As always, please understand that anything stated on this blog not referred directly to as "fact" is in some way at the least, shaped by my opinion and should be taken as such. Thank you. I am also citing Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act with regard to republishing this info, regardless of its source.
I received this text about a week and a half ago from someone down in Presidio who (may or may not) work under Joel Nunez, Presidio County's Chief Deputy and Chief of the Presidio ISD Dept of Public Safety. The person who provided this text shall remain unnamed, for obvious reasons. According to the source, it was sent by Mr. Nunez.
"Guys get all Sheriff's Office equipment ready to return to Marfa tomorrow. All vehicles, command center, weapons, cameras. Commissioners court is questioning the way you help the county and do not appreciate it. We will no longer work for free. I have tried to make them understand how important you work and help is to the people of this community however they choose to listen to someone that has been here a few months over all of our work and dedication over so many years. There will only be one deputy in presidio to handle the whole Presidio area. We will be available to help Deputy Sanchez and the Sheriff occasionally. Any complaints and law suites for failure to provide services can be referred to commissioners court. One deputy cannot be expected to cover 24/7. Remember this is not the Sheriff's doing this is commissioners court. Clean out your vehicles and I will see you tomorrow and make no mistake, I will not be a part of all the social media chaos. We elect our officials to guide and lead us so our community can feel protected. Lately some elected officials have made unfounded allegations against us publicly instead of communicating with us. This is causing people to doubt our local government. People are coming to me for answers so Friday Sheriff and I went to the newspaper to ask for help with documents in hand to support our defense. I have documentation for everything I say but very few listen. Hopefully they will print this hard evidence against words with no foundation from county employees. There are still some elected officials that have supported us at times, please reach out to them. Keep in mind, The Presidio County Sheriff's Office and PISD Police will always help our community whatever it takes. Thanks for everything officers."
This was originally sent on July 25th. The next meeting of Commissioners Court occurred on Tuesday July 28th in Presidio and is recapped in a previous blog. Since this message came first I will give my interpretation of the message he is sending to his charges before I address the statements made by both Joel and Sheriff Dominguez at Commissioners Court, and then I will also address the newspaper's opinion piece on all this.
On Tuesday morning the streets on the Jail side and rear of the courthouse were filled with all kinds of equipment, including trucks, a Jeep, the Mobile Command Center, and a bunch of outfitted trailers, in accordance with the text above. I assume this was some sort of show of either compliance or rebellion to the Auditor's Findings in the 2014 Audit, which was disseminated on this blog and is posted in complete form on the County's website.
So in looking at this text the first thing that jumps out at me is "we will no longer work for free". This may refer to what a reliable source in Presidio confided to me that PISD officers were no longer being paid for their Stonegarden overtime hours earlier this year. I believe this non-payment began around early March, right around the time that Stonegarden grants were suspended. At that time, these officers were under the impression that they would eventually be paid for those hours. At that time their supervisor, Joel Nunez, was aware that Stonegarden grants had been suspended. Thus far, according to my source, they have not been paid. Perhaps this statement is a way for the supervisor to blame Commissioners Court for the lack of pay instead of himself and save face while maintaining his local allies.
Next he explains that he has "tried" to make Commissioners Court understand how important their work is to the people of this county. I believe that if you ask any Commissioner you will find that the work of these people has never been questioned, and, as a matter of fact, has been supported.
The next statement either refers to the auditor, myself, Frances Garcia, Katie Sanchez, Loretto Vasquez or all of us.I am unsure.
Following that, the assertion that there will only be one Deputy to serve the Presidio area presumes that Deputy Sanchez will be the only officer, excluding, I guess, Deputy Nunez. Perhaps Presidio does need an additional deputy.
With regard to the "social media chaos" I will state that the chaos he refers to is coming out of this blog and any links to it or sharing. Since I am taking it into my own hands to shine the light of transparency into what has been an embarrassingly opaque County government, I will say we should all get used to it, and I invite anyone else in the community to take on the mission of covering County governmental activities much further than I ever will. With transparency we will have better ethics, and with better ethics we will have better behavior, audit findings, and service to our citizens. All this is is a web page. Period.
The accusation in this message about "unfounded accusations" must obviously start with and include the independent auditor, who would have no reason to target individuals unless there were financial deficiencies, which there were, and are documented publicly in the audit on the County's website. Also, if you choose, you may read each deficiency and material defect individually in previous posts on this blog. These are essentially findings of fact, and include "multiple complex conflicts of interest" with regard to this particular person's handling of his intergovernmental financial affairs. The foundation of any accusations is found in the unanimously accepted and approved in Commissioners Court 2014 Financial Audit. According to the County, it is FACT.
Lastly, in a vintage "Circle The Wagons" move, Mr Nunez gives a direct call to action for help in defending the status quo, playing the victim of a scheme by the Commissioners and other County officials with a few months experience as the unexplained and unwarranted aggressors. This is an understandable move and it worked well in giving him a full voice at Commissioners Court on Tuesday, which is a different story for later tonight. The bottom line is that without the multiple findings in the audit, no conversations regarding this would have ever been opened and it's not the fault of the messengers that we are where we are now. It's time for reform. -DB