Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
RCDC to face cuts following deal with BOP
By ROSIE FLORES
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
"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
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,"
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,"
"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
Herrera enjoys "thankless" job at CJC
By JENNIFER GALVAN
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
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.
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
By JON FULBRIGHT
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
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
"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,"
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
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.
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 2003 by Pecos Enterprise