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Economic Development


Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

County quiet on timeline for layoffs at RCDC

Staff Writer

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 5, 2003 -- Staff at the Reeves County Detention Center will be the first to know of any layoffs or transfers now that Wackenhut Corrections Corporation will be taking over, according to Reeves County officials.

"It would be inappropriate at this time to comment on the steps to be taken for the reduction in force," said Reeves County Judge Jimmy B. Galindo. "The administration at the facility is working on a transition plan to present to BOP."

The U.S. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) houses about 2,000 inmates at the two oldest units of the detention center. The county and Wackenhut agreed on Monday to turn over operations of all three units of the RCDC to the Boca Raton, Fla.-based company. But under the 10-year deal a total of 91 jobs at the prison have to be cut by Reeves County before the contract with Wackenhut goes into effect.

Galindo said that the staff at RCDC would be the first to know anything. "It's up to the administration at RCDC to communicate what is going to happen or what might possible to the staff before is communicated to anyone else," said Galindo.

"With regards to the General Fund, the county has not yet started developing a formal survival plan," said Galindo.

Reeves County entered into the agreement to lease/manage the facilities after it was unable to come up with enough inmates to fill the new RCDC III unit, and in turn meet bond payments on the $40 million facility.

Under terms of the Utilization Availability Agreement between Reeves County and Wackenhut, the company will take over the responsibility of finding inmates for the facility, and will pay Reeves County total of $430,000 each month RCDC III remain un-utilized. That agreement, Section 3.01 of the contract, will go into effect on either Dec. 1, 2003, or the first day of the first month following the day that the number of employees employed (or under contract) at the RCDC has been reduced to a total of not more than 344 RCDC employees. That excludes 12 transportation employees who are to be transferred to another division in the near future.

The agreement calls for Wackenhut to offer jobs to laid-off workers, when available, at the company's 11 other prison facilities in Texas.

The county would pay WCC $333,333 per month to manage the prison and WCC would pay the county the $430,000 to market R3.

The county will also pay reimbursement of the documented bi-weekly costs of the WCC Management Team's salaries (or contracts), benefits and associated payroll costs; a reimbursement each month of 1 /12th of the amount budgeted for the cost of WCC's general liability insurance over the next 12 months (currently $325,000 for the first year and reimbursement of any other amount that may be due and payable to WCC under the agreement.

The county completed work on the $40 million RCDC III addition in March, which holds 960 inmates. County officials built the facility believing that they would be able to fill the facility with U.S. Bureau of Prisons inmates, after the BOP quickly filled the 1,000-bed RCDC II prison when it was completed in 2001.

But the BOP has balked at placing any new prisoners in the facility, which has left the county short of money to make bond payments on the latest addition. The BOP said during the summer it had no need of any addition bed space in Texas, but on Oct. 24 posted a notice on its website seeking an addition 1,000 to 1,500 beds for low-security inmates by the summer of 2004. No specific location for the prison is listed on the BOP website, but applications are due in to the agency by Friday.

County officials have talked with BOP officials in Washington, D.C. about the changeover in the management of the RCDC.

During a meeting on Friday in which Wackenhut's proposal was formally presented to commissioners, Don Houston, Central Region Vice-President for the company out of its area headquarters in New Braunfels, said Wackenhut already runs two facilities similar to the RCDC, a 2,300-bed prison in Taft, Calif., and a 1,200 bed facility in Winton, N.C. He said the company also has other contacts with state and federal agencies that would be helpful in locating inmates for RCDC III.

Wackenhut is also scheduled to help Reeves County with plans for modernizing RCDC I, which was built in 1986 and has been expanded since then from a capacity of 300 inmates to 1,105 beds, according to the contract agreed to on Monday. Both RCDC II and RCDC II are certified for 960 inmates.

Officials report no new leads

in Carrasco's disappearance

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 5, 2003 -- Authorities are still searching for a missing Balmorhea girl who vanished from her uncle's home over a month ago. But no new leads have been reported in the case.

Officials conducted a series of searches for 16-year-old Monica Carrasco, who disappeared five weeks ago. No future organized searches are scheduled as of yet, but deputies are returning to the areas of the Balmorhea countryside on their days off to maintain the efforts toward finding the missing girl.

After numerous interdepartmental searches, authorities are looking for new leads to assist in locating the teenager. The Reeves County Sheriff's Department is currently working with the special investigations unit of the Texas Rangers in order to help uncover new directions to take with the case.

Carrasco has been reported missing since the early morning of Oct. 2, when the uncle she was staying with realized she was not in the house. She is believed to have left the house in a nightgown in the middle of the night.

Carrasco is described as having brown hair, brown eyes and weighing 100 pounds.

Her name has been placed on the statewide missing persons list. If anyone has any information they are asked to contact the Reeves County Sheriff's Office at 445-4901 or any other local law enforcement agency.

Monahans hosting softball tournament

PECOS, Wed., Nov. 5, 2003 -- A Benefit Softball Co-ed Tournament is scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday in Monahans.

First, second and third place prizes will be awarded and the last day to enter is Thursday, Nov. 6.

For more information contact, Mayrha or Miguel Gomez at 432-943-3090.


PECOS, Wed., Nov. 5, 2003 -- High Tues.y 83. Low this morning 53. Forecast for tonight: Mostly cloudy with isolated showers or thunderstorms. Lows near 50. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Thurs.: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Cooler with highs 65 to 70. Northeast winds near 10 mph. Thurs. night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of showers. Lows in the lower to mid 40s. East winds near 10 mph. Fri.: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Highs near 60. East winds 5 to 15 mph. Fri. night: Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of rain. Lows in the lower to mid 40s. Sat.: Partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain. Highs in the mid 60s. Sat. night: Partly cloudy. Lows near 50.


Enrique Avalos, Jr. and Harold Williams

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