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Thursday, December 12, 2002

Council continues discussion of new Yerena pact

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 12, 2002 -- Town of Pecos City Council members went over amendments to the  contract of City Manager Carlos Yerena for a member who missed last month's  action on the contract, during this morning's council meeting at City Hall, and  then faced questions from that council member on the need for the  approved additions to the contract.

Returning early from her maternity leave Councilwomen Angelica Valenzuela ask if the could backtrack some regarding the new agreement with Yerena since she had been absent during the renewal of his contract.

"If we could back up some because I was not here," Valenzuela said. "What are we paying for exactly?"

Yerena informed the council that they would only be paying for his tuition and books, while he would not be reimbursed for his traveling expenses.

Town of Pecos City Mayor Dot Stafford asked Yerena how much his tuition would cost to which Yerena said he as unsure at this point.

During the November 14 meeting Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez and Councilmen Michael Benavides and Johnny Terrazas voted to extend Yerena's contract while Councilman Frank Sanchez voted against it.

In a 3-1 Yerena's contract was extended till December 2005 and at the same time allowing him to pursue his Masters of Arts while receiving a seven-month severance pay.

Yerena began work as City Manager in December of 2000. His current contract expires in December 2003.

Valenzuela asked Yerena what college he would be attending and how many classes he would be taking.

"I still have to see which college will accept me," Yerena said. "I will then take two or three classes."

She then asked him how long it would take to for him to finish the masters program.

"It will take two to 2½ years depending on the course load," Yerena said.

He also added that the classes he would be taking would be night classes.

With that said, Valenzuela then asked Yerena what he would be bringing to the community that he has not already brought.

Yerena said that he would be bringing in an additional incite on how to function as a public entity by receiving his Masters in Public Administration.

"Public Administration is what we do here," Yerena said. "It is related."

Terrazas added that further education is offered to the accountants as well as to all the employees.

"Are they then bound to work for us for an amount of years," Valenzuela said.

Terrazas said that he did not think so.

"Then that makes you (Yerena) more marketable on our account," Valenzuela said.

Yerena then responded that he is already marketable and that he only wanted a chance to further his education.

Sanchez asked Yerena if he had looked into taking correspondent classes or classes on-line to which Yerena responded he had not.

"I fail to see the logic of reviewing his (Yerena) contract when it is not up till December 2003," Sanchez said.

Terrazas responded by saying that Yerena wanted an early review in order to know what his future would hold if his contract would not have been renewed.

Though Yerena's contract would bind future council members, City Attorney, Scott Johnson said that it was not unusual.

"We are a public entity and not a public corporation," Sanchez said. "We have to answer to the taxpayers."

Valenzuela then stated that she was disappointed at the fact that the decision of renewing Yerena's contract was made with out her and that out of respect they should have waited till her return in January before voting.

"I wish I could have been here," Valenzuela said. "All the council members should have had a say."

Stafford took fault for not having waited for Valenzuela to return from maternity leave and apologized.

According to City Secretary Connie Levario, said that Valenzuela was advised of the meeting and given packet of the items placed on the November 14 agenda.

With that said Yerena's contract was amended by adding in that the council would only be responsible for paying his tuition and books.

Terrazas made the motion to accept the amended contract with Tellez seconding it.

Stores criticized, backed on safety of meat counters

Staff Writer

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 12, 2002 -- Town of Pecos City Council members heard a complaint about  the condition of food at the city's two grocery stores, during the  public comments section of this morning's council meeting at City Hall.

Gilda Vejil read a statement addressing her concerns about the meat produce at Bob's Thriftway and La Tienda Thriftway.

According to Vejil during the early part of November her husband had gone to Bob's Thriftway to purchase some sausage for supper.

When he returned home he and his wife noticed that the sausage was bad. Not wanting to take it back immediately, Vejil decided that she would keep the receipt and take it back the following day.

Vejil then went to the store the next day only to find that the bad sausage was still on and that the problem still existed on November 28.

Vejil said that she asked the city secretary if there was a city health inspector to which the secretary responded that it was Alfredo Gomez but he was only part time.

Though other citizens go grocery shopping out of town, Vejil said she refuses to travel to Odessa for her milk, bread, meats and other products.

She also said that she called other grocery stores in Odessa, San Angelo, Fort Stockton and El Paso asking for help. Vejil said that she finally was given the name Arturo Alvarado who had told her that he had spoken to Armando Gil two years ago.

"No one is listening," Vejil said.

Gil resigned earlier this year as Town of Pecos City Health and Sanitation Director to take a similar position in Big Spring. He had taken action twice in 1999 over health concerns at the La Tienda deli counter. The problems, related to meat temperatures and storage locations, were corrected by the store, which was then cleared for operations by Gil.

Having a state law that says that her brushes and combs must be washed and sanitized she said there must be a state law regarding bad and unsanitary conditions.

"The produce at Bob's needs to be replaced," Vejil said. "Someone is getting rich with the money."

Vejil said that while does not go out of town to purchase groceries by choice, there are other people who cannot travel to Odessa to buy grocery.

"We need to look for those people who cannot travel to Odessa," Vejil said.

Frustration comes in when you have to look at the date of the meat before one purchases it, she added.

Vejil said that she now buys her milk and bread at Wal-Mart and would like to see them offer a food store.

"Pecos has been good to me," Vejil said, Representing La Tienda and Bob's Thriftway was Fenn Foods Area Supervisor Robert Garcia. Also in attendance was La Tienda Manager Noe de los Santos and Bob's Thriftway Manager Belinda Cantu.

"We have 100 employees at those two locations," Garcia said. "And they are all citizens of Pecos. We are a part of this town."

He told the council that when he is in town he talks to people in the community and asks them how they are doing.

"I heard a lot of compliments about how we were well stocked during the holiday season," Garcia said.

He also added that they want to provide the people of Pecos with a variety of things.

Garcia said that if anyone had a problem regarding one of the stores they should contact the store manager who will take care of the problem immediately or contact him.

"I'm in town three to four times a week," Garcia said.

Speaking in behalf of the local grocery stores was Alfredo's Mexican Restaurant owner Al Gomez, who told that council members that he works with the stores on a daily bases spending $4,000 of fresh food.

"As you know we serve fresh food at Alfredo's," Gomez said. "I have been here two years and I have had good service with La Tienda."

Though new City Health Inspector Alfredo Gomez could not attend the meeting due to an illness, he addressed the council in a letter stating that since his four months as City Health Inspector he has only received two complaints on the grocery stores, which were corrected on the spot.

Gomez also stated in his letter that the stores would be purchasing new refrigerators to correct some of their problems.

Though they meet temperature requirements, Garcia said that they would be purchasing the new refrigerators due to the fact that the ones they currently have are old and they will be installed as early as January or February.

He also said that Gomez is doing a good job as City Health Inspector.

"Gomez is doing a good job in working with the people," Yerena said.

Vejil then asked why Gomez was not working full time as a City Health Inspector.

"How is it that we can afford to pay his (City Manager Carlos Yerena) education but can't afford a full time inspector," Vejil said.

She also apologized for being so forward in telling the council members how she felt.

Yerena informed the council members that Gomez is working full time but on a part time salary.

Several council members suggested that Gomez do some random inspections to which Garcia responded that he already does that.

"I have seen him (Gomez) more then Armando," Garcia said.

Garcia also answered councilman Michael Benavides question regarding the meat market at its clean up process.

"The meat market is cleaned every day," Garcia said. "It is broken down and cleaned at the end of each day."

Council members then moved on to approve the accounts payable report with councilman Frank Sanchez making the motion and Benavides seconding it.

However before accepting the report, Benavides asked for an update on the status of the city's new landfills.

Currently the two trenches have been dug and they are a little bit ahead of schedule.

Pecos Police Department Chief Clay McKinney was asked if he was still short on police officers.

"I am short one police officer," McKinney said.

Interviews for that position will be held on January 15, McKinney said. He also said that he was short one part time food supervisor and one part time community officer. McKinney also told the council that some of the current officers have applied for jobs with federal agencies.

