Coryell County is looking for an auditor to fill the position when Ben Roberts retires, an assistant auditor to take over the responsibilities in the meantime, or possibly both.
During a recent meeting, the Coryell County Commissioners Court discussed whether to seek an assistant auditor, and had already advertised for an auditor.
“We’ve talked about this in the past – it’s not easy to find a qualified auditor or assistant auditor,” said County Attorney Brandon Belt. “The sooner we get going on this …. It may be a while before a suitable person is found. At this point without going through a (recruitment) service to help us, I don’t know how we’re going to find someone. This fiscal year is quickly rolling by.
“I know Judge (Trent) Farrell (the 52nd District Court judge) would back up the creation of that (assistant auditor) position, and we should start looking for someone to fill that position.”
Belt said he is confident in Roberts’ ability to handle the many requirements of the job, “but it’s a lot of things to keep up with. We can get the blessing from the district judge and start working on (finding a new auditor and/or assistant auditor).”
County Commissioner Kyle Matthews noted that a position has already been approved by the commissioners court for someone to focus on purchasing, and noted those duties could be combined with an assistant auditor post.
Roberts said getting a reasonable salary to attract a new auditor is important.
“If you do find someone to take my job, they’re probably not going to take it for that salary,” he said.
The annual wage listed for Roberts for 2020 was $70,561. According to published reports from the Texas Association of Counties, the Burnet County auditor in that same year had a salary of $91,790 while the Lampasas County auditor’s salary was $71,842. These salary surveys are only published in even numbered years, so there is no report for 2021. The 2022 report has not been published yet.
Neighboring counties which are significantly larger paid substantially more for the same timeframe. The McLennan County auditor’s salary was posted at $153,411 for 2020 according to the online county budget. Meanwhile, Bell County auditor was listed at $114,515 according to the Bell County budget, which was also posted online.
As of March 8, the posting for the Coryell County auditor position did not list a salary range.
“Judge Farrell would not stand in the way of the commissioners court posting a salary to help us find someone and to help us recruit for that position,” Belt said.
County Judge Roger Miller said he supports using a service to help the county recruit a qualified auditor applicant.
“You may need additional money to help pay an auditor,” Roberts said. “That leaves the judge some room to negotiate.”
“He’s just got to find someone to negotiate with,” Belt said.
Roberts said he is committed to staying a while until the county leadership can find someone to take his place.
“I’m not leaving until we get somebody,” he said. “I’m not going to leave you in the lurch. We’re not in a unique position. This kind of search is going on all across the nation.”
Matthews said he also favors hiring specialists that can fill out grant applications to help take the load off the auditor’s office.
“While we look for someone to fill the position, there’s companies out there that can help us with grant applications,” he said.
“We have the perfect opportunity to give them a test run,” Belt said.
“I think it’s worth our while to advertise an assistant auditor position,” Miller said. “Right now, we have a need for both (an auditor and assistant auditor).”