After stonewalling inquiries for two months, Gov. Greg Abbott said last week that he knew of only 84 pay issues for Texas soldiers. That same day, a source provided Texas Scorecard with a spreadsheet outlining 545 Texas soldiers with pay issues. This file raises questions about whether Abbott was misinformed by the Texas Military Department (TMD), or if he knowingly mislead the public.
In March 2021, Abbott launched Operation Lone Star (OLS), sending Texas National Guard forces to our border with Mexico after it was largely abandoned by the Biden-Harris administration.
Last month, Texas Scorecard reported on internal communications at the Texas comptroller’s office confirming Texas soldiers assigned to OLS were not being paid on time. On January 11, Abbott claimed “all paycheck issues have been addressed.”
But just a day later, on January 12, Texas Scorecard reported multiple sources contradicted this account. The following day, TMD published a “Morale Survey Update” admitting “there are still numerous pay issues.”
To corroborate claims of ongoing pay issues and to provide greater clarity of the scope of the problem (which Abbott minimized), a source provided us with a spreadsheet documenting 545 individual OLS-assigned soldiers with pay issues. The source said this is a log of Texas soldiers who have called the pay hotline to report problems, and the information within was current as of 8:00 a.m. on January 11.
The spreadsheet is divided into three tabs: Individual Pay, Supplemental Pay, and Explanation. In this article, we will refer to information from the first two tabs. Our source told us Individual Pay is pay for working, and Supplemental Pay is “like per diem for food and family separation pay.”
The spreadsheet shows several types of pay issues. The dates of these pay issues range from October 2021 to the end of December. According to information in the Individual Pay and Supplemental Pay tabs, there are soldiers missing pay anywhere from one day to more than 30 days. Other errors include soldiers “coded incorrectly” in the system, missing per diem, paid only per diem, only partial payments sent, pay without dependents, and direct deposit sent to the wrong account.
The name of the source who provided us with this information is not within the spreadsheet. Texas Scorecard is withholding the file to protect the soldiers listed within.
Sarah Alexander, a TMD spokesperson, was contacted to confirm and comment on the veracity of the spreadsheet on January 14. No response was received before publication.
Because Abbott claimed “all paycheck issues have been addressed,” and he only knew of 84 of them, this spreadsheet raises questions. Was the governor misinformed by TMD? Or has he been knowingly misinforming the public?
Press inquiries to Abbott’s office and the office of Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, the Texas adjutant general, were not replied to before publication.
Two weeks ago, Norris sent an email urging Texas soldiers not to talk to the press.
The source who provided the spreadsheet told us some soldiers have lost faith in calling the pay hotline. Therefore, there are likely more soldiers with unresolved pay issues. Last week, Texas Scorecard reported on internal comptroller communications mentioning bureaucratic inexperience and turnover at TMD contributing to the problem.
If you or someone you know in the Texas National Guard is experiencing pay issues, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.