Letter read by Katie Sanchez at Wednesday’s Commisioner’s Court

Guest Commentary

Good Morning,

First of all I want to let you know that I am writing this before any of the agenda item has been discussed and my apologies if I repeat anything that has already been discussed. I find it very difficult to be in this position again after the discussion on April 11, when an agenda item referencing OMB was presented. At that meeting, the County attorney suggested that when there were disputes between departments they should be handled between each other or go before the Judge and if no resolution could be found then it would be brought before the Court. To this date no one has ever told what the issue was from that agenda item, or what the issues are now.

OMB was created for the continuity of the County finances. The idea behind the creation was so the County could have a smooth transition any time there was an election. The county was struggling with record keeping at the time and when elected officials change there were always problems knowing where the county stood on grants, budgets, and other financial areas. OMB is the Commissioners Court eyes and ears as far as finances go.

It is very obvious that this item was placed on the agenda as another effort to get rid of me not the department because of one person’s feelings towards me because I ran for treasurer not once but twice, even though I lost on both occasions she just can’t let it go. The retaliation is never ending and very exhausting. She has gone to members of the court (who are my bosses)and complained but none have talked to me, they just put it on the agenda. Employees have been encouraged to resist OMB, many I have no clue why. The treasurer is frustrated because employees go to OMB for help or to ask questions because they are not comfortable going to her office. She has yelled at the County Judge in the hallway and could be heard throughout the courthouse. She yelled at the past Treasurer on more than one occasion and was heard throughout the courthouse. Her department has yelled at me that could be heard throughout the courthouse. Her department has shown disrespect to other elected officials employees by voicing opinions about election result stating “4 more years of pure hell”. Her department has stated that the County Judge is “a bold faced liar”, and this is the “crookedist county”. It is a very hostile work environment, employees are pitted against each other because of the Treasurers anger for me. My employee(s) past and present have been aware of the hostility and have treated departments with respect and OMB has continued to help others regardless. A lot of time is wasted going from one office to another gossiping about OMB. Some commissioners if not all are aware of the volatile situation at the courthouse, yet it is allowed to continue and the only solution is to keep bringing items to the agenda in hopes of getting rid of Katie, it has nothing to do with the job OMB is doing or saving tax payers money. One commissioner travels to Presidio with the Treasurer to meet with employees and/or other elected officials to encourage the hostility. This is obvious by emails I receive and who is carbon copied on them. Whether this is happening or not, it sure looks like it.

Some hostility was created when I questioned on call time given to road and bridge employees during the Christmas holidays. Employees received compensation for time spent on call not on duty. The road and bridge supervisor told me this was approved by three commissioners and was announced at a barbeque during the holidays. Many employees were upset and asked me, they said the Treasurer was present when it was announced and she said nothing so they did not ask her. Yes, it was election time and I was jokingly asked what was I going to do for a vote, or when was I going to bake something for them. I do not believe anything was done in exchange for a vote, however when you have a commissioner helping the treasurer with her campaigning and things like this happen the look of impropriety is present.

I have been blocked from some of the Presidio County records, because my access violates the Public information act, even though I am an employee. The County Judge has been blocked from the same information even though she is the highest elected official, chief budget and financial officer for the county and for the same reason. This took place shortly after the on call time came out, the Treasurer requested I be in executive session and only days after the Judge received additional training on the county financial software. Yet the JP was backing up the information on the county server which included financial information, and that seemed to be ok at the time. Back up documentation for invoices is no longer be scanned. Just more retaliation and creates so much work, trying to get invoices for inventory, and will be difficult to get documents for reimbursements on grant related items and reconciling grants reimbursements with our software.

Commissioners Court is my supervisors, and it is very discouraging and frustrated when the elected officials who are my bosses have never come to me and told me what I am doing wrong or addressed any complaints they may have received. My door has always been open and each of you have my phone number. You are my boss and should not encourage others to be resistant to OMB when I am doing my do diligence when it comes to public funds. I have been told that employees are complaining because I question some of their purchases, which I understood was part of my job. It is hard to issue purchase orders to the same department for the same thing, for example purchasing tires for the same vehicle two months apart, large amounts of fuel monthly when the mileage logs are not reflecting the miles. I also informed the court that there was not a current contract for the purchase of aviation fuel however fuel was continued to be purchased without a valid contract and sometimes without a purchase order. So, yes there are going to be upset departments and they are going to complain, however these issues were not discussed with me so I could show you the statues and show you the documentation. I have been called into executive session when I would not issue a purchase order because the department did not have funds on the correct line item, and another time for a budget disagreement. I was accused of disrespecting an elected official. Regardless, the executive session was not worded correctly according to LGC 551.074 and I did not know until I was called in that it was about me.

In the process of trying to get the County’s assets straight after they were given to OMB in total “dis array”, other things have come to light. One being the county has built a structure on property that we are unable to locate a deed verifying this property belongs to Presidio County. It has electricity, so a deed needed to be produced for this process, however it has not been given to OMB to add it to the County inventory.

In the process of obtaining all contracts and lease agreements for Presidio County’s annual audit, I have encountered other issues. Presidio County has approximately 32 hangars between the Presidio and Marfa airports of which 4 are owned by the County and there should be lease agreements for each I have a total of 8 lease agreements. One of the agreements is for a county owned hangar. Requesting and trying to obtain this information has created some animosity. OMB face this type of things each day, we just handle them and never were told we are doing it incorrectly.

When you tell employees they can’t do something they have always done, they are going to be mad, it worse when they are encouraged. Many get offended because I am an employee and not elected but I always try to have a solution. Presidio County is lacking in regards to respect for each other. We are here to serve the public to take care of their money, time should not be spent acting like jr high school children. I never thought that I would be pushing 60 years old and be fighting like this. My family has suffered because I can’t give them the attention they deserve due to the constant bickering I face every day. This environment is not healthy and its exhausting and needs to stop. I like my job and love working with numbers, but when your stomach and head hurt and you dread coming to work, change needs to happen. It’s hard to focus on the task at hand, because you never know when you will be on the chopping block for doing your job just because you ran for office. I am a tax payer, and I had every right to run for Treasurer. I wanted to make a difference for Presidio County as well as the employees. I lost, and I still come to work every day and try to be positive, I am the one who should be mad. I hope this brings some resolution to all the animosity and employees can focus on serving the public instead of having to pick sides. I want to thank Commissioner Vasquez, Commissioner Bentley and Frances for reassuring my assistant that she would be ok, and thanks to all of you for allowing me the time to speak, and my voice finally be heard.

Katie Sanchez

OMB Director