Commissioners doing business
Mar 21, 2013 | 1590 views | 1 1 comments | 178 178 recommendations | email to a friend | print

I wonder if the people of Bee County are aware of how their elected county commissioners operate.

I am sure most have read the two previous articles concerning the Head Start’s former program director, Alex Rodriguez. The Head Start employees were not heard, and his unprofessional behavior was not made part of public record. Rodriguez did not participate in the last three federal reviews the program went through. In fact, at one time, Head Start was without a program director for a year or more and functioned well, due to the staff, not Rodriguez.

Complaints about Rodriguez were shared with BCAA Executive Director Anna Simo in October, and she told employees that she would look into the matter. Rodriguez was placed on administrative leave three days later, though he remained on the payroll. At the end of December, these employees were told they should attend the Commissioners Court meeting on Dec. 31.

They attended, only to hear policy was not followed and they would have to file a formal grievance before any action could be taken. The five-step grievance procedure began on Jan. 5.

After numerous delays, extensions and miscommunications, employees showed up at the courthouse for the scheduled Feb. 25 meeting only to be told that they no longer needed to attend and that Rodriguez’s resignation had already been accepted before the meeting had even started.

Commissioner Haggard made a motion to dismiss the meeting, to which Commissioner Rodriguez replied that the resignation was accepted prematurely and employees had valid complaints that should be heard and the grievance procedure should be seen through to completion. Mrs. Petrus said that the employees were being denied their due process and that policy states that the grievance procedure is to continue until the remedy being sought is achieved. Commissioner DeWitt said that they already had all the affidavits. Petrus explained that there was additional information that had come out and she felt that the court should hear it. That employees were not seeking resignation and they wanted Rodriguez to be held accountable for his actions.

Commissioner Haggard again made the motion to dismiss the meeting; Commissioner DeWitt seconded; the “yeas” carried the motion, and everything was swept under the carpet. This is how your county government conducts business. It doesn’t appear that they are working for the people they claim to represent.

Also, Rodriguez remained on the county payroll for four months, not reporting to work even once – that’s $18,000 in salary, plus benefits. Simo felt that he was a threat to the staff and should stay home. During his lengthy administrative leave, he was able to find a new job.

He also was given a substantial raise when he came back as program director, also clearance for a new four-door pickup to drive daily from the BCAA office to the Ayala Center (maybe two miles round trip), the ability to change job title and the requirements needed for the position for a particular staff member – all with the executive director’s approval.

Maricela Trijo

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March 21, 2013
I find it hard to believe that a man that was considered a threat to staff would be employed for this agency for so long. Not only that, but also hired for different positions there over the years. Yes he may have had access to a work vehicle I think he earned that right for dealing with all the “issues” over the years. The statement made about not participating in the last 3 federal reviews is an ignorant statement. In fact 3 years he participated in the federal review but in a different capacity. Also, towards the statement about him being put on administrative leave while on payroll clearly administrative leave to my definition is leave with pay.

Thanks! :)