Monday, May 22, 2017


By Juan Montoya
A local attorney representing concerned residents of Brownsville has written City Attorney Mark Sossi saying that unless Brownsville Fire Dept. Chief Carlos Elizondo decides whether to keep his job or trustee seat on the board of the Brownsville Independent School District, his clients have instructed him to proceed with litigation to enforce the law.

Denis A. Downey wrote Sossi on April 20 giving Elizondo – and the city – 10 days to comply with applicable city personnel policy, the city charter code of ethics, and the Texas Penal Code or face litigation. (Click on graphic below to enlarge.) So far, the City Secretary's Office has not released a response by Sossi to the Downey letter.

Elizondo was elected to the board of the BISD in 2014 when he was a city employee and the president of the Brownsville Firefighters Association Local #970. He was named chief May 16, 2016. His term expires on 2018.

At the BISD board meetings, Elizondo frequently wears his fire department uniform and uses fire emergency vehicles to get to and from the meetings.

Downey, who at one time represented the watchdog group Concerned Citizens of Brownsville, a group formed to address perceived breaches of trust and outright illegality of local government officials, said he was approached by some residents who have expressed similar concern regarding city government, "and in particular, with the Brownsville Fire Chief (Elizondo).

Downey states that Elizondo – as a city policy maker and the highest departmental officer...has supervisory authority over enforcement over of fire regulations....and as BISD board part of the entity that supervises the school district and its compliance with fire regulations."

"This conflict of interest is not a 'one off' where an abstention from a BISD vote on a single issue might avoid a conflict," he wrote Sossi. "The obligation of the BISD to comply with fire regulations, like the duty of the (fire department) to enforce fire regulations, are continuous obligations."

"Of great significance is the subject matter of conflict," the Downey letter continues. "We are not talking about some financial conflict of interest with de minimus public consequences, we are talking about the safety of thousands of children as well as BISD staff."

Downey then goes on to cite law differentiating between Elizondo – considered and "official" within statutory or common law principles – and, unlike underlings like an assistant chief, has significant control or policy-making authority. Subordination of this authority appears to be involved, Downey wrote, in the relationship of fire regulations to school district conduct.

"Based on the duties involved in this instance it does appear that there is a conflict between the two public offices (Elizondo) holds," the letter reads.
Downey goes on to cite the apparent violation in the case of Elizondo of Brownsville's personnel policy Section 702 that deals with political activity by city employees:

B. Specifically, City Employees may not engage in the following activities:
4. Hold an elective City office or hold an elective or appointive office in any other jurisdiction where service would constitute a direct conflict of interest with City employment, with or without renumeration. Upon assuming such office, an Employee shall resign or shall be dismissed for cause upon failure to do so.

"The sound basis for this policy is to avoid having an employee trying to serve two masters," Downey wrote. "The policy is particularly important when the government employee is a policy maker like a fire chief. It is alleged, for example, that Mr. Elizondo frequently has irreconcilable meetings of the City of Brownsville and the BISD."

Downey also asserts that under the Brownsville City Charter Code of Ethics, 38-38 provides that:
b) Employees. A city employee immediately forfeits employment with the city if the employee:
(1) Becomes elected and takes office to an elective public office where the holding of that office will conflict with the full and proper discharge of the employee's duties with the city; or
(2) Is a managerial or supervisory city employee and becomes elected and takes office to an elective public office of an entity having direct or indirect contractual relations with the city that involve the employee's department.

Another section (38-37) applies when a city employee becomes involved with another political entity and makes use of government time and/or property for the benefit of another entity,. He cites the section: 
b) Employees. A city employee immediately forfeits employment with the city if the employee:
(1) Becomes elected and takes office to an elective public office where the holding of that office will conflict with the full and proper discharge of the employee's duties with the city; or

(2)Is a managerial or supervisory city employee and becomes elected and takes office to an elective public office of an entity having direct or indirect contractual relations with the city that involve the employee's department.

Downey then goes on to cite at least four instances when Elizondo has been seen using a fire department vehicle at high rates of speed in downtown streets and his use of the flashing lights to cut through traffic because he was impatient with the congestion. In one of those instances – included in a video DVD attached to the letter – it is alleged that he was traveling at speeds close to 100 miles an hour and that he had a passenger, "someone believed to be his daughter."

