Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise

Site Map
Pecos Gab

Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Archive 2001
Archive 2002
Photos 2000
Photos 2001
Photos 2002

Archive 2003

Area Newspapers
Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

RCDC to face cuts following deal with BOP

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., July 29, 2003 -- Reeves County will receive a slightly lower man-day rate for inmates at the county's detention center and will be looking to make budget cuts at the 2,000-bed facility, as the result of an agreement worked out with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons last Thursday.

County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo outlined the result of 13 hours of negotiation between the county and BOP officials in Washington, D.C. Monday afternoon during the regular meeting of county commissioners in the Reeves County Courthouse.

"Our trip to Washington was both fortunate and unfortunate," said Galindo, who spoke about the trip during reports from various departments in the third floor courtroom.

The meeting with BOP resulted in the reduction of the man-day rate from $47.47 to $47.33, and federal officials also requested that certain budget cuts be made out at the local facility.

The BOP currently provides the county with 2,000 inmates for the RCDC I and RCDC II facilities. The cut in the man-day rate will lower the county's payment by just $280 per day, but left unresolved was the status of the new 960-bed RCDC III project, for which no BOP prisoners have been assigned.

"Right now we'll need to tighten our belts in regards to certain items out at the facility," said Galindo.

"There will be adjustments that need to be made in order to meet the expectations of our customer," said Galindo.

The adjustments were outlined by the BOP and some included cuts in the educational supplies; emergency response, recreation supplies and property and liability insurance.

Approximately $140,000 of additional cuts to be made in the operational expenses of the facility, according to Galindo.

The county did seek get the BOP to send the county additional inmates to fill up $40 million RCDC III, on which the county faces a $950,000 bond payment on Sept. 1.

"They did not want to discuss R-3 while we were there," said Galindo.

Galindo did say that an amount of back pay for inmates already housed at the facility had been assessed at $800,000. That money will be transferred into the RCDC fund.

Commissioners agreed to a transfer of $467,762 from the 2001 bond interest from the Reeves County General Fund to the RCDC fund. These funds will go towards payment on the RCDC-III.

"This is money that we can use, it's an account that has been laying around and not being used," said county auditor Lynn Owens.

Another transfer of $415,000 from the General Fund to the RCDC Fund was also approved. The funds transferred will be used for payroll at the RCDC, according to Owens.

"There was a construction fund set up for RCDC-III deposited in an interest-bearing account," said Galindo. "The county is entitled to the interest earned from that account."

The transfer of $400,000 made earlier in July has already been paid back, according to Owens.

"They also suggested that we go by the Department of Labor Wages," said Galindo. "They have requested that we submit any differences on their determination," he said.

Under the Department of Labor Wages, the labor department determined that the bottom level would start at $14.99 of employment at the RCDC.

"They do not distinguish between one, two or three, (correctional officers) as we do," said Galindo. "We have asked them to consider three separate categories," he said.

Galindo said that the staff would determine what is the appropriate wage level. "These folks would go to that level, nobody would lose any money, unless they move to another position," he said.

Galindo said that there was a process that needed to be followed.

"There is a confirmation process that the DOL needs to make, so they can establish the right wages," said Galindo. "There will be incremental levels for those classifications."

Another item that BOP said would have to be taken care of was comp time. "Mr. Franco (RCDC Warden) can look into that and they can make the appropriate adjustments in regard to comp time," said Galindo. "We would suggest that these people start taking some time off, while there is still enough staff out there," he said.

Galindo said that the $800,000 back pay from BOP would go into effect as soon as he signed the modification. "That should be done within 30 days," he said.

"The only way to move forward is to agree to these reductions, it's by no means what we asked for," said Galindo.

Galindo told the group the he still needed to speak to their attorney, who they hired to travel with them to Washington last week.

Pecos Area Chamber of Commerce Director Linda Gholson suggested a Town Hall meeting, so that the county could answer the community's questions. The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, at the Reeves County Civic Center.

Herrera enjoys "thankless" job at CJC

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., July 29, 2003 -- It's a job he has to do and a job that he enjoys, but Pecos Police Department's Day Shift Jail Supervisor Sgt. Bobby Herrera said that he has a thankless job.

