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County commissioners agreed to the salary adjustments late Tuesday
afternoon during the regular meeting of the Commissioners Court which
began on Monday.
Commissioners unanimously agreed to the raises, with Commissioner
Precinct 4 Bernardo Martinez absent for the meetings. Martinez was
attending a district trial concerning a Pecos Industrial Foundation Loan.
However, several Reeves County Courthouse employees gathered in front of
County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo's office early this morning to protest the
raises, saying nobody at the courthouse has been able to receive a
The RCDC raises came following a number of resignations out at the
facility. Several employees sought employment at the Texas Department of
Criminal Justice's Fort Stockton prison facilities, stating that the pay
there was a lot higher than at the RCDC.
Between 20 to 30 employees have left the RCDC since January and 10 have
resigned since last week.
In talking about the RCDC raises on Tuesday, Galindo said, "We've been
doing a lot of work in putting this together, it's very important that
we figure everything right and very prudently."
The raises would be effective Oct. 4.
"It's important that we keep money as tight as possible," said Galindo.
None of the elected county officials who employ the protesting
courthouse workers were present to complain to Galindo about the matter
"We have the money in our budget, yet he turned our request down," said
one employee with the tax-assessor collector's office.
The employees who gathered this morning in front of the judge's office
requested that they be quoted as a group.
"We're sticking together because we all have the same concern in mind,"
Two county employees were able to make it into the judge's office, but
the rest of the group waited outside his door.
"How is it, that he always seems to find money for those that he really
wants to give a raise to, but we always get left out," they said.
The group complained that one part-time employee will be making $14,000,
but there is no money for any raises at all for all the other employees.
"It's all county money, regardless of what he says," they said. "We
don't see how he can give only those he wants a raise."
The group also claimed that Galindo keeps insisting that there is no
money for anything, yet he manages to procure the items he wants.
"He got a new computer, several secretaries and now he wants a computer
for his car," they alleged.
Galindo said the need was urgent to retain workers at the 650-bed
facility, which houses inmates for the U.S. Bureau of Prisons.
"We need experienced correctional officers out there if we want to
create our core staff," said Galindo.
"The BOP has been very concerned about this situation and stressed a
need for action or intervention," said Trujillo.
"Not everybody at the facility saw an increase, some were adjusted and
some weren't," said Galindo.
Other workers left the RCDC three years ago when the Belding prison
opened, and Warden Joe Trujillo said the salary increases were sought to
halt the exodus of experienced guards.
"When I asked the judge to consider this, it was so that no more
employees will leave us," said Trujillo.
"We want to keep our veteran staff core," said Galindo.
Within the two facilities in Fort Stockton there are about 205
correctional officers, according to Warden Terry Foster.
The larger of the two, at Belding, "Is located 10 miles south of town on
I-10," said Foster.
There are a total of 400 employees at both facilities. The bed capacity
at the Belding prison is 1,376, while the TDCJ's downtown Fort Stockton
jail has a capacity of 606.
"I really don't know what the starting pay is, but after 18 months the
employees will be earning $25,000," said Foster.
Foster stated that the facility does not do any hiring. Its correctional
officers are hired through a TDCJ recruitment division in Huntsville.
The facility also provides full benefits along with retirement and
Under the new RCDC pay scale, Correctional Officers at Level I will
remain at the same salary, according to the new salary adjustments.
Corrections Officers II will be earning anywhere from $16,000-$17,000;
correctional officers III will be earning $18,000-$20,000; sergeants
salaries will be $21,000; lieutenant's and unit manager's salaries will
be from $22,000-$24,000; department heads and assistant department heads
salaries will be set at $25,000.
Captains will be earning $27,000 yearly and the food services director,
$35,000. The warden's salary will be $50,000 and the Chief Executive
Officer will be earning $81,000 yearly.
County Auditor Lynn Owens stated that it won't be a problem giving these
individuals a raise, since there is ample money in the RCDC budget.
"Our objective is to have 50 percent of the employees in CO3 level, 30
percent in CO2 level and the remaining 20 percent at level I," said
This will be a step in the right direction in achieving a veteran staff
core, according to Galindo.
"The numbers are reversed right now, in regards to our objective," said
Galindo. "The biggest percentage of correctional officers are at level
one, when we want the biggest percentage to be at level 3," he said.
Commissioner Precinct 3 Herman Tarin questioned whether there was money
for these raises.
"Yes, we have looked at all the figures very closely and there are funds
for this," said county auditor Lynn Owens.
