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Goliad school resource officer plan still not defined

By ALLISON MILES
Sept. 9, 2013 at 4:09 a.m.
Updated Sept. 10, 2013 at 4:10 a.m.


projects

The Goliad County Commissioners Court on Monday approved a number of projects for the upcoming 2014 fiscal year. Those include:

• $100,000 for auditorium repairs

• $100,000 for preventative courthouse maintenance

• $60,000 for a new phone system in county buildings

• $150,000 for a new jail control panel

• $50,000 for software for the county treasurer and auditor's office

• $20,000 for information technology upgrades

• $200,000 added to the general fund balance

• $150,000 to act as seed money to construct a new senior citizens center

• $100,000 to act as seed money to construct a new emergency medical services building

• $200,000 to the water supply corporation to pay off a note to the United States Department of Agriculture

Source: Goliad County Judge David Bowman

If you go ...

• What: Goliad County Commissioners Court budget workshop for the 2014 fiscal year

• When: 2 p.m. Thursday

• Where: Commissioners Courtroom inside the Goliad County Courthouse, 127 N. Courthouse Square, Goliad

GOLIAD - Plans remain in the air regarding placement of a school resource officer in the Goliad school district.

Superintendent Emilio Vargas III on Monday approached the Goliad County Commissioners Court, requesting a "spirit of cooperation" regarding plans to maintain an officer on campus.

The county's agreement with the Goliad school district was terminated in late May and takes effect Sept. 30.

Under Vargas' proposed plan, Precinct 1 Constable Michael De La Garza would oversee the school resource officer and, if he is not available, Precinct 2 Constable Mike Thompson would then take over to provide supervision.

Both constables agreed to the plan last week, he said, noting the district is willing to pay the resource officer whatever the pay scale determines within the county.

Vargas said the district also purchased a vehicle for the officer - something he said the county promised but then never materialized - and will pay to equip and maintain it.

The district does ask that current resource officer Paul San Miguel remain on throughout this year, he said, because he knows policies and procedures.

"At a time when everyone's asking for money, we are not asking for money," Vargas said. "We are asking for the spirit of cooperation."

Goliad County Judge David Bowman said the court offered an agreement he believes to be fair - that the district have a resource officer who works under the Goliad County Sheriff's Office.

"Nobody on this court has ever said that they don't need an SRO," he said. "Everybody is in complete agreement that we need an SRO."

Still, Vargas said he prefers his plan, as the district wants to stay out of ongoing litigation involving the sheriff's office.

Former Goliad County Sheriff Robert De La Garza sued current Sheriff Kirby Brumby in July 2011, claiming political reasons were behind Brumby's decision not to hire him as school resource officer.

Also during the Monday meeting, the court chose to push back passage of the 2014 budget and 2014 tax rate until after a budget workshop scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday. Commissioner Ted Long said it was too early to make a vote.

Commissioners received their copies of the budget late last week, he said, and changes still need to be made.

Still other issues - Goliad County Attorney Rob Baiamonte encouraged the court to increase his salary to that of the county judge and sheriff, for instance, while District Clerk Mary Ellen Flores asked the court to allow her to keep all five of her employees.

"I don't think we're nearly ready," Long said of budget-related decisions.

Brumby thanked Bowman for plans to raise salaries for the sheriff's office's deputies, jailers and dispatchers in the upcoming budget but offered two recommendations.

He suggested the court freeze all elected officials' salaries at last year's rates and create a citizens advisory committee to offer input on the pay elected officials and employees should receive.

"Salaries should be based on the duties, responsibilities and requirements of each office and position," he said. "With this, the court could take action on a plan the public can support."

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