No More Stipends For Bilingual City of Houston Employees?


(updates with reaction from Mayor Pro-Tem Clutterbuck)

The Harris County Tejano Democrats have scheduled a news conference on Monday, June 21, to talk about a controversial budget amendment proposed by Mayor Pro-Tem Anne Clutterbuck.

The group says its members are outraged that Clutterbuck has proposed eliminating  bilingual pay for all non classified city of Houston employees.

Harris County Tejano Democrats (HCTD) is demanding that Clutterbuck rescind her amendment. 

“In an attempt to score political points in an anti-immigrant climate, Council Member Clutterbuck’s misguided amendment will lead to a reduction of basic city services to taxpayers with limited English proficiency,” said Frumencio Reyes, Jr., HCTD Legal Advisor.  “We ask Mayor Parker to join us in opposing this amendment.  It’s a bad idea and Council Member Clutterbuck should pull it immediately.”

2 On the Beat couldn’t reach Clutterbuck over the weekend, but she recently defended her proposal in the media.

She told KUHF reporter Laurie Johnson that the $75 per month stipend given to city employees who claim they are bilingual, costs taxpayers $1 Million a year.

UPDATE: I spoke with Mayor Pro-Tem Clutterbuck Sunday Afternoon. She says no one from the Tejano Democrats group has contacted her directly about their opposition to her amendment.  Clutterbuck told 2 on The Beat that she is concerned about the city’s budget and that is why she is looking at every possible expenditure to save the taxpayers money. Clutterbuck says she was surprised to learn that the city’s bilingual stipend policy, which covers all foreign languages including sign language,  doesn’t require employees to prove their proficiency.  There is also no procedure in place to verify that the employees receiving the $75 monthly stipend are actually using their foreign language skills on the job.  Her amendment would not apply to police officers or firefighters. We should hear more from her on Monday after the news conference.

7 Responses

  1. ** to talk about a controversial budget amendment proposed by Mayor Pro-Tem Anne Clutterbuck. **

    Can an amendment that most Houstonians don’t even know about be THAT controversial?

    Perhaps straight news reporting without the editorial addition is preferable in this case.

    It strikes us that the interest group’s characterization of CM Clutterbuck’s intent is much more “controversial” (are they mindreaders?). But again, that’s an editorial opinion, not something I expect to see in straight news reporting.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by You Post Houston, You Post. You Post said: No More Stipends For Bilingual City of Houston Employees? […]

  3. Kevin,
    the basic definition of “controversial” is, according to one source, “1. A dispute, especially a public one, between sides holding opposing views.”

    I would say that the Tejano Democrats, who are about to hold a public news conference, and Anne Clutterbuck, who has proposed the amendment, are two “sides holding opposing views.”

    Dude. this reporter isn’t editorializing.


  4. Great. Clutterbuck has taken an obscure city program that wasn’t working badly, wasn’t costing as much as say, the Houston Arts Alliance, the new water bill rebate program for the Houston Apartment Association, the Dynamo stadium, or any of a dozen other wastes of money, and turned it into a political football.

    Usually she’s the sane one, but this time, she’s screwed up by the numbers.

  5. […] will not go through as is, but something like the proficiency test could happen. We’ll see. Mary Benton has […]

  6. If she wants to cut the program and doesn’t think it is worth while then why is she only picking on civilian city employees. If she truly wants to save the city money then cut it from fire and police too! Otherwise, leave it alone.

  7. Okay… I must be missing something here. Sounds like people are a-okay with the onus being on the City to deal with someone who doesn’t speak English. I’m not sure I like my tax dollars paying for responsibilites that individuals should take on their own. If you don’t speak English, then bring along an interpreter – it’s not rocket science.

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