These raises were actually included in the 1996 budget, but due to
several occurrences at the RCDC they did not materialized until now,
when the economy at the facility is stabilizing and improving, according
"We had several misfortunes at the beginning of the year, three escapes
and a riot, but things are looking up out there and we feel that now is
the right time to make these changes," he said. "We've planned for all
"The message we want to send out now, is that we must be more efficient
internally and the facility must be run very tight," said Galindo.
"Well, now we're doing something to show them that we want them to
stay," said Tarin.
"I think it's important to reach our objective first, we have the
mandate rate to support and the components for us to be the best
facility there is," said Galindo.
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A report on consolidating elections for three entities - a topic which
raised much interest earlier this year - will be heard Thursday evening
during the regularly scheduled Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD school board
Election consolidation will be considered for city, hospital and school
elections. Trustees contend the move will cut election costs and ease
the trouble of voters having to go to different locations to vote during
the annual May elections.
Other items scheduled for Thursday's board meeting, beginning at 6 p.m.
in the district board room, at 1304 S. Park are:
- Model proposed band uniforms;
- Discuss/approve football scoreboard agreement with Big Bend Coca Cola;
- Discuss Gifted/Talented figures as requested by Steve Armstrong;
- Discuss/approve re-naming Carver Center;
- Discuss/approve tax roll errors and corrections for 1995 and prior
- Discuss/approve policy update 51;
- Discuss/approve policies for certificate of graduation, knives on
campus, expelled students from other districts and metal detectors;
- Discuss/approve applying for a telecommunications infrastructure grant;
- Discuss/approve job description for parental liaison;
- Discuss/approve instrument for superintendent's evaluation;
- Discuss/approve instruments for administrators' evaluation;
- Discuss/approve job descriptions for business office personnel;
- Discuss the possibility of purchasing an underwater camera and
discuss/approve Cincinnati Financial Life Insurance.
After an executive session of the board, trustees will take action on
professional personnel assignment, resignations and transfers and
discuss and approve gifted/talented program facilities.
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If the 90-day trial contract with Wes Tex Waste Services Inc. is
satisfactory, it will eliminate the need for a new $1.2 million
landfill. The proposed budget shows a cash balance of $1.2 million in
capital improvements, because the council has already sold bonds to
finance that project.
That raises the estimated cash balance to $2.1 million, lowering the
deficit to less than $300,000.
The $7.2 million budget calls for a tax rate of 69.67 cents per $100
valuation, the same as last year. That is half a cent more than the
effective tax rate of 69.110 cents.
Addition of the $4 million federal courthouse to the tax rolls increased
property valuation to $117.3 million. The $4 million increase would
generate an additional $28,000 revenue if all assessed taxes are
A 2.5 percent increase in salaries is included in the budget.
No sanitation and landfill employees will be laid off as a result of the
contract with Wes Tex Waste, the council decided. Total expenditures for
waste collection and disposal are estimated at $574,000.
Council members worked closely with department heads to trim
expenditures while providing needed services.
The first order of business at the 7:30 a.m. meeting is a public hearing
on the proposed budget. No action is scheduled on budget adoption.
Other agenda items are: award bid for a gooseneck trailer, consider
change order for Ward County well field improvements, amend building
code to delete sections 6-97, 113-119, 143 and 158 and to add that an
applicant for license shall file a written application with the Southern
Building code Congress International.
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Reeves County Court-at-Law Judge Lee Green picked up his latest
paycheck, the first one he's accepted in nearly a year.
However it was back pay.
"I haven't officially accepted their new offer," said Green of the
proposal approved in a 3-2 vote by the Reeves County Commissioners
Court. "I need to counsel with my attorneys, but I haven't had a chance
to do that yet."
Commissioners agreed last month to set Green's salary at $45,000 and
allow him to handle outside legal cases, pending approval by the Texas
The vote came as the result of a trial in which Green sued and won after
commissioners voted first to cut his $53,000 salary to zero, then voted
to set it at $32,500, the same level as County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo.
The pay cut and lawsuit came after commissioners voted in January of
1995 to eliminate the court-at-law entirely, and transfer its functions
over to Galindo and 143rd District Court Judge Bob Parks. However, that
move never came up for a vote in the Texas Legislature, after Rep. Gary
Walker declined to sponsor the amendment following local protests.
That led to the later moves by the county on cutting Green's salary,
over which he filed suit and refused to accept any paychecks. A 143rd
District Court jury in April sided with Green and ordered the
commissioners to set "a reasonable salary" for the judge.
"I haven't signed anything yet, and will do so after I talk to my
lawyers," he said.
Green's attorney, Mario Gonzalez, sounded favorably disposed to the
offer during the Aug. 26 commissioners meeting in which the offer was
"Under these conditions, even I would consider being a judge," said
Gonzalez, who offered to help the county draw up a resolution to present
to the Texas Legislature, when it reconvenes in January.
