
Daugherty added: "I have never voted to give myself a raise."
Hold that thought: Daugherty may not have voted for pay raises but he’s accepted them--albeit in smaller increments than his colleagues. Also, records we obtained from the county’s archival budget documents covering county fiscal years that begin in October of each preceding year mostly indicate he’s not demanded actual pay cuts.
The specifics: In 2003, when Daugherty won a special election to succeed Margaret Moore on the court, the salary for the Precinct 3 commissioner had already been set at $67,570, or 9.39 percent less than the court’s adopted salary for that fiscal year of $73,915.
In 2004, Daugherty’s salary shrunk to $66,523, for a 1.55 percent decrease. Our review indicates that was the only time Daugherty’s salary went down from his previous year’s pay during his stints on the court.
Records show Daugherty’s salary stayed the same for 2005 before increasing by 2 percent, to $67,854, for 2006. For 2007, Daugherty’s salary went up 13.29 percent, to $76,872 and for 2008, his pay increased by 3.4 percent, to $79,562 though a few months into that fiscal year, Daugherty relinquished his seat to Democrat Karen Huber, who defeated him at the polls.
When Daugherty returned to the court in 2013, he elected to keep his salary at what Huber had been fielding, $90,109, through fiscal 2015.
This gets us to the years we covered in the previous fact check.
We also analyzed Daugherty’s claim by his reasoning -- the idea that every year he’s served, he’s made sure to be paid 8 percent less than other commissioners. That holds up for each year of his interrupted tenure, we confirmed, with the exception of the year he returned to the court, fiscal 2013. That year, Daugherty’s salary was 5.74 percent less than the court’s adopted salary for commissioners.
By phone, Daugherty disputed the notion that he’d said on his campaign site that every year he took an 8 percent pay cut.
"I guess you can read it however you want; I think it’s pretty straightforward," Daugherty said. "Each year whatever the salary is, I take, on average, 8 percent less than that … some of this stuff you have to put in a bumper sticker kind of a size. You can get so verbose with it and get people so confused about ‘what the hell is he saying?’
"I don’t think it’s difficult to understand," Daugherty said. "If people say, ‘tell me what you mean by that,’ well, the salary for 2016 and 2017 is $103,000. I’ve signed an affidavit that I only want to be paid $93,000. And that’s greater than 8 percent" less, he said.
Daugherty says on his campaign site that he’s "taken an 8% pay decrease in each of the nine years he has been in office."
As a commissioner, Daugherty took a pay cut once. In fiscal 2004, his salary went down 1.55 percent to $66,523.
Daugherty also has consistently taken steps to ensure he’s paid 8 percent less than fellow commissioners each year, though in one year his pay ran about 6 percent behind.
On balance, we rate this claim Half True.
HALF TRUE – The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context. Click here for more on the six PolitiFact ratings and how we select facts to check.https://www.sharethefacts.co/share/e190b0fe-8c77-4883-ba0a-1c645d50b9a1
Truth-O-Meter article, "Challenger levels Mostly False claim about Gerald Daugherty voting to hike his salary 19.6 percent," PolitiFact Texas, Feb. 26, 2016
Campaign website, "Gerald’s Priorities," Gerald Daugherty, Republican nominee, Travis County Pct. 3 commissioner (accessed Oct. 17, 2016)
Telephone interviews, Gerald Daugherty, Oct. 12, 18 and 20, 2016
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