According to documents released under the Texas Public Meetings Act, the Gonzales Inquirer has learned that James (Jim) and Carla Russell were paid over $150,000 in combined salary in 2017 by Gonzales County Emergency Medical Services (EMS), and over the past five years have raked in a total of over $708,500.
The documents given to the Gonzales Inquirer show that Jim Russell made $86,288 in 2017, while wife Carla made $64,050. These figures are taken directly from the W2 forms issued by the EMS payroll department, and does not include any reimbursements for expenses and other miscellaneous items.
An analysis of the five years of payroll records show that Carla and Jim were paid a combined $135,691 in 2013. Jim Russell was being paid $3,448 bi-monthly, and his yearly salary was $84,224.10. He paid $250 per pay period for health insurance from January through August, did not pay any co-pay in September, went back to paying $250 per pay period in October, and then never paid another co-pay for medical insurance while he was the director at EMS until late 2017 according to the records provided to the Inquirer. His wife, who was listed as the payroll supervisor, was paid $2,100 every two weeks and made $51,385 for the year. She did not have any co-pay during the years the Inquirer reviewed until late 2017. The co-pay was $35 per pay period, which is what the other EMS employees were also being charged for health insurance co-pay.
In 2014, the Russells’ combined pay rose $2,331, as Jim made $79,286 while Carla’s pay for the year was $58,664. The combined total was $137,950.
In 2015, the combined total income climbed another $2,599, as Jim Russell made $84,949 while Carla made $55,600. At some point, Carla was given a raise of $100 per pay period as her pay stubs show her making $2,200 per week, an increase of 4.8 percent. Jim also was receiving more pay, as his W2 showed he made $3,750 per week, a $302 per pay period increase from the $3,448 he was making in 2013 and early 2014. The raise amounted to an 8.75 percent increase from his prior salary.
One notable item from 2015 was the month of January 2015. During January, Jim was paid $1,950 and $2,190, down from his regular bi-monthly pay of $3,750 — a decline of over $3,300. However, during the same time period of January 2015, Carla’s earnings jumped to $3,900 for the first pay period, and then $2,940 for the second pay period, an increase of $2,400 over her normal monthly earnings.
In 2016, the combined income again climbed, as the Russells made a combine salary of $144,073, an increase of 2.5 percent over 2015 and a total of $3,524. Jim’s salary rose to $89,096, while Carla’s was $54,977. In October, Carla received a $400 per pay period increase, bringing her bi-monthly pay up to $2,600 per week. The $400 pay increase was an 18.18 percent increase.
In 2017, the Russells' pay climbed to over $150,000, as they made a combined $150,338, or an increase of $6,265 (4.3 percent) over 2016. Carla made $64,050, while Jim brought home $86,288.
2017 also saw the same anomaly as 2015 during the pay period of Nov. 14, 2017. In that week, Jim’s salary declined $1,800 as his pay was $1,950. During the same pay period, Carla’s pay rose $1,650 to $4,250.
The next meeting of the EMS board of directors is Tuesday, July 24. The EMS board was scheduled to present its 2018-19 budget to the Gonzales County Emergency Services District (EDS) today, July 19, but the meeting has been canceled.