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The work is being done in the two inner rooms of the Judge's office.
County Attorney Bill Weinacht said today the work is being done by two
county employee, but the materials will be paid for by private donation.
County Auditor Lynn Owens said he has not yet received any bills for the
work, so he has no estimate of its cost.
Galindo is in Austin this week, attending sessions at the Lyndon Baines
Johnson School of Public Affairs, but Weinacht said he had talked to him
over the weekend about the work.
"He said he wanted to repaint the rooms to make them brighter and more
open and that when he went to pull the paneling off pieces of sheet rock
came off, too, so he had to re-do the walls," Weinacht said.
Weinacht said that he, Galindo and two county workers had carried the
jury table from the third floor County Court-at-Law chambers down to the
County Judge's office. They put it in one of the room's in that office
to make the room seem more like a committee room and less like a judge's
chamber, he said.
"Jimmy wants to change the County Judge's office layout to give the
impression of a judge who wants to meet with the public on an equal to
equal basis. He doesn't want to talk to people from behind a big desk,"
According to figures the department sends to the Uniform Crime Report of
the Texas Department of Public Safety each month, the 1994 grand total
of crimes was 523, compared to a grand total of 572 in 1993 and 629 in
Assaults, however, show the opposite trend, increasing from 81 two years
ago to 154 in 1993 and 202 last year.
"It's hard to know exactly what factors contribute to the assault
figures," said Police Chief Troy Moore.
"If you look at each of the incidents, usually you find that alcohol is
involved, but another factor could be that people are reporting the
assaults more. People are getting fed up," he added.
Reeves County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Fred Lujan echoed that
"It could be a lot of things, but the one thing that I keep coming back
to is that more people may be reporting the assaults. And that's good,"
Moore said he'd much rather emphasize the 49 case decline in overall
crimes than the 48 case increase in one category.
"Burglaries fell from 107 in '93 to 62 in '94. Larceny theft fell from
298 in '93 to 247 in '94. Motor vehicle theft fell from 8 in '93 to 7 in
'94," he said.
There was one forcible rape in 1993, but none recorded in 1994. However,
while the 1993 UCR report shows zero homicides in 1993, Pecos was rocked
in the 1994 by the alleged murders on his mother and sister by Robert
Five homicides were reported in Pecos in 1992, four of those also in a
family-related case. No murders were reported here in 1991 or 1990.
"There are some crimes over which the police department has no control
and crimes of passion are among these," Moore said.
"We'd rather point out that through increased patrols, increased drug
enforcement and the increased use of programs like Neighborhood Watch
and Crime Stoppers we've cut down on crimes like vehicle theft, larceny
and burglary, where you can make a difference through better police
enforcement," he added.
Another set of crime statistics, the Uniform Index Crimes of the Federal
Bureau of Investigation, which records arson cases, shows no arson cases
in Pecos in 1993. In 1994, however, police arrested 3 youths for setting
a series of fires Halloween night.
County Attorney Bill Weinacht said today that Reeves County has made no
attempt to advertise for candidates to be the new permanent Roads and
Bridges Engineer/Administrator. It is not required to do son, Weinacht
Item 7 on the published agenda for Monday's regular meeting of the
Commissioners Court says, "Appoint permanent Road Bridge
Asked what kind of action "Appoint" meant on the agenda, Weinacht
replied, "What do you think it means?"
He added that it was not within his jurisdiction to place the item on
the agenda. That decision was made by County Judge Jimmy Galindo from
Austin, where he has been attending sessions at the Lyndon Baines
Johnson School of Public Affairs, Weinacht said.
The position has been held on an interim basis for the past seven months
by Russ Salcido, who was appointed following the death on May 13, 1994,
of County Road Administrator Mack Ham from injuries suffered in an
An advertisement for candidates for the permanent Roads and Bridges
position was posted Tuesday on the bulletin board of the Reeves County
Courthouse. It was made up of an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of typing paper with
computer-generated print announcing the opening.
Weinacht said today no other attempt to advertise the position has been
made by the County. He said, however, that two newspaper articles
written about the County Judges office by the Enterprise constituted
"We've already run two advertisements on the front page of the
Enterprise. Why should we run anymore advertisements?" Weinacht said.
"We've already run two advertisements on the front page of the
Enterprise. Why should we run anymore advertisements?" Weinacht said.
"We've already got the Roads and Bridges Administrator. Appointing him's
just a formality," he added.
"Nobody's out looking for an engineer. That's all bulls--t. It's the
newspaper making up go through this charade," he said.
"I'll tell you what we've got. We've got all these people over here
expressing their opinion, saying they want to keep Russ as the Roads and
Bridges Administrator, then we've got the newspaper over on the other
side trying to create an issue out of keeping him," he added.
"If (Enterprise publisher) Mac McKinnon wants to tell us how to run
County business, he needs to run for county office so we can beat the
s--t out of him," he said.
To the Enterprise reporter interviewing him, he added, "I hope you've
secured your job by writing those stories about this."
