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Texas Payroll/Personnel Resource

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General Provisions
Line-Item Exempt Positions


Each biennium, the Legislature adopts a General Appropriations Act (GAA). Each agency receiving appropriated funds generally has at least one exempt position listed in the GAA with a not-to-exceed salary.

The exempt positions are often chief administrators of an agency such as the executive director, commissioner or administrator. These position titles are referred to as line-item exempt titles and their corresponding line-item exempt positions are considered exempt from the Position Classification Plan.

Multiple incumbents

In some instances, the line-item exempt positions listed in an agency’s appropriation pattern are for multiple incumbents.


Railroad Commissioners (3)

The numeric designation listed next to the title in the agency’s appropriation pattern is the limit on the number of incumbents who can be assigned to the specific title. If no such numeric designation is listed, only one incumbent may be assigned to the specific title.

Exception to incumbent limit

The only exception to the limit on the number of incumbents is when an incumbent announces his or her upcoming termination and a replacement is hired before the termination date.

This is authorized in Article IX, Section 3.04(e) of the GAA. The authority is provided to allow time for transition of duties. The dual usage of the position title is allowed for up to one month’s salary.

Comptroller’s Office Responsibility

Comptroller’s office staff establishes the exempt titles and classification numbers for each agency line-item exempt title on the control table. As authorized in Article IX, Section 3.04 of the GAA, the not-to-exceed salary will remain in effect until:

  • The Legislature increases the salary.
    — or —
  • The governing board increases the not-to-exceed salary.
    — or —
  • The governor establishes a higher not-to-exceed salary.

For instances in which the number of incumbents must be increased for transition of duties (as described above), Comptroller’s office staff changes the limit on the number of incumbents on the same control table.

Following termination of one of the incumbents, Comptroller’s office staff must reestablish the limit on incumbents to the number authorized in the GAA.

Agency Responsibilities

State agencies must ensure that salaries paid to line-item exempt employees fall within the not-to-exceed limits established by the Legislature.

Governing boards wanting to change salary of line-item exempt employee

For situations in which the governing board of an agency decides to change the salary of a line-item exempt employee, Article IX, Section 3.04 of the GAA includes specific notifications that must be made by the board leadership. Agencies must ensure that all required notifications and steps are followed.

Agencies not receiving appropriated funds

For agencies that do not receive appropriated funds and are therefore not listed in the GAA, the governing boards must advise Comptroller’s office staff of the salaries for the line-item exempt titles so control tables may be set up.

Retroactive pay not allowed

State agencies and institutions of higher education are not allowed to grant extra or additional compensation to a state officer or employee for services that have already been rendered, so the governing board may not increase the compensation of an individual in one of these positions retroactively. For additional information about retroactive compensation, see Retroactive Pay.


Agency appropriation pattern
The section of the General Appropriations Act that provides each agency’s appropriations, riders and instructions for the biennium.


General Appropriations Act, Article IX, Section 3.04; Texas Constitution, Article III, Sections 44, 51, 53.