"I have had no trouble doing my job. I have had friends that have come in," Herrera said. "If it's a job that I have to do. As long as they respect me, I will respect them. But I can say that this is a thankless job."

He added that he would expect the people he oversees - inmates at the 96-bed Pecos Criminal Justice Center - to be thanking police officers or correction officers for the job that they perform.

Herrera's job consists of maintaining security at the Criminal Justice Center while at the same time being responsible for the inmates.

"We have to keep a visual on them," Herrera said. "There are also male and female inmates which we must medicate."

He added that though on occasions there could be three or four things going on at the same time, he did not consider his job to be at all stressful.

"To me personally, it is not that stressful," Herrera said. "It is a job in which you have to deal with a lot of people with different personalities."

For example, there are times when 20 to 25 inmates are being dropped off and they must book them in.

"It is a lot different from the prison," Herrera said. "We must book them in and medicate them. We have to do everything. The state prison has its own medical staff and booking staff."

In addition to keeping a visual on the inmates in the facility, Herrera said that they must also transport inmates to court at the Federal Courthouse in Pecos, or even pick some up either in Kermit, Monahans, Alpine and Marfa.

Herrera began his career in law enforcement about a year ago after the Freeport McMoRan sulphur mine laid him off.

"I had worked for the sulfur mines for 19 years," Herrera said. "After they laid me off in 1995 I went to school for about a year and four months at Odessa College where I studied a vocational trade of heating and air conditioning."

He added that he also worked for Russ Salcido, with the Reeves County Road and Bridge crew for several months.

"I wanted to look for a better paying job, so I applied with RCDC and the state prison," Herrera said. "The state prison contacted me first."

After passing the state test and interview, Herrera was then sent to Beeville, Texas for five weeks to complete the state prison academy. When he completed his training, he said he chose the Belding State Prison near Fort Stockton because it was closer to home.

Working for the state prison for almost two years as a correction officer, Herrera then decided to apply for floor supervisor when the CJC began to take applications prior to its opening in February of 2002.

"It was not working out," Herrera said. "And since I had been working the floor at the prison, I decided to apply for the supervisor's job."

Since his first day on the job and the first day of the newly built facility, Herrera recalls how they were shorthanded on radios and had to use the intercoms to communicate with each other.

"When we opened up we did not have everything," Herrera said. "We only had two booking computers."

However now with everything in place, Herrera said that the best part of his job is that they have a control center in which the three people on the floor can rotate into.

"I try to keep it to where everyone has a break," Herrera said. "There is a lot of walking involved in 12 hours."

Herrera is this month's 'Behind the Badge' candidate. The Pecos Enterprise features an officer the last Tuesday of every month who also appears on KIUN's Pecos Talking. Other officers who have been featured have been Sgt. Cosme Ortega, Patrol Officer Felipe Villalobos, Ernesto Machuca and Lt. Kelly Davis.

Doctor privileges, bylaw change on board's agenda

PECOS, Tues., July 29, 2003 -- The Reeves County Hospital Board of Directors will hold its regular monthly meeting, at 6 p.m. today in the Classroom to hold a consultation with its attorney during executive session.

During its regular portion of the meeting board members will hear a report form the medical staff on the Allied Health privileges of Steve Brown, CRNA, the Allied Health privileges of Robert Dickens, CRNA, the additional privileges on Oladele Olusanya, MD, the removal of privileges on C.S. Lee, MD, the resignation of Timothy George, MD, the amendment to its medical staff bylaws and the approval polices on advance directives, organ and tissue procurement, abuse and transfer of patient to another facility.

The board will also discuss and consider the patient/family grievance/complaint policy, the appointment of an officer to calculate the effective and rollback tax rates for 2002, the 2002 planning calendar, the sale of property located at 914 S. Willow St. and 1100 S. Pecan St. and the physical therapy contract.

The board is also scheduled to approve its monthly tax report, financial statements and budget amendments and the payment of bills and hear reports from the Hospital Auxiliary and administrator's report.

TxDOT officials give update on I-20 project

taff Writer
PECOS, Tues., July 29, 2003 -- Texas Department of Transportation officials and community leaders got together this morning at the Reeves County Civic Center to get a progress report on TxDOT's landscaping project at the U.S. 285-Interstate 20 interchange on the south side of Pecos.

