Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Monday, June 26, 2000
County OKs salary scale boost at RCDC
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, June 26, 2000 - A new salary scale for Reeves County Detention
Center employees was approved at this morning's regular Reeves County Commissioners
Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco told the court that
the quality of service the facility provides is as good as anybody's and
probably better than most.
Under the new proposal, Correction Officer (CO) I employees, or new
hires, would begin at $19,000, the same as the current rate.
Reeves County will be hiring a number of workers over the next few weeks,
as completion of the new 1,000-bed addition to the detention center nears.
Franco said while starting pay will not change, "I don't believe the labor
force will be a problem."
The higher salaries would begin with CO II employees who would go to
$24,000 a year, under the new scale.
"We do have certain criteria that they have to meet before going to
the CO II position," said Franco.
All employees would be eligible to advance to the CO II position under
certain circumstances. They include: upon completion of one year employment,
completion of jail school and passing of the state TCLEOSI Exam. Correctional
Officer I's, will automatically be promoted to CO-II level, once they meet
"Everyone will eventually be a CO-II and I believe the probation period
should remain at one year," said Franco. "They will have a year to be observed
by the supervisor."
CO-III employees' salary rates will be $26,000; while prison LVNs will
be paid $27,000 a year; Lab Tech, $27,000; Counselor, $27,000; Case Manager,
$28,000; Lieutenants, $31,500; Foreign Medical Graduates, $34,000; Department
Heads, $34,000; Case Management Coordinator, $34,000; Recreation Director,
$36,000; Education Director, $36,000; Captain Trainee, $36,000; Captain,
$41,000; Facility Manager, $41,000 and Food Service Director will be earning
$41,000 per year.
"FMG's are getting a little bit more than LVN's, because they are capable
of doing more," said Franco.
Franco told the court that they had looked at the responsibility angle,
before assessing the new wages. "They'll have a lot more responsibility
at the new facility," he said.
"We tried to look at the responsibility and the salary, because the
amount of responsibility will increase tremendously," said Franco.
This will give everyone at least a $3,000 raise, according to Franco.
Food services is a crucial part of the facility, and the food services
director will be in charge of feeding at least 2,000 inmates a day, according
"A lot of these employees will have huge responsibilities," he said.
The new wage scale will go into effect on July 1.
Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo noted that the CO II wages are
a little above the federal level. "An independent agency determines the
wage level and this will benefit us tremendously in the future to be a
little above the federal level," said Galindo. "We're trying to recruit
and sustain this staff."
"One of the factors to consider, is our focus to provide good quality
service," said Franco. "We compare ourselves with federal prisons, because
we provide the same thing as La Tuna," the federal prison near El Paso
where Franco served as warden before coming to the RCDC.
He said it would be more accurate to compare this facility with a federal
prison, because it provides the same services and is funded by Congress.
"It's the quality of service you're eventually judged on," said Franco.
"Some of the privatization facilities focus more on providing cheaper service."
"But if you provide better services, I believe you have fewer problems,"
The new wage scale will be funded through the new man-day rate.
"This can be covered and paid for by the new man-day rate which is $41.48,"
"This is being proactive to make sure the first year of operations is
smooth and problem-free," said Galindo. "This will be great and it will
be an asset to the facility, in terms of keeping veteran employees."
The new man-day rate is still very competitive with other facilities
in the area, according to Franco.
Colina-Vargas gets probation in bribery plea
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, June 26, 2000 - Carlos Colina-Vargas, the Town of Pecos City's
longtime grant administrator, received a two-year probated sentence and
was fined $5,000 last week in U.S. District Court in Austin, two months
after pleading guilty to bribery of public officials and witnesses.
U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks sentenced colina-Vargas last Tuesday
to probation and a fine as the result of his April 20 plea before the judge
to one count of giving illegal compensation to an employee of the Executive
Branch of the U.S. Government for services rendered or to be rendered.
Colina-Vargas was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury on March
7 for illegally giving money to a U.S. government official. The indictment
on five bribery counts came following a complaint filed on Feb. 14 in Austin,
and he was arrested on Feb. 23.
His April 20 plea came following efforts in early April by his attorney
to dismiss the indictment were rejected, according to federal court records.
Money was paid in exchange for favorable action on grant-applications Colina-Vargas
sought for various government entities that were his clients.
The case against Colina-Vargas came to light after federal prosecutors
began investigating the government official, Raymundo "Ray" Ramirez of
Austin, the former regional director for the U.S. Department of Commerce
Economic Development Administration, a federal agency that awards public
Ramirez last year pleaded guilty to one count of accepting an illegal
gratuity, a felony, and was given a three-year probated prison sentence.