Downey also says that during the opening of the River High School indoor football facility, and official BISD event, Elizondo arrived in an ambulance "driven by an employee of the City of Brownsville. (Elizondo) attended the lengthy ceremony in an official capacity and the city employee, while on city time, waited for over an hour for (him) to finish his BISD duties."

Downey says such conduct comes under the jurisdiction of local district attorneys, but also within the jurisdiction of the Texas Attorney General to prosecute under relevant sections of the Texas Penal Code relating to abuse of office.

"A Texas Freedom Of Information Act will be shortly submitted and I wish to make sure no inter-departmental correspondence, emails, logs or other fire department or 911 documents are destroyed," Downey concluded.


Anonymous said...

If Mr. Elizondo is force to vacate his position with the Board of Trustee, it is only appropriate that he be replaced by the opposing candidate when Mr. Elizondo was elected into office. That person is Mr. Robert Rodriguez, a highly qualified and highly respected individual, who will serve the community to the best of his ability.

Anonymous said...

Downey is ANGLO. I'm not. I'm Chief Elizondo!!!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Elizondo needs to leave he is a jerk a low life , has no business being chief

Anonymous said...

Like other city officials, Elizondo is an arrogant, self-serving DICK! He seems to glow in the "power" he assumes from his two positions. He gets his picture in the paper regularly through BISD events, and makes sure the "Chief" is displayed to the media when there is a fire. If he had a dimple in his bald head he would even look like a DICK!

Anonymous said...

The Fire Department would be well served of this phallic head fool would choose to stay with BISD.

Anonymous said...

Once again!!!! Everyone is jealous of the Fire Chief Big Hose Stupid dumbasses HA HA HA HA

Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, but this Brownsville politics at it's best. It's just another day in paradise

Anonymous said...

BISD needs you Elizondo don't leave !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Obviously he will choose to be fire chief rather that board member

Anonymous said...

Get a life Pat Ahumada! Don't you get tired of hating on Charlie? It's not like he forced you to deposit a city check in your personal account or run illegal game rooms for Christ's sake. I can't believe we actually voted for you when others warned us against it. NEVER AGAIN!

A concerned citizen said...

Pat, it always seems to be your enemies conspiring against the people. It is more likely that you are full of shit and no one believes for a second that you aren't posting as anon (May 22, 2017 at 1:38 PM). One of the only things Charlie Atkinson did right as a commissioner was not to follow you. You have no credibility what so ever. That's why you got a measly 10% of the vote when Tony Martinez beat your ass. Brownsville doesn't want you Pat. Do Brownsville and the world a favor and FUCK OFF.

joe said...

He thinks, he is transparent !
He is a Dick !

Anonymous said...

Elizondo has absolutely no business being Fire Chief or for that matter a Trustee. He is so stupit and incompetent, I say he chooses his job over BISD. He'd rather have the city's money. Mr. Downy move forward.

Anonymous said...


Pat Ahumada said...

Attack all you want anonymous. It does not phase me, especially coming from little spineless individuals who dish out attacks under Anonymous because they have no credibility. Thank Atkinson FOR Sossi, millions in cost over runs at the sports park, United Brownsville, present and worst Management this city has ever seen and a lot more that has proven to hurt our city. Anonymous, you are just as spineless as Atkinson was and is.

Anonymous said...

Yea the one up his ass HA HAHA

Anonymous said...

Where is the original Pat Ahumada comment?

Anonymous said...

Business as usual in Nacoland.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on sossi
I don't agree giving Atkinson the blame on the fire chief issue --- the blame is someone who is so arrogant as to believe policy or rules
don't apply to him

This all has to stop including the sossi having a job just for insurance- I will never vote for a commissioner who voted yes on that-- that is an insult to those who sacrifice to cover their own kids

As for the chief- we'll the men on his board want to keep him for a reason----maybe he's trying to extend the supt and give her another raise --- saddle the community with another year of threats- intimidation-irresponsible spending

Anonymous said...

While you are at it, get rid of all the BISD school board immediately, for it is so obvious that it is no longer about the children, but about insurance, over-time, grievances to reap easy money and positions, or maybe even other incentives that they personally acquire. It seems this is happening more often now in any position of authority that goes to their head even before they win. It is me, me, me and pure lies they make up. Have them show you all those emails and phone calls they supposively get from all the citizens of Brownsville. They make things up - bola de escandalosas.