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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting, 1/23/2017, 10 AM, Marfa

Notes on Presidio County Commissioners Court meeting 1/23/2017

10:00 AM convene at Presidio County Courthouse, Marfa

All commissioners and judge present. Also present County Atty Rod Ponton

Item 5: announcements from commissioners and judge.

Judge says that 2012 GMC Terrain will be repaired for $6800. Repair completed under budget by approx $400. Car is now inspected and ready to go. Ready to be picked up.
Judge apologizes for not going to road and bridge lunch. New voting machines for next election came in for demonstration. Impressive. Will return to give additional demonstration in May or June. City of Marfa also attended meeting.
New have electronic and paper receipt records. Machines are Leo to be adopted in El Paso County. Thanks road and bridge department for the good work they have done.
Commissioner Aranda says that road and bridge dept are hard working people. Commissioner Vasquez donated $300 for food. Commissioner Hernandez would like for all elected officials to attend next time. Judge agrees.
Commissioners and judge agree.
Proposed legislation for hotel motel tax coming that would help assist the County with CIP grants for the airport. Says Chase is not comfortable control over the airport functions. Judge is in communication with Poncho Nevarez' office with regard to that language. Grants that we apply for require County to retain control in order to administer grants. May be an issue. Bill stipulates that it would sunset in ten years. 
Aranda talks about need for financial assistance for airport renovations. 
Judge repeats support for Chase and the job he is doing. Asks auditor about it fuel sales. Employee bonuses for additional fuel sales. Approved by commissioners. 
Hernandez asks if it's legal to give bonuses to County employees. Patty says commissioners voted on it last year. Aranda says this is the first time he has heard of that. Knows that same employees are getting overtime. Hernandez says they may want to revisit this issue. Aranda says that no other employees for the County even are allowed overtime pay. Judge says that in the minutes the stipulations of what they passed are very specific. Will look at it.
Aranda says that employee Isidro who is very sick has doctors note saying he can work again. Working in road and bridge. Has over 33 years with County. Will go back to work and Ruben Carrasco will monitor his health. Commissioners happy about that.

Item 6: approve previous minutes. No minutes to approve.

Inidividual agenda items

Item 1: contract with Jeff Davis County for inmate housing at County Jail. Sheriff is asking for Jeff Davis county to pay the same as the US Marshals. $65/day. Also wants for them to pay for transportation to and from any medical facilities when their prisoners need it.
Otherwise contract is the same. 
Sheriff says that also MHMR patients need 24/7 guards. Wants Jeff Davis to cover those costs and/or provide an actual guard or jailer to be there. Not in proposal but Sheriff would like that. Judge says that item should be tabled until item is added. Sheriff says that last commissioners court someone presented this without his knowledge. Has not heard a word from new Jeff Davis County Sheriff. Says until he comes over here in person to talk about it and negotiate this is what he wants.
Rod Ponton says that new Sheriff told him he does not have the money to cover any additional costs. Dominguez says that covering their costs will not happen again. 
They will have to send a deputy or a jailer to deal with this.
Patty Roach asks about the expiration of the current contract. Sheriff says it already expired Dec 31st. They can also take their prisoners to any other jail. 
Rod wants to know if adding the financial burden to the contract will suffice. Sheriff says that sometimes they are short staffed, payment is not always the only issue. 
Judge recommends to postpone until item fully ready. Makes motion.
Vasquez seconds.
Unanimous.

Item 2: Total I.D. solutions contract for Sheriff's Office ID system.
Contract on table. Sheriff presents. Judge says that yearly renewal required.
Sheriff says that it is cheaper to sign maintenance contract than having individual calls. Unanimously approved. Judge would like to see original contract. Sheriff says he will provide it. It is in Sheriff's Office.

Item 3: District Clerk Report approval Dec 2016
No questions. $6725 received in county clerks office, just over $1000 in district clerks.
Unanimous.