He also was forced to resign.
According to court records, Colina-Vargas paid Ramirez a total of $12,500
between 1995 and 1997 in exchange for Ramirez helping secure federal public
works grants to four of Colina-Vargas clients, the cities of Anthony, Mathis,
Mission and George West.
Under terms of the sentencing, the original five-county indictment against
Colina-Vargas was dropped. At the same time, no charges were brought against
Colina-Vargas' business partner, Tom Nance, contrary to original records
released by the U.S. Attorney's office in Austin.
With the charges dropped, Nance's name was completely removed from the
court records of the case, according to a computer check of the records
While Colina-Vargas has served as grant writer for the Town of Pecos
City for the past decade, and also served as Reeves County's grant writer
in the early and mid 1990s, no area officials are reportedly involved in
Lower participation limits scope of weekend clean-up
By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, June 26, 2000 - Sections of the downtown area to be used for
Night in Old Pecos and the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade were cleaned
up on Saturday, as part of Pecos Trash-Off II.
"I was still pleased with the work we got done, although as far as the
volunteers there weren't as many as there were last time," said Michael
Benavides, who co-ordinated the effort.
The event is sponsored by the Pecos Beautification Committee, and Benavides
said members of the Pecos Lions Club, along with the Golden Girl nominees,
Lucy Lara and her youth group and several others assisted in Saturday's
work. Duncan Disposal also helped with carting the trash away after the
clean-up, Benavides said.
The clean-up was centered around the old Pecos Trade Center site in
the 200 block of South Cedar Street and on the storefronts in the 200 block
of South Oak Street.
Oak and Cedar Streets will be part of the route used for the July 5
West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade, while this Saturday's Night in Old Pecos
will be held in the area around Second and Oak Streets.
"Since we didn't have as good a turnout as far as volunteers, we cleaned
out the lots in back of the buildings on Oak Street," Benavides said. "The
Golden Girls did a real good job sweeping out the entrances to old buildings."
He said another volunteer, Flaco Eubanks, worked on cleaning up another
area further south on Cedar Street. "That was about it as far as the clean-up
goes. Hopefully next time we'll have a better response."
Pecos Trash-Off I was held in late March at sites around town. Benavides
said summer vacations probably cut down on the turnout this time around.
"We'll try again in another three months and concentrate on another area
that needs cleaning up," he added.
Appraisal review board gets few complaints
By LEIA HOLLAND
PECOS, June 26, 2000 - The Reeves County Appraisal District held property
appraisal hearings on Thursday and Friday morning, with just under two
dozen people showing up to protest their 2000 real estate valuations.
Carol King-Markham, Chief Appraiser, said the hearings went very smoothly.
The Appraisal Review Board received 34 protests but only 23 showed up
to the hearings. Markham said four sent in affidavits and seven did not
call or show up. She said that three protests were settled and eight were
Right now the appraisal district is in the process of making corrections
and will be sending certified letters to those whom showed up.
The ARB consists of local citizens who donate their time to be on the
board. The members of the ARB are Bob McNutt, chairman, Charlie Mitchell
and Reecia Pigman.
"Their job is to equalize all property," Markham said.
By law, all similar types of property must be valued and taxed equally.
The board makes sure this has been done.
She said the hearings went well but the exact amount of loss or gain
in property values will not be known for a couple of weeks.
"The values went down a little but we always lose a little," Markham
The appraisal district reviews all the property in Reeves County every
three years. Markham said 2001 is an appraisal year. She said all property
appraisals must be done by May 1, 2001, so her crew will start appraisals
Markham said she would hire more staff and work all through the weeks
and even weekends to insure completion by May 1.
"We do whatever it takes to get the job done," Markham said.
Paul Jordan Contreras, 57, of Pecos, died Sunday, June 25, 2000, at Odessa
Services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 27, at the Pecos Funeral
Home Chapel, with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.
He was born Jan. 25, 1943, in Fort Stockton, was a lifelong Pecos resident,
retired and a Catholic.
Survivors include his wife Elia Contreras of Pecos; two sons, Javier
Contreras of Odessa and Jacob Contreras of Pecos; one daughter, Sylvia
Contreras of Pecos; two brothers, Pilar and Marcos Contreras of Pecos;
three sisters, Alicia Carrasco and Guadalupe Carrasco of Bakersfield, Calif.
and Criselda Meza of Pecos and two grandchildren.
Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
PECOS, June 26, 2000 - High Sunday 108. Low this morning 73. Forecast for
tonight: Mostly cloudy with 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low 65-70.
Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance
of thunderstorms. High around 95. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night:
Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Low 65-70.
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.
324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321
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Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise