Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
City Council selects McKinney for interim city manager's post
By BRENDEN BRIGGS
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 11, 2003 -- The town of Pecos City Council
appointed Police Chief Clay McKinney to serve as interim city manager,
following a special executive session this morning at City Hall.
The move was taken to replace outgoing City Manager, Carlos Yerena,
who is leaving at the end of the week to take the city manager's job in
The council approved the appointment of McKinney to the position for
a salary of $800 per month. The motion passed on a split vote, with
Councilman Gerald Tellez and Councilman Michael Benavides dissenting.
McKinney has served as Town of Pecos City Police Chief for the past
six years, after previously serving as an investigator with the Pecos
Police Department. Yerena served as City Manger for three years, during
which time the police department moved into its new Criminal Justice
Center on the southwest side of town.
Council members did not say if McKinney would handle his new job out
of his office at the CJC or out of the city manager's office at City
The council is set to begin the advertisement of the full time
position as soon as the qualifications are approved during regular
meeting on Thursday. City Attorney Scott Johnson was asked by the
council to find the qualifications used for the last solicitation for
the position of city manager and present them at the next meeting.
The Pecos Economic Development Corp budget for 2004 is also slated
for discussion on Thursday. The item was tabled at the last meeting due
to the short amount of time the council had to review it.
PEDC President Gari Ward is also to be on hand to answer any
questions on the budget and to give the council an update on the
projects that the corporation is currently working on.
Also on the agenda for Thursday is the discussion-approval of two
change orders for the South Worsham Field development project,
concerning the telemetry-electrical systems and the pumps-motors areas
on the project. The final engineering walk through was scheduled for
late October, with a city official walk through scheduled for soon
The council is also scheduled to approve bids for the award of the
city employee health care contract. Bids are set to open tomorrow, with
final approval coming at the meeting on Thursday.
The next regularly scheduled city council meeting is planned for two
weeks from this Thursday, however, because that is Thanksgiving Day,
the council is set to either reschedule the meeting or to cancel it
Approval of the fire officials elected in last Thursday's election
and the consideration of an appointment of a representative to the
Reeves County Appraisal District finish out the agenda.
Brother of fifth grade teacher writing to students
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 11, 2003 -- A group of fifth grade students have
been busy writing to a Pecos soldier currently serving his country in
In return the Bessie Haynes Elementary students have been receiving
news from the faraway country.
"Greetings from Iraq," wrote Jaime Bustamante Natividad.
"I was born and raised in Pecos, I am a member of the graduating
class of 2000," said Natividad. "I am also a soldier in the United
States Army and was stationed in Fort Hood before our deployment into
Natividad is a member of the Army's 4th Infantry Division
"This letter is being written in appreciation from myself and any
other service member from our great little town, who all probably feel
the same way," he wrote the students. "I would like to 'Thank' the
community for all the help and support that we have received from the
people of Pecos.
"My supporters include my parents, Ruben and Margarita Natividad and
Mrs. Debbie Flores, (a fifth-grade teacher at Bessie Haynes Elementary
School), as well as some young students: Allyson Salcido, Jake Varela,
Kendra Villanueva, Mallory Orona and Norberto Salgado.
"I thank you all for the letters of support and the care packages.
Also a thanks to anyone else out in the community who is writing and
supporting other service members of our great little town, or anywhere
else. I speak from experience, receiving letters and packages from
people showing you support and appreciation is a great morale booster,
especially because of the situations, circumstances, and living
conditions we find ourselves in. 'Thank You' for the support and I am
pretty sure everyone else feels the same, it is greatly appreciated.
"In closing, I would just like to say "hi" to my wife, Rebecca and
my kids, Samantha Nicole and Elijah James. I love and miss you all very
much. As well as my brothers and sisters: Rosie, Erlinda, Rafael,
Israel, Ismael and Brenda. And again to you, the Pecos Community,
PEDC to meet with developer of new housing
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 11, 2003 -- The Pecos Economic Development Corp. is
scheduled to talk with developer Vaughn Mitchell during an open meeting
on Thursday at 4 p.m. in the council chambers at City Hall.