Item 4: commissioners court agendas. Requested item by commissioner Aranda. Wants County Atty to review all agenda items for legal purposes. All items necessary? Review appropriate items and advise parties prior to meetings. Preparation for commissioners prior to court meetings. 
Judge understands his perspective.
Aranda says it's mostly for legal review.
Judge says yes, most of the time items are sent for review to involved parties prior to posting. Has no objection to adding co Atty.
Crystal Funke says she has already been adding Rod to most items. Rod says most cities and counties have items reviewed by Atty prior to posting. Improves efficiency.
Hernandez wants to know what the current process is for adding agenda items. Judge says that usually people request items and they make it onto the agenda. Now their can be a pre-agenda. Hernandez wants to know who approves an agenda item to be posted. Judge says a commissioner or the judge has to approve or sponsor each item. 
Beebe asks if commissioners are giving veto power to the County Attorney
Much discussion. 
Judge says no, make no mistake that the commissioners will not be giving power to veto items to county attorney. Aranda clarifies that he is simply trying to make matters easier and have more legal clarity. Vasquez says that he understands the concerns.
Commissioner Bentley makes a motion to postpone this item to get legal advice from TAC to be sure commissioners are not giving away their power to set the agenda. Commissioner Aranda says that he is trying to be clear that commissioners are not going to give up their power. Brenda says she understands but just wants to be legally sure. Judge says she understands Judge Beebe's point. Brenda wants to know if Court needs an action item to approve county attorney looking over the agenda. Unknown. 
Hernandez says that City of Presidio does this as a matter of policy. Judge and everyone agree that the concept is good and judge says that even if they do not take action, she will forward agendas to County Atty prior to posting as a matter of her own policy. Judge wants agenda to be more transparent to the public in general. Judge says she has changed the agenda posting to be more like Bexar County's agenda so that things are more easily readable. 
Sheriff Dominguez says that sending everything to TAC every time you need an opinion the County Attorney will be useless to them. Brenda says she is not saying that's what they will be doing. Rod says that he will not be putting anything of his own on the agenda. Brenda asks if this is a necessary item for a motion. Hernandez says he would like to see in parentheses who placed each item on the agenda. 
Judge says that her opinion is that there is no action necessary for this since she will be doing it this way regardless. Asking for second on motion to contact TAC. Hernandez says that he doesn't even think a motion on this issue is necessary since they will adopt this method. First motion does for lack of a second. Aranda makes a motion to adopt the proposal letting the County Attorney review items before being posted on any agenda.  Seconded by commissioner Vasquez. Crystal a Funke asks what happens if he is not available. Rod says he will always be available by phone or email. Approved.

Items brought by County Auditor:
Willie Hernandez maintenance on County vehicles.
Auditor says that since Willie is already an employee he cannot volunteer his services and cannot be paid as a contractor. Economic Realities test asks if he can realistically be treated as a provider of a separate business. 
Retroactively changing pay rates is unconstitutional.
Supervisor (Sheriff) will need to approve his hours. Must be paid as an employee. 
Commissioners may, in the future, create a job description for this maintenance job.
Possible liability issues if work is being done off county property with regard to either workman's comp or county property being damaged or lost while not in County custody.
Vasquez says that if you compare rates for work done he is very much cheaper, especially for emergency work. Is there some sort of waiver? Rod Ponton asks if he is working as a county employee on county time. Patty says that basically, yes since the Economic Realities Test determines that he does not have a legitimate outside independent business doing this work.
Aranda says that this is small community, often the county uses non-professionals to do work since that is what's available. Patty says that difference is that this concerns a county employee and the county is required to apply federal law in this case. 
Aranda also says that Sheriff should be able to decide how to spend his budget. Roach says that we must follow federal law here.
Rod Ponton says that the issue is whether the employer is pressuring an employee to do something for less than value. If the employee has a legitimate side business then there is no problem. Federal law is trying to prohibit employers from abusing employees. Patty repeats that the county is responsible for following the federal guidelines. Outlines a few of these test examples; permits, filing, taxes, et al.
This issue is only here because Willie is a county employee.
Vasquez asks if next time the Sheriff's Office needs an emergency expenditure in this nature can Willie be paid not as an employee? A P.O. Can be issued in an emergency. Katie Sanchez describes some of the things that constitute an emergency expenditure.
Judge moves to pay Willie through payroll after a time sheet is turned in. Unanimous.

Budget Amendment for Sheriff's Office vehicle repairs.
Patty says that a vehicle was damaged, insurance received for approx $5400. Need budget amendment to repair vehicle. Need to declare a budget amendment for increase to Sheriff's Office vehicle repair budget based on unforeseen expenditures. 
Brenda Bentley moves to approve amendment.
Seconded by Vasquez.
Unanimous.

Line-item transfers. In commissioners packet.

Uniforms for constable pct 2. $86
Judge motions to approve.
Seconded by Aranda
Unanimous

Bills and Expenses:

Frances says there is a correction. TAC check for $175. Misprinted in bills as TACA dues.
Brenda makes motion to approve. Judge seconds. Unanimous.

Adjourn at 11:42 AM










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