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The chamber's board of directors on Tuesday voted to form the committee,
after deciding it is too late to build a floor this year.
Several directors spoke in favor of the dance floor, but others said it
would cost too much to build on the dirt surface of the rodeo arena,
store and rebuild each year.
Executive Director Tom Rivera said attendance at the six-year-old
concert has gone up every year without the dance floor.
"A dance floor would be great if we had the manpower," he said.
"It has been discussed for six months," said Armando Hinojos. "They
don't want it..."
Fred Martin said that several people have asked if there would be a
place to dance.
"We need to realize we can want all we want, but if nobody is going to
do the work, it won't get done," said Paul Hinojos.
"I see the money that's going to be involved and the chance of us losing
money because the floor will be torn up. I would love to have a dance
floor, but can we work to get it built; can we maintain it?"
David Madril suggested having a committee look at portable dance floors
in other towns. One problem is that the arena is not level, he said. To
be safe, the floor would have to be only two inches off the ground, and
the ground would need to be level.
"In my opinion, it is a waste of money. I will build it. I drew up some
plans, but I have never even seen one sitting on dirt," Madril said.
Directors signed up to work two-hour shifts during the concert.
Rivera reported that the Pecos City Council agreed to consider spending
bed tax funds to buy new chairs and tables for the Reeves County Civic
He said that Randy Reynolds reported the lawsuit filed against the
Tejano band Mazz was served as they performed in Marfa on Labor Day
weekend. Mazz, which backed out at the last minute from an appaearance
at last year's fair concert, didn't appreciate being served while they
were performing, he said.
Rivera reported on a grant-writing seminar he attended in Midland
recently and said he will start researching grants.
Rivera said the Pecos Army Air Force reunion is Sept. 30-Oct. 2, and is
asking for volunteers to help. Ambassadors will serve as a reception
committee for the banquet.
Dick Alligood reported that Chip Bauer of Houston will lead an economic
development seminar Sept. 24 at the Swiss Clock Inn. Subjects to be
discussed will center on Pecos and its needs, he said.
Committee members will meet next week to work on a proposed tax
abatement program, Alligood said. Elected officials on all taxing
entities in the county have appointed their constituents to the
Once a plan has been worked out, it will be presented to the taxing
entities for their consideration.
Alligood said that four chamber members who attended the Port Arthur
annual conference of the Texas Association of Convention and Visitors
Bureaus brought back a lot of useful information.
He passed around a wrapped candy bar and paper stop sign that are used
by Amarillo and Van Horn, respectively, to advertise their towns.
Rivera made a presentation on Pecos' "kidnapping" project that takes
travelers off the highway and gives them a packet of goodies, plus
tickets to the rodeo, meals and lodging.
Ralph Holmes of Community Public Service Company made a power use survey
of West of the Pecos Museum and made recommendations on methods of
saving on utility bills, Alligood said.
"The museum has extremely large utility bills. We will have to look at
this. We may not be able to keep it running at that cost."
Curator Dorinda Venegas said an average electric bill is $1,900 per
Jeannette Smallwood reported the Mother Goose Parade is set for Oct. 9,
with an entry fee of canned goods for the food bank.
Carolyn Baker is promoting the Heart Walk Oct. 5, in which donations and
walkers are needed, she said.
Alligood asked for and received approval for a booth at the CAF Airsho
Tellez appointed Donnie Dominguez, Bob Curry, Kevin Duke and Octavio
Garcia to serve on the nominating committee with president-elect Paul
Hinojos. They will nominate officers and award recipients for the annual
banquet in 1997.
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The jury deliberated 25 minutes before finding that Florez does not have
a disability as defined by law. He will take nothing by his suit under
the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Florez claimed he applied for a job at the LEC (now the Reeves County
Detention Center) in early 1994 and was questioned by a personnel
committee about his ability to perform the work of correctional officer
due to four missing fingers on his left hand.
At the close of testimony, Bonner argued that no proof had been shown
that the committee erred in rating Florez nor that the LEC discriminated
against him in hiring other candidates.
Florez himself testified that nobody said he was not hired because of a
disability, Bonner said.
An employer has the right to exercise their discretion to hire the most
qualified applicant for the job, so long as they don't discriminate,
Plaintiff attorney Allen Shroder argued that Florez's missing fingers do
constitute a disability.
"You can't play the piano (with missing fingers). There are a lot of
things you can't do," he said. "But most important of all, he is
regarded as having a disability by the people who interviewed him. They
ask him about it, expressed doubts about it."
Pete Garcia was the only member of the interviewing committee who
testified. He said he did not ask about Florez's hand.
