October 4, 2016
Honorable Judge Saucedo:
I have read the news regarding the mess up with the Maverick County Fiscal Year Budget and the new applicable fiscal year tax rate, and the interest of the public to want to be heard by Commissioner's Court regarding same. Based on what I have read, it appears that you have taken it upon yourself to limit the public speakers to three (3) minutes and have also taken it upon yourself, to deny anyone else from speaking if the other interested citizens wish to also be heard regarding the same issues. I also understand that you limited Commissioner Roberto Ruiz's time in speaking in Commissioner's Court. I hope that Maverick County Commissioners start exercising their authority at all times to speak in Commissioner's Court without fearing your arrogance. I hope they realize that you have no authority to limit the speaking time of anyone because no one has delegated you that authority.
Please let me try to help you correct what you are doing that is not acceptable and why you are totally in error and it is possible someone just might file a civil action suit against you and the County.
First of all, you as County Judge have three (3) positions as an elected official. One, you are the County Judge and have authority to decide your courtroom decorum as you see fit, if you are exercising your authority as a Judge in a judicial case before your court.
Two, as an elected County Judge, you and you alone are the Chief Executive Officer for the County and are authorized to sign contracts, etc., but only if such contracts have been approved by majority of Commissioner's Court. You alone have no authority to do anything as an elected official that is not legally expressed by State statutes. Three, you and you alone are the Chief Budget Officer for the County.
However, when you are sitting as a member of Commissioner's Court, the only authority you have is to preside over the meeting. You do not have sole authority to limit anyone from speaking nor to decide the time they may speak. Apparently you expressed yourself at the meeting of October 3, 2016 as having the authority to set the decorum at your personal discretion. When you are conducting county administrative business, you are conducting such in an administrative capacity and not judicial. If you stop and think a little, you will realize and should be aware, that County business is discussed at a "Commissioner's Court" meeting and not David Saucedo's Court nor is it a County Judge's Court. Let me explain.
In order to have any authority on the Commissioner's Court decorum regulations, you need to have a public workshop and allow all the commissioners and the public to participate in deciding what rules or regulations the majority of the Commissioner's Court wish to approve. You need to let the public know by public notice, at the courthouse and the local media, of Commissioners Court interest in wanting to set rules for the "decorum" of Commissioner's Court, but you and you alone, cannot do that. You only have one (1) vote and are conducting business in Commissioner's Court as any President in any corporation, presiding, not as a Judge and surely not judicially but administratively. Once Commissioner's Court has decided what rules of decorum they want to approve, a Resolution needs to be prepared and publicly approved by Commissioner's Court in an open meeting. Only then, if Commissioners delegate you that authority, can you alone rule, but only on those regulations that have been properly posted for the public to see and that have been approved by Commissioner's Court.
Another thing, Commissioner's Court was created to do legislative decisions for the County. Commissioner's Court is the legislative body of the County, and therefore, I repeat again, "Commissioner's Court" means all of Commissioner's Court, not the County Judge alone.
What you have been doing is violating the public's Constitutional Right of the First Amendment, which is: FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Because you have allowed speakers to speak before Commissioner's Court in previous meetings, you have removed the right of Commissioner's Court to just handle county business. What you have actually done is that you have opened the door and given all speakers before Commissioner's Court the right to exercise their First Amendment Right of Freedom of Speech. The fact that you are denying them the right to speak or limit their speaking time, you are opening the door for someone to sue the County for Constitution Rights violations. When you limit a speaker's time to speak without the existence of a Resolution by Commissioner's Court authorizing you to have that authority, you are violating the person's right of the First Amendment, the Freedom of Speech. You need to leave your arrogance elsewhere before you create more liability for Maverick County and the taxpayers you represent, me being one of them.
I suggest you discuss these issues with your attorney before you create more liability for Maverick County.
Another issue is the County Budget and Tax Rate that was not approved by the thirtieth (30th) of September. I understand that you are blaming the Auditor, Ms. Watkins and the County Tax Assessor Collector, lsamari Villarreal. However, you and you alone are the Chief Budget Officer for the County. It is your responsibility to add and subtract when you do the budget and make sure that all is in compliance with state laws. At this time, anyone can file an injunction and stop you flat on your tracks for continuing to spend taxpayer's money without a legally approved budget and tax rate.
Being the Chief Budget Officer and County Chief Administrator, I do not believe you want any more liabilities against the County. So I am asking you to please leave your pride and arrogance aside and start complying with your duties and responsibilities as an elected official.
Enriqueta Diaz Hale