Welcome to the first issue of the El Paso Chusmas. As you know, the El Paso Chusmas represent everything that is wrong with El Paso. Today’s El Paso Chusma is Jose Rodriguez. I did not intend to start the Chusma lineup with Jose Rodriguez. However, recent events forced me to bring him to your attention.
Although Jose Rodriguez is a long time Chusma member, his long-time activities are the poster boy example of everything that is wrong with El Paso. Let’s start with his aide, David Stout. As you most of you know, David Stout is running against Sergio Lewis for Precinct Two County Commissioner.
KVIA’s Collin Carroll reported on May 5, 2014 that David Stout has used 498 hours of his comp time from August through March. That’s not as bad as it can be reasonably argued that comp time is time in lieu of pay for working hours outside of the normal work schedule. It can also be argued that comp time saves taxpayers’ money. Maybe not so persuasively but nonetheless it is a reasonable argument to be made.
However, it is the sick leave that no matter how you look at it there can be no reasonable explanation. According to Carroll’s report, David Stout has called in sick 152 hours between August and March. Carroll adds that in February alone, Stout called in sick 64 hours, or eight days on a normal eight-day schedule.
That is a lot of sick time.
On March 5, Diana Washington Valdez reported in the local paper that Stout was “on a leave of absence from Rodriguez’s office during the campaign”. Washington-Valdez’ article was unclear as to when Stout started his “leave of absence” however from KVIA’s report it appears that it started at about the time his paid leave options seemed to have ended.
Unfortunately it is not as simple as that. Washington Valdez wrote on March 5 that Stout was on leave. Yet, KVIA yesterday published that Jose Rodriguez wrote to them that he had put Stout on unpaid leave as a result of KVIA’s report. So which is it, was Stout on leave since March 5? Or, was he put on leave yesterday? Someone is being dishonest about the leave.
According to Stout’s comments, he believes that he “earned” the sick leave for whatever he wishes to use it for. Sick leave was never intended as vacation padding in either the private sector and most definitely in the taxpayer funded workplace. Sick leave is designed to give the worker an opportunity to deal with an illness without having to choose between a paycheck or having to work while ill. It has never been intended as a paid vacation to do what you will.
In fact, the policy at the capital is that all sick leave that is more than two days must be accompanied by a doctor’s note. Clearly it is for illnesses. Yet, David Stout’s sick leaves are for two days at the most. I wonder why.
Using sick leave for other than dealing with an illness is simply stealing from your employer. In this case, the employer are the taxpayers.
What does David Stout’s apparent misuse of sick leave have to do with Jose Rodriguez?
Jose Rodriguez is the one person that determines whether David Stout has abused his sick leave in order to campaign. Jose Rodriguez is the person responsible to ensure that David Stout does not abuse the taxpayers.
Unfortunately, I do not expect Jose Rodriguez to actually care about the taxpayers of the community because his record clearly shows that he has no problem with those he supervises to run for office while being paid by the taxpayers of the community. It is part of his modus-operandi.
You do remember Naomi Gonzalez, currently in jail for driving intoxicated, don’t you?
In 2007, she went to work for Jose Rodriguez as an assistant county attorney. In 2010, Naomi Gonzalez challenged Norma Chavez for the State House seat held by Chavez. Before taking a leave of absence to campaign, Naomi Gonzalez was criticized for accepting a taxpayer-funded paycheck while running for office.
Today, an El Paso Texas House Representative sits in jail. What does this fact say about Naomi R. Gonzalez and her former enabler, Jose Rodriguez?
However, none of this should surprise us because Jose Rodriguez is one of the original “three amigos” who have heaped destruction upon El Paso through the public agenda the three have imposed on the city. Ray Caballero and Eliot Shapleigh are the two other amigos.
More importantly, Jose Rodriguez was the county attorney in charge of contracts and business practices when the majority of the known public corruption cases were perpetuated upon the taxpayers. The county attorney’s ultimate responsibility is to ensure that the contracts and process at the county are legal.
How then is it possible that Jose Rodriguez missed all of the corruption in his midst?
As you meet the rest of the members of the El Paso Chusmas you will see that incompetence is a major requirement for joining the team. Jose Rodriguez makes the El Paso Chusmas proud.