Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Hospital board backs Vernor, clarifies rules
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 2, 2003 -- Reeves County Hospital Board
clarified the responsibilities of both the board, the hospital's chief
executive officer and the hospital's staff on Tuesday, during an
executive session to discuss personnel issues.
The meeting was designed to clarify the position that the board's
job is to be the policy setting body for the hospital, while the CEO's
job is to run the hospital, and the staff's job is to administer health
The reasoning was that there might be concern that there was
"probably a conflict of understanding of how policy is set," hospital
board president Linda Gholson said.
"The fact is that some policies have not been looked at in many
years and the confusion arose over the hospital's need to decide what
is best for the most efficient running of hospital operation," she
said. "The board must set policy, even if a policy is outdated,
changing it cannot bypass rule setting regulations."
After the executive session the board took action to state its
position that the board hired and fully supports Robert Vernor as
hospital CEO, and that hospital personnel issues must be handled
according to hospital policy. They also said Vernor needs work to
improve administration communication with hospital staff, maintain an
open door policy, be encouraging and receptive to employee concerns and
address the issues put forth in a staff letter of Sept. 10.
The board did not release a copy of the Sept. 10 letter, which
apparently was critical of Vernor and resulted in Tuesday's executive
The position was adopted unanimously, on a motion from board member
Elizer Flores and a second on the motion by board member Bill Wendt.
The board also requested that the joint conference committee, a
board made up of representatives from all three branches of the
hospital, meet monthly instead of quarterly to address any progress
made in inter-hospital communication.
"The hospital board, administration and staff must all be focused on
providing the best possible health care to the area that is possible,"
Also on the Tuesday's agenda was the approval for the hospital to
set up a non-profit organization through the Reeves County Hospital
District. The organization will allow the hospital to administer the
new foreign doctors it will be bringing in to staff the hospital's
expanded facilities, include the new kidney dialysis unit.
Texas law requires that any doctor working on a J-1 visa must go
through a non-profit organization to assure that all of the proper
certifications are up to date and in order. A J-1 visa is the typical
work visa for employment in the United States.
This organization will allow the hospital to simplify their hiring
of the two new doctors. It would still be possible to have the doctors
working at the hospital; only, they would have to be routed through a
non-profit organization, the nearest being in Midland/Odessa. This move
will simplify and even save the hospital a little money, by shortening
the loop that the doctors will have to go through before beginning
Latest redistricting plan affects Ward County
From Staff and Wire Reports
Another proposal for redrawing West Texas congressional districts, this
one proposed by State Sen. Robert Duncan, would again do little to
affect District 23, which includes Reeves County and the Town of Pecos
City. But the proposal would put Ward County and the city of Barstow
into a new district that would include Midland and Odessa but neither
Lubbock nor San Angelo.
The county and Midland-Odessa would be paired with Abilene in
District 11, and would also include the cities of Fredericksburg,
Kerrville and Bandera in the Texas Hill Country. Midland, Odessa and
Ward County are currently part of District 19, which includes Lubbock
and most of the South Plains and northern Permian Basin.
Texas House Speaker Tom Craddick has sought to create a new
congressional district that would allow the Midland-Odessa area to have
its own representative in Congress. In the special election held this
past June, Lubbock businessman Randy Neugebauer defeated Midlander
Michael Conaway in a runoff race to fill the vacant seat. Neugebauer
replaced Larry Combest who announced his retirement shortly after
winning re-election in November.
District 19, under the Duncan plan, would include Lubbock and San
Angelo, and run as far east as Palo Pinto County, near Fort Worth. The
northern Panhandle would be in District 13, which would also include
the Wichita Falls area.
The only major change to District 23 would be a restoration of
eastern Webb County, which was removed in the most-recently passed
congressional redistricting bill. Webb County includes the city of
Laredo, which would be reunited in District 23, while part of Bexar
County in the San Antonio area would be removed from the district.
District 23 is represented by San Antonio Republican Henry Bonilla,
while District 11 in its current form is represented by Austin Democrat
Conaway, who was vice president, secretary and treasurer of Bush
Exploration for five years, and is a personal friend of President Bush,
said he would run for the proposed Midland-based congressional district
if Craddick wins his fight with Senate Republicans on how to draw West
Craddick has said he wants a Midland district that Conaway can win.
"I know Tom is way set to get it drawn the way he wants to or it
goes down," Conaway, 54, said in Wednesday editions of the Houston
Chronicle. "Tom's prepared to go either way: not have a bill at all or
get it done the way he wants it done."
House and Senate conference committee negotiators have been
fighting over how to draw West Texas districts.
Sue Brannon, the Midland County Republican chair, said she knows of
no Republicans who would challenge Conaway in a primary if the new
district is created.
Congress. Conaway, a certified public accountant, audited Bush's
company for three years before joining it as vice president.
Conaway later was the senior vice president and chief financial
officer of the United Bank of Midland, the institution that loaned Bush
$500,000 to buy his share of the Texas Rangers baseball team. Conaway
said he had no role in Bush getting that loan.
Conaway said Bush sparked his interest in getting into politics.
Prewit named head of Presidio checkpoint
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 2, 2003 -- A former Pecos law enforcement
officer has been named the port director for the Presidio port of entry
by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency.
John Prewit was named port director last Friday, according to The
(Presidio) International, and officials hope this will bring a little
continuity to an office that has been somewhat of a revolving door over
Prewit replaces interim port director Barry Miller, who on Friday
was appointed director of the Fabens and Fort Hancock ports of entry.
Formerly a police officer and sheriff's deputy in Pecos, Prewit was
first assigned to Presidio in 1993, and served as head of Immigration
and Naturalization Service operations at the port before that agency
was folded into the newly created Department of Homeland Security in
March of this year.
Not too long ago, the Presidio port of entry had three different
port directors, one each for Customs, Immigration and Naturalization
Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant
Health Inspection Service. On March 1 of this year, however, these and
other agencies were merged into the Bureau of Customs and Border
Protection, a division of the newly created Department of Homeland
Officials praised Prewit's decade of experience in Presidio as a
valuable asset as the port continues to wind its way through the
Prewit's appointment came the same week that Mexico officially
opened an improved highway between Ojinaga and Chihuahua City. The new
road is better able to handle truck traffic, and is expected to
increase traffic between Chihuahua and most sections of Texas. Truck
traffic currently goes through the El Paso-Juarez area, while the new
route would cut 150 miles off the trip between Chihuahua and the
Permian Basin and other parts of the state.
New 432 area code will be mandatory starting Saturday
AUSTIN (AP) - Starting Saturday, people calling the 915, 432 and 325
area codes will have to use the specific code to get through to the
regions as a grace period ends, the Public Utility said Wednesday.
The PUC last year approved dividing the 915 area code into three
regions. The three-way split will prevent the need for additional area
codes in the three regions for an estimated 17 to 20 years, the PUC
The 432 area code covers the Trans-Pecos and Permian Basin areas,
while the 325 area code will cover the area around the Concho Valley.
The El Paso area and Hudspeth County in Far West Texas will retain the
915 area code.
PECOS, Thurs., Oct. 2, 2003 -- High Wed. 82. Low this morning 59.
Forecast for tonight: Partly cloudy. Lows near 60. South winds 10 to 15
mph. Fri.: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs
85 to 90. South winds 10 to 15 mph. Fri. night: Partly cloudy. A slight
chance of thunderstorms in the evening. Lows in the mid 50s to near 60.
South winds near 10 mph. Sat.: Partly cloudy. Highs near 80. NE winds
10 to 15 mph. Sat. night: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 50s.
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