J.J. Garcia, who was personnel officer at the time, said he did not
interview Florez. When the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
investigated the discrimination claim, the found Florez had no case, he
Sheriff Arnulfo Gomez said this morning he had offered Florez a job as
jailer in the downtown jail, but he declined to accept it.
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Simmons is one of 10 defendants in a civil suit brought by Reeves County
to recover a $131,000 low-interest loan made to the corporation in 1993.
Danny Reynolds of Carlsbad, N.M. was consultant and acting manager on
the project until Simmons and several other stockholders began working
at the dairy on Memorial Day weekend in 1994.
Although not a stockholder, Reynolds became a party to the suit over a
letter written by stockholders to Reeves County Judge Jimmy Galindo
Sept. 9, 1995, asking for help and an investigation into what they
described as misappropriated funds and "injustices."
Simmons testified that some of those "injustices" included money spent
on things not related to the dairy's progress. Dr. Elvia Reynolds was
corporation treasurer, and he reimbursed his son, Danny Reynolds, for
questionable expenses, Simmons said.
But in cross-examination, the Reynolds' attorney, Scott Johnson, asked
Simmons about numerous expenses he had marked as questionable. Those
included a septic system, dirt work by Roy Lindsay construction, Reeves
County Concrete for pouring a foundation, B.J. Ashing for concrete work,
and one to Barmore Plumbing.
Simmons said he marked them as questionable either because they had not
been approved or he didn't know what the expense was for.
"Isn't it true that by marking the $10,000 to $15,000 of questionable
expenses you set out solely in an effort to discredit Danny and Elvia
Reynolds?" asked Johnson.
"No," Simmons said.
"That's exactly why all these items show unapproved, when you know they
had been approved and had to be to get this project going?" asked
"No," Simmons said.
Robert Scoggin, representing Louis Lively, asked about the amount of
gasoline purchased and the agreement with Danny Reynolds.
Simmons said the corporation agreed to pay for gasoline used in the
company truck for company functions. None was to be paid to Danny
Reynolds for his personal vehicle, he said.
"Why are there so many gas tickets in Carlsbad?" asked Scoggins. "Were
there any operations there?"
Simmons said that Danny Reynolds had some goats in Carlsbad for a time.
"When we moved them all down here, the gas tickets continued," he said.
"We thought he was staying at the dairy, but he lived in Carlsbad. I
don't know where he spent his time."
Scoggins asked if any hay or feed was hauled, and Simmons said there was
a considerable amount. It was picked up out of fields and barns and
carried to the goat barn, he said. Most was purchased in the Carlsbad,
Simmons said the stockholders agreed to pay Danny Reynolds $150 per week
for his work, with another $150 deferred to a later date. They never
paid the deferred amount, he said.
All stockholders except Elvia and Randy Reynolds and Mark and Sandy
Wilke paid cash into the corporation, Simmons said. The Wilkes put in a
stock trailer. The Teagues put in their $5,000 each, plus another
$25,000 "when things got bad," he said.
The Reynolds put in property, including a truck that had to be
overhauled within a few months, Simmons testified.
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Ancelino Villa, 27, died after he was ejected from the 1978 Ford pickup
he was riding in while on duty for Triple S Lease of Crane, a
construction and roustabout operation.
Ward County Justice of the Peace Pascual Olivas pronounced Villa dead
at the scene, located about 10.2 miles northeast of Barstow on Farm Road
2355, according to investigating Department of Public Safety Trooper
The driver of the vehicle and the only seatbelt wearer, Juan Salazar
Garcia, 23, of Crane, was taken to Ward County Memorial Hospital by
Monahans ambulance units along with a passenger, Elias Acosta DelaTorre,
47, of Crane, where they were treated for cuts and abrasions.
DelaTorre was also ejected from the pickup, said Jacobs, who added that
the vehicle was hauling a fuel trailer as it traveled westbound when it
came to rise in the road making the trailer whip side to side.
He then lost control and ran into a bar ditch and overturned one
Villa's body was taken to Harkey Funeral Home in Monahans.
Danny Reynolds' phone bills far exceeded the $30 base fee the
stockholders agreed to pay for a cellular phone, Simmons said. Bills ran
from $50 to $200 per month, he said. Ninety percent of the calls were to
the Windmill, a convenience store Reynolds owned in Carlsbad, he said.
Elvia Reynolds was on the stand when the court recessed Tuesday evening.
Testimony will resume at about 9:30 a.m. Thursday.
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High Tuesday 91, low last night 66. Tonight, mostly cloudy. A 30 percent
chance of showers or thunderstorms. Low 60-65. Southeast wind 5-15 mph.
Thursday, mostly cloudy. High around 85. Southeast wind 5-15 mph.
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