Colored Rock Map of Texas at I-20 in Pecos, Click for Travel Guide

Pecos Enterprise


Pecos Country History
Archive 62
Archive 74
Archive 87
1987 Tornado Photos
Rodeo Photos 88
Archive 95
Archive 96
Archive 97
News Photos 1997
Rodeo Photos 97
Archive 98
News Photos 1998
Rodeo Photos 98
Parade Photos 98
Archive 99
Photos 99
Archive 2000
Photos 2000

Area Newspapers


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Top Stories

Monday, June 26, 2000

County OKs salary scale boost at RCDC

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 26, 2000 - A new salary scale for Reeves County Detention Center employees was approved at this morning's regular Reeves County Commissioners Court meeting.

Reeves County Detention Center Warden Rudy Franco told the court that the quality of service the facility provides is as good as anybody's and probably better than most.

Under the new proposal, Correction Officer (CO) I employees, or new hires, would begin at $19,000, the same as the current rate.

Reeves County will be hiring a number of workers over the next few weeks, as completion of the new 1,000-bed addition to the detention center nears. Franco said while starting pay will not change, "I don't believe the labor force will be a problem."

The higher salaries would begin with CO II employees who would go to $24,000 a year, under the new scale.

"We do have certain criteria that they have to meet before going to the CO II position," said Franco.

All employees would be eligible to advance to the CO II position under certain circumstances. They include: upon completion of one year employment, completion of jail school and passing of the state TCLEOSI Exam. Correctional Officer I's, will automatically be promoted to CO-II level, once they meet these criteria.

"Everyone will eventually be a CO-II and I believe the probation period should remain at one year," said Franco. "They will have a year to be observed by the supervisor."

CO-III employees' salary rates will be $26,000; while prison LVNs will be paid $27,000 a year; Lab Tech, $27,000; Counselor, $27,000; Case Manager, $28,000; Lieutenants, $31,500; Foreign Medical Graduates, $34,000; Department Heads, $34,000; Case Management Coordinator, $34,000; Recreation Director, $36,000; Education Director, $36,000; Captain Trainee, $36,000; Captain, $41,000; Facility Manager, $41,000 and Food Service Director will be earning $41,000 per year.

"FMG's are getting a little bit more than LVN's, because they are capable of doing more," said Franco.

Franco told the court that they had looked at the responsibility angle, before assessing the new wages. "They'll have a lot more responsibility at the new facility," he said.

"We tried to look at the responsibility and the salary, because the amount of responsibility will increase tremendously," said Franco.

This will give everyone at least a $3,000 raise, according to Franco.

Food services is a crucial part of the facility, and the food services director will be in charge of feeding at least 2,000 inmates a day, according to Franco.

"A lot of these employees will have huge responsibilities," he said.

The new wage scale will go into effect on July 1.

Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo noted that the CO II wages are a little above the federal level. "An independent agency determines the wage level and this will benefit us tremendously in the future to be a little above the federal level," said Galindo. "We're trying to recruit and sustain this staff."

"One of the factors to consider, is our focus to provide good quality service," said Franco. "We compare ourselves with federal prisons, because we provide the same thing as La Tuna," the federal prison near El Paso where Franco served as warden before coming to the RCDC.

He said it would be more accurate to compare this facility with a federal prison, because it provides the same services and is funded by Congress.

"It's the quality of service you're eventually judged on," said Franco. "Some of the privatization facilities focus more on providing cheaper service."

"But if you provide better services, I believe you have fewer problems," he said.

The new wage scale will be funded through the new man-day rate.

"This can be covered and paid for by the new man-day rate which is $41.48," said Galindo.

"This is being proactive to make sure the first year of operations is smooth and problem-free," said Galindo. "This will be great and it will be an asset to the facility, in terms of keeping veteran employees."

The new man-day rate is still very competitive with other facilities in the area, according to Franco.

Colina-Vargas gets probation in bribery plea

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 26, 2000 - Carlos Colina-Vargas, the Town of Pecos City's longtime grant administrator, received a two-year probated sentence and was fined $5,000 last week in U.S. District Court in Austin, two months after pleading guilty to bribery of public officials and witnesses.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks sentenced colina-Vargas last Tuesday to probation and a fine as the result of his April 20 plea before the judge to one count of giving illegal compensation to an employee of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government for services rendered or to be rendered.

Colina-Vargas was indicted by a U.S. District Court grand jury on March 7 for illegally giving money to a U.S. government official. The indictment on five bribery counts came following a complaint filed on Feb. 14 in Austin, and he was arrested on Feb. 23.

His April 20 plea came following efforts in early April by his attorney to dismiss the indictment were rejected, according to federal court records. Money was paid in exchange for favorable action on grant-applications Colina-Vargas sought for various government entities that were his clients.

The case against Colina-Vargas came to light after federal prosecutors began investigating the government official, Raymundo "Ray" Ramirez of Austin, the former regional director for the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, a federal agency that awards public works grants.