Weinacht said he had no comment about the legality of appointing Salcido
after so short a period of advertisement. He added that as county
attorney, after researching the relevant statutes, he had determined
that there are no requirements concerning advertising the position of
county roads and bridges administrator.
A spokesperson for the Texas Attorney General's office said today that
John Fuller, the AG's County Government Specialist, has said there is no
statute that requires that every county government position be
advertised, but that there may be a specific reference to the Roads and
Bridges Engineer/Administrator position in a relevant section of
Vernon's Texas Civil Statutes.
The AG's spokesperson said no one in that office has had time to
research that section, as of noon today.
In January 8, 1974 opinion, the AG's office referred to an amended
article of VTCS, which said, "The County Road Engineer shall be
appointed by the Commissioners Court. He shall be a licensed
professional engineer, experienced in road construction and
maintenance... If the Commissioners Court is not able to employ a
licensed professional engineer for any reason then the Commissioners
Court is authorized to employ a qualified road administrative officer,
who shall be known as the County Road Administrator."
"'For any reason', therefore, would mean any reason having to do with
inability to hire a professional engineer who is qualified according to
the standards set by the Commissioners' Court. Where it can be shown
that a licensed professional engineer, who meets the standards
authorized by the Commissioners' Court, is available and willing to
accept the job, it may be an abuse of discretion for the Commissioners'
Court to hire a road administrator," the opinion said.
The AG's spokesperson said to day, however, that it is impossible for
the AG's office to give an opinion on the definition of "for any
reason," because that is a finding of fact.
"A judge and jury in district court would have to look at the facts and
decide if a good faith effort was made to hire an engineer for the job,"
the AG's office said.
Weinacht, himself, told the Enterprise Tuesday that in 1992, when former
Roads and Bridges Administrator Mack Ham was hired, ads were placed in
cities other than Pecos.
Former County Judge Mike Harrison said that, to the best of his
recollection, an extensive advertising campaign was carried out in 1001,
when Reeves County's first Roads and Bridges Engineer, Buddy Wilson, was
Three of the four County Commissioners were not able to be contacted to
comment on the agenda item.
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin, the only Commissioner who was able
to be contacted said he favored hiring Salcido for the job, but had some
reservations about the current hiring process.
"I've said before, Russ is a good choice. I would like to keep him. I
know of no other applicants that we have been asked to interview so far.
It is a public position, though, and we need to advertise, to give
everybody a chance to apply," he said.
Jimmy Lee Morman, 42, of Blue Ridge was pronounced dead at 1:04 a.m.
Sunday. Marsh ordered an autopsy, and the body was taken to a Lubbock
Marsh said that another trucker traveling with Morman said they had
stopped east of Big Spring to eat earlier in the evening. When Morman
became ill, he parked his rig at the Flying J Truck Stop on I-20 at U.S.
285, from where Pecos Ambulance Service transported him to the hospital.
"We find that probable cause does exist, based on all the facts and
circumstances surrounding this case," the grand jury wrote in their
report. "We believe the appropriate tribunal to resolve this matter is
in a civil court rather than a criminal proceeding. Therefore, we
request the state proceed no further with this criminal action."
The grand jury based its findings on the fact that Garcia is no longer
employed as PHA executive director, that his accuse, Noemi Arevalo, has
found adequate housing with the PHA, and that Garcia is being sued over
this matter in United States District Court.
However, the lawsuit filed by Arevalo on Jan. 10 in U.S. District Court
in Pecos lists only the Pecos Housing Authority, and not Garcia, as a
plaintiff in the case. She seeks $450,000 damages for loss of privilege,
mental anguish and suffering and mental impairment, plus $1.5 million in
punitive damages against the PHA.
A newly-appointed housing authority board dismissed Garcia as executive
director in September, after the charges were filed. He served in his
post with the PHA for just over a year.
Although no monetary damages are being sought from him, Garcia is cited
in the complaint filed as part of the federal court suit. In it, Arevalo
claims that she sought to rent an apartment with the housing authority
while Garcia was executive director.
Arevalo said that Garcia sought to exchange access to a PHA apartment in
exchange for sexual favors. The harassment allegedly occurred on more
than one occasion, violating Arevalo's rights of equal protection and
due process as provided by the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
Constitution, said Steve Hershberger, the Odessa attorney representing
While the grand jury opted for the 'no bill' decision, despite saying
there was probable cause, they also said "Mr. Garcia was thoroughly
embarrassed and degraded by the newspaper," referring to stories about
the case in the Enterprise, though no specifics were offered.
"The grand jury met and deliberated and arrived at a solution, and I
have confidence in the grand jury's decision," said 143rd District
Attorney John Stickels. "Based on the entire evidence of the case it is
my opinion that justice has been served."
The grand jury was the second to hear Arevalo's charges. Garcia was
indicted on Sept. 8 for alleged official oppression resulting from the
sexual harassment claims, but District Judge Bob Parks granted a motion
to Quash that indictment on Jan. 6.