The meeting is to discuss and review Mitchell's credentials, his
previous projects and to let the public get a general feel of how the
project is to work.
The project is a proposed rental housing development to be located
on the Robinson property, a 110-tract section of town between D Street
and Robison Street (old FM 1216) on the north side of town.
If plans are approved, The Texas Department of Housing and Community
Affairs will sponsor 60 percent of the capital required to build the
units. The project will cost approximately $4 million, with cost of
each unit estimated at $90,000 apiece.
Similar state assisted housing projects have already been built in
the neighboring communities of Midland, Odessa, and Fort Stockton.
Each unit will be a three-bedroom, two-bath, stand-alone house.
One-car garages, central heat and AC and 50 feet of street frontage are
the proposed amenities to accompany each unit.
The rent will be fixed at $400 a month and the units must be rented
for at least 15 years before they can be sold.
Wackenhut reimbursements approved
By ROSIE FLORES
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 11, 2003 -- Reeves County Commissioners approved
reimbursement payments to the new management company for the Reeves
County Detention Center, along with a contract for a new perimeter
fence at the facility, during their regularly scheduled meeting on
Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing payment of Wackenhut
Corrections Corporation reimbursements, on approval of County Auditor
Lynn Owens, prior to submittal to the commissioner's court. The
commissioners adopted the resolution presented by Owens.
"This is very much like the agreement we have with the juvenile
board," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
Commissioners signed a 10-year contract the previous week with
Wackenhut to manage the RCDC I and II units, and to help the county
market RCDC III, which is in need of prisoners to meet its $40 million
The approval of the perimeter fence for the RCDC III addition was a
item that had previously been discusses by commissioners.
"If you recall, this item was re-bid," said Owens.
Owens said that the county had received two bids, one from Texas
Commercial Fence and the other from Anchor Fencing.
"We had to re-bid it, because we only had one bid that was turned in
correctly the first time, the other bid had been faxed and it needed to
be in a package," said Owens.
The bids were from Texas Commercial Fence in the amount of $165,000
and from Anchor in the amount of $265,000. "The last time, Texas
Commercial Fence bid $237,000, so we're saving a considerable amount of
money this time around," said Owens.
"Do we really need that fence?" asked Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe
Arredondo. "Now, that someone else is taking over the prison, I don't
see any reason to spend that money."
"I think it will provide a more secure perimeter for RCDC III," said
Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "And yes, we definitely need that
"I think this will help us in the future," said Galindo.
RCDC Warden Rudy Franco told the group that U.S. Bureau of Prisons
had expressed some concern about the perimeter. "There was an official
citation on deviation because the perimeter fence is not separated from
R-III," said Franco.
The BOP provides about 2,000 prisons for the RCDC I and II units,
but balked at placing any more prisoners in RCDC III earlier this year.
The agency said it had no need of any more bed space at that time, but
recently put out a request for between 1,500 and 2,000 additional beds
at one or more correctional facilities around the country.
Franco said that they needed a full perimeter fence for R-3 in order
to operate the facility. "We really do need that fence," he said.
"The funds will come from the contingency funds, from the bond
money," said Owens.
A payment to LMD Architect for expense reimbursement on work on the
fence was approved.
The group approved the purchase of a vehicle that is currently being
used by the District Attorney's office.
Under reports from various departments, 143rd DA Randy Reynolds told
the group that they had been leasing a vehicle, that is currently being
used by the office investigator.
"We can either keep on leasing it, or purchase it out right and it
will belong to the county," said Reynolds.
Reynolds told the group that he had already requested the funds to
purchase the vehicle from the forfeiture funds. "We can pay off the
balance of $7,800 and it will belong to the county, but the DA's office
will be using it," said Reynolds. "The funds will not come from the
taxpayers," he said.
Reynolds said that in the event the DA's office no longer had use
for the vehicle, it would go to the county.
Weinacht defends new position; firm lowers RCDC bond ratings
From Staff and Wire Reports
A day after a contentious meeting of Reeves County Commissioners over
his appointment as County Monitor for the Reeves County Detention
Center, local attorney Bill Weinacht released a statement defending his
position from criticism by Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin.
