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Tuesday, August 7, 2001

Arrest leads city to adjust employee vehicle use rule

Staff Writer

PECOS, Tues., Aug. 7, 2001 -- The Town of Pecos City has recently started enforcing a  city vehicle usage policy for city employees after a recent  arrest brought up questions about access to city vehicles.

On July 29, three men were arrested for public intoxication at Allsup's on Eddy Street after police were called to the scene in reference to a fight.

Two of the three men arrested were driving a 1989 White Chevrolet pickup registered to the city and issued to Fire Chief Roy Pena. The pickup had reportedly been borrowed by his son, Michael Roy Pena, 18, who was one of the three taken into custody by police, and while the vehicle itself was not involved in any violation, Police Chief Clay McKinney said that if any charges would be filed involving the city vehicle, McKinney said that the city would be responsible for it.

"The city would be the one responsible for filing charges, because the city's the owner," McKinney said last week, and because of the potential liability the city decided to take a new look at its vehicle use policy.

City Manager Carlos Yerena said that when he started in Pecos he developed a new policy for city vehicle usage and will now be enforcing that policy.

"We're just enforcing it," he said.

Yerena said that since the arrests the city is now enforcing the policy harder than before.

"We had been enforcing it," he said. "This just made us go full force into it."

Yerena said that the policy only allows department heads, police and emergency response personnel and employees on call to take city vehicles home.

"City personnel must maintain city vehicles at the city shop," he said.

Yerena said that city department heads issue out city vehicles to various employees for use in city projects.

Yerena said that there is no set punishment for anyone who violates policy but if something happens the city would deal with it individually.

"We would deal with it as those things come up," he said.

At the time of the arrests, Pena was issued the white pickup to replace the red Fire Chief vehicle he normally drives. That vehicle was being used by other fire fighters to attend fire training school held at Texas A&M University in College Station, Yerena said in a previous interview.

Questions have been raised as to why Pena is still able to take home a city vehicle.

"Fire and emergency response personnel are included," in the new rules,Yerena said.

He added that appropriate action has been taken against Pena but could not discuss the matter because it involved personnel.

"We have take action," he said. "The appropriate action needed to prevent it again."

No charges in connection with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle have been pressed against Pena's son who was driving the vehicle when he was arrested.

Yerena said that Pena would have to be the one to press any charges against his son.

Campuses set pre-registration for next week

PECOS, Tues., Aug. 7, 2001 -- Pre-registration and orientation will be held for different Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD schools in preparation for the new school year, which will begin on Monday, Aug. 20.

Bessie Haynes Elementary School, which includes all fourth and fifth graders will hold pre-registration and orientation from 6-7:30 p.m., on Thursday, Aug. 16.

Austin Elementary School will have pre-registration from 6-8 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 16 and Zavala Middle School, will be having their orientation from 5-7 p.m., on Friday, Aug. 17.

New students need to bring their birth certificates, immunization record, social security card and report card/records from previous school.


PECOS, Tues., Aug. 7, 2001 -- High Monday 103. Low this morning 72. Forecast for tonight:   Partly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers  or thunderstorms. Low around 70. Southeast wind 5 to 15  mph. Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High in the mid 90s. Southeast wind 5 to  15 mph. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low in the lower  70s. Thursday: Partly cloudy. High in the upper 90s. Friday: Partly cloudy  with a slight chance of showers or thunderstorms. Lows around  70. Highs in the lower 90s.


Orda Tillis and Jesusita Valenzuela

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