Defense attorney Tony Chavez's motion to quash cited a faulty
indictment, and Stickels then resubmitted the evidence to the current
Precinct 3 Commissioner Herman Tarin made a motion to accept the
insurance proposal as outlined by the TAC in the annual amount of
$41,811 for the 1995 fiscal year.
"We've called this special meeting because of unforeseen circumstances,"
said County Judge Jimmy Galindo. "Our property insurance will expire
tomorrow and we need to make a decision on this matter."
The county received two insurance proposals, one from Pecos Insurance
Agency from Pecos, which supplies the 1994 county insurance policy, and
a proposal from the Texas Association of Counties.
"Pecos Insurance Agency is asking for a bigger deductible for applying
to riot and civil commotion only," said Kathleen Miller, insurance
consultant for Reeves County. "The reason they are asking for the bigger
deductible on this item, is because of the incident that happened out at
the Law Enforcement Center last year."
About 150 inmates staged a 6 1/2-hour riot on Aug. 28 in the prison
yard. It included setting a fire that destroyed a recreation building on
the southeast side of the yard, along with most of the contents of the
"Warden (Joe) Trujillo has already taken steps to prevent that from
happening again and we certainly hope that it won't," said Galindo.
Pecos Insurance Agency quoted a $50,000 deductible applying to riot and
civil commotion only and $5,000 deductible applying to all other perils.
The total annual premium bid for the above coverage was set at $35,022.
"There's just a slight difference in the premiums, but I would recommend
that the county go with TAC," Miller said. "Taking into consideration
the extra coverage you will receive such as loss of revenue, extra
expense, loss of rents and debris removal, when you get all of those in
a package you get a really good deal."
"TAC does not require the $50,000 deductible," said Miller.
"We'd have to ask the county auditor, Lynn Owens in regards to the
budget and line items for this particular expense," Galindo said.
"We have insurance budgeted at this time, and if extra money is needed
there's some in the Roads and Bridges," said Owens. "The only problem at
the moment is the liability funds."
"I'm sorry I can't give you a specific answer right now, but that's just
how the budget is right now," he added. "Based on the general funds
situation I would have to go with the TAC proposal."
The board also named superintendent Mario Sotelo as P-B-T Hearing
Officer to handle all expulsion hearings, and held expulsion hearing for
four students in executive session.
The alternative education program would handle up to 30 students in
grades 7-12. It would be for high at-risk students; those who have
either been expelled or are facing expulsion hearings; students with
severe discipline problems; and home bound for lower grade level or
special education students.
"Right now, we've already identified about 20 students in need of help,
plus those at the (county juvenile) detention center," Sotelo told board
members, adding that the plan presented Monday was only a temporary
solution. A long-term plan would probably go before the board sometime
Under the plan, a class will be established at the Carver Learning
Center from 8 a.m. to 12 noon, with another in the afternoons from 1-4
p.m. at the detention center. "We would also allow for an optional
nighttime session (at Carver), if the need arises," Sotelo said.
The alternate ed program is designed to help students who have had
problems working within the traditional classroom situation.
"What we concluded is we do have the numbers out there who need the
service," said board member Alberto Alvarez, who also serves as the
county's juvenile detention officer and conducted a study of the
program's feasibility with Sotelo and TLC coordinator Lucila Valenzuela.
"We have ones who have failed and are 2-3 years behind who become
discipline problems. What we want to do is take them out of the
traditional teaching environment and put them into a different
environment," Alvarez said.
Goals of the program include GED preparation, academic recovery and
crisis intervention, in addition to servicing expelled students.
"Some students will catch up and some time return to a traditional
(class) setting. Some others are so far behind there isn't enough time
to catch up, so we prepare them to take a GED," Sotelo said.
Alvarez said training would probably be mandatory for teachers to keep
them from digressing into traditional teaching methods, and he stressed
the program should not be seen by other teachers as a place to send
students for minor rules violations.
Sotelo said the program would have three instructors. He suggested David
Reyes as the lead instructor, with Delia Alvarez as his helper during
the morning sessions at the Carver Center. Elias Payan, currently
assigned as a teacher at the juvenile detention center, would be moved
to morning duties at Carver. He would also work from 1-2:10 p.m. at the
JDC, before leaving for his school coaching duties.
"David is retired, but he does a lot of work with the adult recovery
program and the GED," Sotelo said the program would be 'zero tolerance'
as far as discipline went. "If they don't want to take advantage of it,
they can go home and never return," he said.
"I don't want to make it attractive to go over there, but I think it's a
great deal," said board member Hugh Box, who made the motion to approve
the plan, which was seconded by Earl Bates.
In executive session, the board voted to expel three Pecos High School
students, while on a motion by board member Jaroy Moore and seconded by
Billie Sadler, no expulsion action was taken against a Lamar Sixth Grade
Middle School student. However, he was barred from extracurricular
events for the remainder of the school year, and will be evaluated again
at the end of the current six-weeks grading period.
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Copyright 1996 Pecos Enterprise
324 S. Cedar, Box 2057, Pecos TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321