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Commissioner's Court meeting turns into public debate

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Commissioner's Court held a special meeting on Monday and the gathering went from one end of the spectrum to the other in no time as budget amendments were discussed, questioned by all three commissioners present, and highly scrutinized.
County Judge David Saucedo began the meeting by commending the court on the assistance they have all provided to Commissioner Jose Luis Rosales in regards to the canal disaster his constituents are now facing in the northernmost sectors of Precinct 3, as all three commissioners have provided equipment, personnel and advice to Rosales in his time of most need.
Rosales was also commended on his composure and his demeanor with respect to his handling of the situation in this his first true emergency as commissioner. Rosales publicly thanked him for the acknowledgment and added that they all have worked as a team to find a solution to this problem and reminded the gathering that the Maverick County Water Plant is functioning as close to regular as possible despite the pitfalls and the weather as it happened to rain the day after the waterway ruptured, delaying work on the structure.
After approving the consent agenda items which ranged from assisting a family with sewer problems to the hiring of replacement clerks and extending hours of operation at the request of the Republican Party to the hiring of a full-time replacement for a detention officer to the lending out of County vans and the approval of per diem expenses for Commissioner Heredia, then came the request to approve budget amendments for Fiscal Year 2012 which turned out to be a rather perplexing debate as to the origination of and the destination of tens of thousands of dollars ($528,775.75 to be exact) from one fund to the next, with all commissioners posing questions which at one point confounded even Judge Saucedo.
Commissioner Maldonado began the discussion by asking whether or not department heads were made aware of the moving of money from their accounts, to which Judge Saucedo replied not that he was aware of.
Commissioner Rosales followed by asking if any of the originating funds would be depleted to 'Zero-balance' after subsequent moves had been made to which Judge Saucedo confessed to not knowing due to his concern over the canal break this week.
Commissioner Heredia wanted clarification on monthly finance reports which the judge confirmed that they had not received in some time.
Judge Saucedo informed Commissioner's Court that these amendments were in fact recommended by the County's financial advisor and his team which included the Assistant Auditor and that they in fact were the only solutions to a financial problem which needs to be remedied, with that the commissioner's confided in him and in Mr. Robert Rodriguez' recommendations and proceeded to vote unanimously to approve said amendments.


The next political hurdle that was faced was the approval to change a drainage project in Las Quintas from a contract bid to a force account labor contract which sparked a rather heated debate between the judge and the commissioner of Precinct .
The agenda item called for the County to be able to employ its employees despite having outsourced for outside services in order to complete a project, in this case the Las Quintas Drainage Project. Commissioner Maldonado questioned previous projects in which he was not able to have input into the project and/or the employees working on said contracts and was adamant about having the power to do so.
Commissioner Rudy Heredia intervened saying that he felt that Commissioner Maldonado was fully capable of handling these types of projects to which Judge Saucedo clarified that there may be a misunderstanding in reference to the term 'Force Account Contract'.
A verbal tennis match ensued and when a vote was finally taken, Commissioner's Court voted 3 to 1 to approve said motion with Commissioner Maldonado casting the only dissenting vote before clarifying that for the record he was indeed in favor of the motion if worded differently after citing several instances where he feels his precinct was forced to relinquish funds for questionable reasons and was reminded by the judge that some of the aforementioned amendments were being done in order to restore funds to some of his programs for that same reason.
The special meeting adjourned shortly thereafter.