Gonzales, who was promoted by unanimous vote during the court’s meeting, is replacing Frank Montez, who died a few weeks ago.
Gonzales will start at a salary of $40,000 with an increase to $42,000 after his 90 days probationary period is completed.
Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez said, “Sadly, Mr. Frank Montez passed away a couple of weeks ago.
“Mr. Gonzales has 28 years experience with the county. Eighteen of those 28 years has been as assistant road and bridge administrator with Mr. Montez.
“We could go outside and look for applicants.
“I sincerely feel we could not hire anyone for less than the salary we are being paid today.”
The praise of Gonzales came from all of commissioners too.
Commissioner Carlos Salazar Jr. said, “Unfortunately, we lost an awesome road and bridge administrator in Frank Montez. As we all know, he battled cancer for over a year.
“During those times he was battling cancer, the department didn’t miss a beat.
“During that time, Mr. Gonzales was in charge of that department.”
Salazar, who was echoing statements made by Commissioner Dennis DeWitt, said, “(Gonzales) had a great teacher in Frank, and he is following in his footsteps.”
Commissioner Ken Haggard later added, “He had an excellent teacher, but also the student has listened well.”
Rodriguez reminded the court that Gonzales, while he was filling in for Montez, never requested additional money.
“Not only did Mr. Gonzales not come to us for additional funds for himself, we didn’t offer anything to him.”
In other action, commissioners:
• Declined to return money to the Justice of the Peace Judge Precinct 1 budget that was shifted to the JP 3 office in an earlier meeting.
• Approved the hiring of an additional employee at the Bee County tax office beginning May 1. The additional staff is needed because of the additional workload created by the starting of Scofflaw Program, which is generating more tax revenue for the county.
Salazar and Silva voted against the new position.
Salazar said that the court’s decision to wait on the JP’s funding has promoted him to vote against this.
Salazar said, “I support it. I agree with it.
“But in my good conscience, I cannot vote for it.
“Earlier today, we had a gentleman come in here and ask for some funds to make something right, and the court decided to take the direction of ‘let’s do it during the budget process.’
“I am going to use that as my reason to not support it.”
Silva, as he also said during the discussion of the JP funding request, added, “If we open the door, where are we going to stop it?”
• Postponed discussion of a letter to the Texas Railroad Commission.
“I had a phone call, and I know some of y’all had the same phone call in reference to a letter sent to the Railroad Commission,” Salazar said.
“This letter was sent on behalf of Commissioner DeWitt. In the letter, the county wishes to be an interested party in these proceedings.
“The judge and myself have been discussing this item, and neither of us could remember when the court took any action for us to move forward and send a letter to these individuals in request for a permit.”
Salazar discovered, though, that he had written an incorrect date for the mailing of the letter in question. The agenda item listed the date of March 12 for its mailing. The actual date was March 9.
DeWitt said that further discussion of this would be a violation of the open meetings act, because the agenda item was different than what Salazar wanted to discuss.
The item was on the court’s Thursday meeting notice along with a second agenda item asking if commissioners will support a resolution to the Railroad Commission regarding B&G Environmental Application for permit.
• Approved the sheriff’s office request for support in the application for the Border Star Grant.
• Approved commissioners sending out graduation certificates to graduates again this year. The expense will not be paid by the county but by the commissioners.