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Commissioners approve DA prosecutor hires

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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 12:00 am

Two new attorneys have been approved for hire in the Ector County District Attorney’s Office, but at a higher rate than usual.

Although the county normally doesn’t hire new employees at more than a Step 5 salary, District Attorney Bobby Bland requested the authorization to hire an appellate attorney and a prosecutor at Step 8 salaries to keep competitive with other job offers.

Bland said during the meeting that the two attorneys he interviewed would take pay cuts of at least $30,000 to work for the district attorney’s office before the increase in salary.

“I’ve had very qualified people apply, which is unique for the district attorney’s office,” Bland said. “We’re in a growing economy with growing crime and more complicated issues.”

Bland said that in 2006, he’d even taken a risk on sexual assault/child abuse prosecutor and County Attorney-elect Scott Layh because Layh had only had one trial of experience when Bland hired him.

The only commissioner to vote against the request was Commissioner Freddie Gardner, who said he was afraid that acquiescing to Bland’s request would open the floodgates for similar requests of higher salaries for county employees.

Bland also said he already has the funds available in his budget to pay for the increases in salary.

Commissioners also listened to a presentation by Ernie Pages, the county’s technology consultant, about how the five-year and $8.7 million technology overhaul in the county was progressing.

Pages said during the presentation that in the next year, county employees will see drastically faster Internet connections, upgraded operating systems and upgraded Microsoft Office applications.

So far, pages said, the county has created a new Information Technology structure, hired IT staff and is in the process of deploying a microwave network throughout the county.

An item authorizing $15,000 on a marketing strategy to attract IT professionals to Ector County jobs also was approved by commissioners, which will include among other things upgrading the county website.

@OAcourts

COMMISSIONERS ALSO:

Approved a revision in the boundary lines for Precinct 305 and Precinct 412, which does not affect any residents.

Approved the reappointment of Debbie Clay to another two-year term on the Permian Basin Community Centers Board.

Denied a proposition by the city of Odessa to list the city ballot before the general ballot.

Withdrew budget transfer of $22,000 from building materials to major projects.

Approved an interlocal agreement with Odessa to use the county’s VHF frequency at CBS 7 Tower. The frequency will be used by Odessa emergency services to improve their radio communications.

Approved the participation of the Ector County Library in the Texas State Library Group Catalog and Navigator Interlibrary Loan System.

Approved the Ector County Library to join the West Texas Digital Consortium.

Approved the modification of language in utility and pipeline agreements.

Approved selling the property at 212 S. Tom Green Ave. below market value for $4,100.

Approved two budget amendments and the accounts payable fund requirements report.

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