Weinacht said his new job was similar to the one her previously held
before Wackenhut Correctional Corp. was given management operations of
the 2,165-bed RCDC I and II units.
The argument came the same day that a New York bond rating company
lowered the rating on the county's RCDC bonds from 'BB' to 'CCC', a
level that is considered junk status.
Reeves County entered into a 10-year contract with Wackenhut after
county officials were unable to find inmates to fill the new 960-bed
RCDC III addition. Bond payments on the $40 million facility were to
come from money earned for housing inmates, and because the bonds were
supported by the RCDC I and II units, a default on RCDC III would
affect all three units of the $89 million facility.
Wackenhut has agreed to make bond payments on RCDC III for the next
year under terms of the contract, which also includes the definition of
the duties of the County Monitor position.
"The president of Wackenhut offered me a position with Wackenhut as
legal counsel and they are a great company, but I would have been
prohibited from representing the County and I just felt uneasy about
that," Weinacht said in his statement. "The law requires that the
County provide monitoring when a private vendor manages the facility.
The County can't just sign it over to a management company and walk
"The Sheriff (Andy Gomez) offered me the monitoring position and I
accepted. I would have gone with the other job if I had known Tarin was
going to be so upset about it. Everything stayed the same with regard
to my salary, but the job title and duties changed from legal council
"I wish I could help Herman, but we all told him not to promise the
community center in Balmorhea unless he was going to get it done,"
Weinacht had served as the county's legal representative at the RCDC
since 1997, after serving four years as Reeves County Attorney. His
salary was set at $50,000 annually, though Tarin said during Monday's
meeting that the 10-year contract for the County Monitor's position was
Tarin and Precinct 2 Commissioner Norman Hill voted against the
contract at Monday's meeting, while Precinct 1 Commissioner Felipe
Arredondo, Precinct 4 Commissioner Gilberto "Hivi" Rayos and County
Judge Jimmy B. Galindo voted in favor of the agreement.
The bond rating downgrade came from Fitch Ratings Service, and was
the second downgrade by the company in the past three months. The bonds
were downgraded two steps from 'BB' to 'CCC,' Fitch Ratings Senior
Director Jason Dickerson said Monday, after being lowered from 'BBB-'
to 'BB' in September.
The BB rating is considered "below investment grade," which meant
the bonds qualified for junk status.
"We now consider the bonds to be at high risk of default," Dickerson
said of Monday's downgrade. He said continued failure to find prisoners
for the new wing presents serious challenges for the county.
A call seeking comment from Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo wasn't
immediately returned Monday.
Last week, Wackenhut Corrections Corp. signed a 10-year contract to
take over operations of the complex. Wackenhut is an international
company with 49 correctional facilities around the world and employs
about 9,000 people.
Dickerson said that if Wackenhut is successful in filling the beds
Fitch will re-examine the bond rating.
Fitch said the detention center's relationship with the bureau was
vital to its bond rating and added that it is "skeptical" that the
relationship will resume in a way that would fill the beds.
Under the contract with Wackenhut, the company will manage RCDC I
and III and will help the county market RCDC III to federal and state
officials as a site to house prisoners. Wackenhut also has an option to
manage RCDC III if prisoners are found for that facility.
A&M Station hosting meeting
PECOS, Tues., Nov. 11, 2003 -- A late-season look at summer annual
forages and their production in Reeves County is slated for 9:30 a.m.,
Friday at the Texas A&M Research Station near exit 33, West of
The one-hour meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. and producers can view and
learn about production for different types of summer sorghum/sudans,
forage sorghums and hybrid pearl millets, including new hybrids with
the brown midrib and photoperiod sensitive traits.
One CEU is offered. Tommy Dominguez, Reeves/Loving Ag. Extension
Agent and Calvin Throstle, Extension Agronomist, Lubbock, will host the
For more information contact the Reeves County Texas Cooperative
Extension Office at 432-447-9041.
Myrtle Strong and Stephen Perkins
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