Friday, March 17, 2017


By Juan Montoya

There is a rule in setting discipline in county government that states that unless a supervisor imposes the rules on everyone equally and fairly, the results will be chaos or fuel jealousies and favoritism.

In  a previous lifetime while working for Cameron County as a Road and Bridge precinct supervisor, this lesson was brought home almost daily. At the time (1980s) there were relatives working together against the nepotism rules that none seemed to adhere to. Over time – by placing one of the relatives in another precinct or by attrition – we gradually limited that number. Having a relative supervising a relative breeds favoritism and discontent in the road crews.

Recently we heard that county employee Martin Salinas working with the precinct 2 crew was given a written verbal (well, which is it?) reprimand after safety office Julio Raygosa (in photo at right) alerted his supervisor Santana Vallejo that the worker had alighted from a backhoe and was not wearing a safety vest as required y the policy when crews are on a construction site.

Salinas said he had forgotten his gear when they moved him from the truck he usually uses and told to drive another one. In the haste to get to the site where caliche was going to be poured in Cameron Park before 8 a.m., he forgot to retrieve it from the other truck.

However, Raygosa and Vallejo were adamant about enforcing the rules ad issued him the written verbal (again, which is it?) reprimand. But do you notice something about the photo of Raygosa standing by the county truck? He is not wearing  a vest or hard had and is standing smack in the middle of a construction zone taking pictures. So why do the rules apply to the workers like Salinas and not to the safety officer who enforces them?
(Update: Raygosa claims that since he had already stopped the workers – and even though the heavy equipment was still running and caliche pouring – the vest and hard hat rule didn't apply to him.)

We have asked around the other precincts to see whether such a written verbal warning has been issued to any of the four precinct road crews. So far, we have received no reports that any such warning have been issued to any county workers. (Update: Actually, there have been two such written verbal reprimands, both issued at the time that Salinas got his.)

Usually, unless something has changed, there is a progressive discipline that starts with a verbal warning and then rises in severity to a written reprimand, etc. There was no verbal reprimand here.

It's this kind of selective enforcement of the rules that causes discontent and resentment in workers. We also found out that last February 3 Vallejo had backed up his truck into a power pole and broken a back light. Instead of reporting it, taking a drug test and defensive driving that is required by county policy,
Several workers say that Vallejo simply ignored the rules and bought a replacement back light and installed it himself.

By not reporting the incident, Vallejo tried to avoid avoided taking the drug test and the defensive driving course required before workers/operators are allowed to drive county vehicles and equipment. Later reports indicate that he was made to take the driving course after supervisors heard about the crash.

An obvious case of nepotism is the continued supervision of Ovidio Cisneros by his brother Silverio Cismeros, the supervisor of the Pct. 1 construction crew. Hilario Cisneros, also under Silverio Cisneros, is his brother-in-law and alaso works for Pct. 1.

The Cisneos are loyal supporters of commissioner Sofia Benavides and have thus far continued to work together is what seems like an obvious violation of the rules.
Human Resource personnel have known about this apparent violation of the rules and are said to be looking at the issue to see how it can be resolved. Meanwhile, we have a brother supervising a brother and his brother-in-law, to the obvious resentment of the rest of the crew.

County officials responsible for the enforcement of the county's personnel policy might do well to examine these cases and apply the policies that address this behavior fairly and equally, If not, they'll end with what currently exists, chaos and discontent in the ranks of county employee and allegations of favoritism.


Anonymous said...

Sweet Jesus, Juanito have you set out to change Mexican culture single handed. You know in our culture having power is not about treating people equal. We treat our friends and family as special cases. Treating people equal is the Gringo/American way. Have you gone Gringo?

Anonymous said...

The "Mexican culture" should be in Mexico.....not in the U.S. While "favortism", "padrismo" and nepotism may be accepted in Mexico, it is not acceptable here and in many cases is illegal. Saying this is cultural is a cop out.....

Anonymous said...

Mexicans at play, bro.

Anonymous said...

So hows the county engineer/ passenger doing ????????

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

There is a difference between "Mexican culture" and unfairly treating workers. If this is something that Sofia Benavides supports, maybe people should think twice about voting for her and her family.

Anonymous said...

How's she doing or who's she's doing?

Anonymous said...

Well in San Benito if you make over 40 thousand a year you don't have to play by the rules,regulation,city ordinance or city charter. Only the pobresitos taxpayers do.

Anonymous said...