Laurie Williams, landscape architect for TxDOT's Odessa District office, told those at the meeting that $130,000 has been budgeted for the project, which is designed to give the interchange a desert arroyo look within the islands between the main I-20 lanes and the exit and entrance ramps. However, she said that the entire project would probably cost twice the currently budgeted funds, and asked for the community's help in donating materials to allow the state funds to be used elsewhere during construction.

"This is the plan we're working towards," she said, referring to a diagram of the proposed interchange that was handed out to those at the meeting. "The more donations we get towards the resource materials, the more we're going to see. I think we can do this in the next year to year-and-a-half."

TxDOT already had placed large rocks in the interchange area that will be used towards construction. Materials being sought include dirt for the berms where the arroyo will be located and plants that will be placed in the interchange islands.

County Judge Jimmy Galindo said the tree farm in place at the Reeves County Detention Center could supply some of the plants for the project, which was first outlined four years ago.

Pecos Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Linda Gholson asked the TxDOT officials if they could provide better updates on the project, to help build community interest. "We've known the project is going on, but to what extent and who's doing it is probably not that well known."

Area Engineer Mohammad Moabed said he has talked to community organizations in Fort Stockton about the work TxDOT is involved in around that city, and could do the same on the projects planned or underway in Pecos.

Also during the meeting, Williams provided a list of TxDOT landscaping projects planned in the Pecos area between now and 2010. They include work on the I-20 rest area east of Toyah in 2005, and work on various other entrances to Pecos in the ensuing years, though Reeves County Precinct 4 Commissioner Hivi Rayos said, "I haven't heard anything about the north side project."

Rayos asked earlier in the meeting why TxDOT had not done any work on improving the north entry into Pecos on U.S. 285, adding he has been trying to work on improving the roadside park just north of the city limits. He said about 50 trees had been planted in the area, but were having problems due to low pressure on the city's north side water line.

"We have a 10-year plan," said Larry Levario, who is in charge of TxDOT's Pecos office. "We have to start on the main one ... if we can't get water from the city, there's no reason to plant trees."

Galindo said at the outset of the meeting that the county wanted to work with TxDOT in developing a unified theme for all entrances into Pecos.

"We're looking at the West of the Pecos Rodeo as the overriding theme to the area," Galindo said, though another suggestion for red clay and sandstone pillars at the highway entrances was questioned by Williams, who said the pillars would have to be at least 30 feet from the roadway to meet TxDOT requirements.

Galindo said the county does own property on either side of the roadway, and Williams said, "In some places it may be the county needs to do it on county property."

"This roadway (I-20) carries 7,000 people a day. If you can pull 1 percent of the people into town that will have a major effect on economic development," Moabed said.

Other ideas centered on the U.S. 285 and I-20 intersection included planting a wildflower bed within the arroyo landscaping and erecting silhouettes of a cattle drive on the salt flat east of the intersection that could be seen by westbound drivers. The silhouettes would be similar to ones in place outside Jal, N.M., Galindo said, though the cost would be about $16,000.

Williams said any further work on the project is still six months off. "We won't be doing anything on these plans until after the first of the year," she said, adding that another meeting on the intersection project could be scheduled for next spring.

Area Girl Scouts plan conference

PECOS, Tues., July 29, 2003 -- Girl Scouts of the Permian Basin will host the Just For Girl Scouts of the Permian Basin will host the Just For You Volunteer Conference for all adult volunteers of the council as well as any member of the community with an interest in working with the Girl Scout organization on Saturday, Aug. 9.

The conference will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., at Odessa College in the ET Building in Room 130.

The fee for the event is $12 per person if registered by this Thursday, or $15 after that date or at the door. The registration fee includes lunch, a free gift, workshops and door prizes.

For more information contact the Girl Scouts at 550-2688 or 1-800-594-5677 ext. 309.


PECOS, Tues., July 29, 2003 -- High Monday 97. Low this morning 68. Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the mid 60s. Southeast winds 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 90s. Light and variable winds becoming east 5 to 15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Thursday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. Highs in the upper 80s. Friday: Partly cloudy with isolated thunderstorms. Lows in the upper 60s. Highs in the mid 90s.

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 2003 by Pecos Enterprise