As the council reviewed the juvenile monthly report, Stafford asked McKinney if the Pecos had the same problems with juveniles as the surrounding areas due to the fact at the number increases very month.

"We have the same problems as the surrounding areas," McKinney said.

The municipal court report was approved with Councilman Johnny Terrazas making the motion and Valenzuela seconding it.

Before the approval of the minutes, the council asked if Judge Armanario Ramon had been informed of the meeting.

"We notified him yesterday afternoon," Yerena said.

Council members had questions on how community service was dealt with.

Several of them asked if picking up trash and pulling weeds would be okay.

Johnson said that as long as it was light duty and supervised by an adult it would work. He also said that community service is done on weekends and after school hours.

The tax collection report for the month of October was quickly looked over and approved by Terrazas, with Benavides seconding it.

On the presentation of the financial report Finance Director George Bejarano informed the council that every thing was looking good and that if they had any questions on a certain number for them to talk to him and he would show them how it worked.

Bejarano was also asked if a management information systems manager had been hired to which he answered that the interviews would be done after the holidays.

Currently they have eight applicants of which one was from Brownwood but that the applicant was originally from Pecos and was willing to relocate, Yerena said.

"Everyone else is local," Yerena said.

Tellez then went on to approve the purchase of the property located at 525 Martinez St., by Patricia Ronquillo for $2,500 with Terrazas seconding it.

Tellez followed by making a motion to approve the appointees of Jon Cook, Tony Trujillo, Paul Hinojos, Jesse Stevenson, Lynn Owns and Johnny Teague to two year terms for the Planning and Zoning Commission with Benavides seconding it.

Frank Perea, John Garza, Olga Lopez, Jim Workman and Ray Golden were also approved for two-year terms on the Pecos Housing Authority.

Bill Hubbs, Isabel Blanchard, Lynn Owns and Mike Burkholder were approved for two-year terms with the Airport Board with Benavides making the motion and Tellez seconding it.

The minutes for the October 24 meeting were approved with Mayor Pro-Tem Gerald Tellez making the motion and Terrazas seconding it. Benavides then made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 14 meeting with Tellez seconding it.

Sheriff's son among three arrested in Ward County

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 12, 2002 -- The son of Reeves County sheriff Andy Gomez and the nephew of Monahans Mayor David Cutbirth were among three people arrested by the Ward County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday on alcohol and drug charges.

Anthony Alfred Gomez, 21, of Pecos, was arrested for DWI, first offense, "B" and possession of marijuana, "B." Gomez has been released from Ward County Jail.

John Benjamin Cutbirth, 22, of Monahans, was arrested for possession of marijuana under two ounces. He was released on a Personal Recognizance bond. He is the nephew of David Cutbirth, the mayor of Monahans who ran unsuccessfully for the Precinct 4 Commissioner's seat in Ward County last month.

Arrested along with Gomez and Cutbirth was Kari Lynn Almanza, 21, also arrested for possession of marijuana under two ounces, a `B' misdemeanor. She was released on a Personal Recognizance bond.

Ward County Sheriff's Deputy Jaime Ybarra was the officer in charge of the incident. Further details on the arrest were not available from the Ward County Sheriff's Department.

Santa Rosa holds benefit plate sale

PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 12, 2002 -- An asado and enchilada plate sale will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., Friday at Santa Rosa Hall.

Funds will go towards the renovation of the church and the event is sponsored by the church's Prayer Group.

The plate will consist of asado, rice, beans, salad and one homemade tortilla. The enchilada plate will have three red enchiladas, rice, beans and salad.

Plates will be $4 and asado burritos will be $2. Deliveries will be made on three plates or more.

For orders call 445-2302.


PECOS, Thurs., Dec. 12, 2002 -- High Wednesday 65. Low this morning 38. Forecast for tonight:   Clear. Lows near 30. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph. Friday:   Sunny. Highs in the lower 60s. West winds 5 to 15 mph. Friday night:   Clear. Lows near 30. Saturday:  Mostly clear. Highs in the mid 60s. Sunday:   Mostly clear. Lows near 30. Highs in the upper 60s.


Patsy Pate

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