Ramirez last year pleaded guilty to one count of accepting an illegal gratuity, a felony, and was given a three-year probated prison sentence. He also was forced to resign.

According to court records, Colina-Vargas paid Ramirez a total of $12,500 between 1995 and 1997 in exchange for Ramirez helping secure federal public works grants to four of Colina-Vargas clients, the cities of Anthony, Mathis, Mission and George West.

Under terms of the sentencing, the original five-county indictment against Colina-Vargas was dropped. At the same time, no charges were brought against Colina-Vargas' business partner, Tom Nance, contrary to original records released by the U.S. Attorney's office in Austin.

With the charges dropped, Nance's name was completely removed from the court records of the case, according to a computer check of the records this morning.

While Colina-Vargas has served as grant writer for the Town of Pecos City for the past decade, and also served as Reeves County's grant writer in the early and mid 1990s, no area officials are reportedly involved in the investigation.

Lower participation limits scope of weekend clean-up

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 26, 2000 - Sections of the downtown area to be used for Night in Old Pecos and the West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade were cleaned up on Saturday, as part of Pecos Trash-Off II.

"I was still pleased with the work we got done, although as far as the volunteers there weren't as many as there were last time," said Michael Benavides, who co-ordinated the effort.

The event is sponsored by the Pecos Beautification Committee, and Benavides said members of the Pecos Lions Club, along with the Golden Girl nominees, Lucy Lara and her youth group and several others assisted in Saturday's work. Duncan Disposal also helped with carting the trash away after the clean-up, Benavides said.

The clean-up was centered around the old Pecos Trade Center site in the 200 block of South Cedar Street and on the storefronts in the 200 block of South Oak Street.

Oak and Cedar Streets will be part of the route used for the July 5 West of the Pecos Rodeo Parade, while this Saturday's Night in Old Pecos will be held in the area around Second and Oak Streets.

"Since we didn't have as good a turnout as far as volunteers, we cleaned out the lots in back of the buildings on Oak Street," Benavides said. "The Golden Girls did a real good job sweeping out the entrances to old buildings."

He said another volunteer, Flaco Eubanks, worked on cleaning up another area further south on Cedar Street. "That was about it as far as the clean-up goes. Hopefully next time we'll have a better response."

Pecos Trash-Off I was held in late March at sites around town. Benavides said summer vacations probably cut down on the turnout this time around. "We'll try again in another three months and concentrate on another area that needs cleaning up," he added.

Appraisal review board gets few complaints

Staff Writer

PECOS, June 26, 2000 - The Reeves County Appraisal District held property appraisal hearings on Thursday and Friday morning, with just under two dozen people showing up to protest their 2000 real estate valuations.

Carol King-Markham, Chief Appraiser, said the hearings went very smoothly.

The Appraisal Review Board received 34 protests but only 23 showed up to the hearings. Markham said four sent in affidavits and seven did not call or show up. She said that three protests were settled and eight were withdrawn beforehand.

Right now the appraisal district is in the process of making corrections and will be sending certified letters to those whom showed up.

The ARB consists of local citizens who donate their time to be on the board. The members of the ARB are Bob McNutt, chairman, Charlie Mitchell and Reecia Pigman.

"Their job is to equalize all property," Markham said.

By law, all similar types of property must be valued and taxed equally. The board makes sure this has been done.

She said the hearings went well but the exact amount of loss or gain in property values will not be known for a couple of weeks.

"The values went down a little but we always lose a little," Markham said.

The appraisal district reviews all the property in Reeves County every three years. Markham said 2001 is an appraisal year. She said all property appraisals must be done by May 1, 2001, so her crew will start appraisals in August.

Markham said she would hire more staff and work all through the weeks and even weekends to insure completion by May 1.

"We do whatever it takes to get the job done," Markham said.


Paul Contreras

Paul Jordan Contreras, 57, of Pecos, died Sunday, June 25, 2000, at Odessa Medical Center.

Services will be held at 10 a.m., Tuesday, June 27, at the Pecos Funeral Home Chapel, with burial in Mt. Evergreen Cemetery.

He was born Jan. 25, 1943, in Fort Stockton, was a lifelong Pecos resident, retired and a Catholic.

Survivors include his wife Elia Contreras of Pecos; two sons, Javier Contreras of Odessa and Jacob Contreras of Pecos; one daughter, Sylvia Contreras of Pecos; two brothers, Pilar and Marcos Contreras of Pecos; three sisters, Alicia Carrasco and Guadalupe Carrasco of Bakersfield, Calif. and Criselda Meza of Pecos and two grandchildren.

Pecos Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.


PECOS, June 26, 2000 - High Sunday 108. Low this morning 73. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with 30 percent chance of thunderstorms. Low 65-70. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday: Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms. High around 95. Southeast wind 10-20 mph. Tuesday night: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Low 65-70.

Search Entire Site:

Pecos Enterprise
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

Associated Press text, photo, graphic, audio and/or video material shall not be published, broadcast, rewritten for broadcast or publication or redistributed directly or indirectly in any medium.

Copyright 2000 by Pecos Enterprise