Sheriff-elect Will Travis brought his first business before Denton County commissioners Tuesday, and commissioners approved the top two members of his administrative team.
Rex George, an investigator with the Denton County District Attorney’s Office, will become the chief deputy, and Randy Plemons will serve as the assistant deputy chief of operations.
As chief deputy, George will earn $116,172 per year in salary.
Travis sought approval of a salary of $94,000 for Plemons. The salary amount for that position was in the budget but was higher than the recommendation from the human resources department. That prompted commissioners to find a happy medium in pay.
“I was just trying for what was already budgeted,” Travis said. “I definitely did not want to [cause] problems. They had so much in the past. I just stayed within 94 or under and I put it in their hands and let them make the final decision on what they thought would be best.”
Commissioners voted 4-1 on a $91,930 per year salary.
The dissenting vote was from Commissioner Bobbie Mitchell, who did not want to go against policy.
Regarding policy, County Judge Mary Horn said Travis was asking for more money than the human resources director, Amy Phillips, was recommending, which made it against policy to approve a higher amount. Horn said historically the Commissioners Court has been pretty agreeable to incoming elected officials to do what they want regarding the staff they are bringing in — within reason.
“Ultimately, what we decided on was not what he asked for but more than what [Phillips] was recommending,” Horn said. “We went with basically what was the same as when Benny Parkey came in and he was asking for special consideration for two chief deputies. Amy, she has a responsibility to tell us what policy was and she did so, and we ended up in between.”
Travis was pleased with how his first agenda item before the court went.
“I thought they were very receptive to our needs for the position and what we’re trying to do for the position,’ he said. “I was extremely impressed by them.”
Plemons, who comes from McLennan County as chief deputy, is a National Academy graduate with a master peace officer certification from the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education.
He’s been to the Secret Service protection school and has taken instruction from the National Incident Management School.
“So he brings more to the table then just law enforcement,” Travis said. “I thought he was very well qualified for the job [and] is going to be a tremendous asset for us.”
While Travis took steps toward the beginning of his legacy in Denton County, outgoing Sheriff Benny Parkey was honored for his.
Parkey was among a number of county employees whose retirements were recognized at the start of the meeting Tuesday.
The significance of the meeting for the two sheriffs was not lost on Travis, who had nothing but kind words for Parkey.
“I think Benny has done a tremendous job. He and I have had many, many talks on the transition,” he said. “He has been real cordial toward me and I just wish him the very best in whatever endeavor he takes.”
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .