County Commissioner Carlos Leon held his monthly Roundtable Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday, September 30, 2015. Guest speaker Judge Veronica Escobar spoke on the latest information concerning El Paso Children’s Hospital.
The Roundtable Advisory Board meets every third Wednesday of the month to discuss issues without injecting political biases and consistently sustain a nonpartisan stance.
Commissioner Leon welcomed VIP Pharmacy and presented them with a certificate of appreciation expressing the importance of local business, as it plays an essential role in making strong communities.
On September 25, 2015, during the Council of Governments (COG) meeting, Commissioner Leon was honored by fellow elected officials as the ELECTED OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR.
On the morning of September 16, 2015, Commissioner Leon had the honor to speak at the El Paso Electric Employees Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast, where he had the opportunity to thank all the volunteers that spend a tremendous amount of time helping and supporting different organizations throughout the city of El Paso.
Through the Volunteers in Action (VIA) Program, El Paso Electric participates in civic and charitable activities. Hundreds of employees throughout the year contribute thousands of hours to many community events around the city.
Each year El Paso Electric celebrates employee volunteerism with an "Awards Power Breakfast," where outstanding El Paso Electric volunteers are nominated and selected by co-workers. Honorees are awarded the prestigious VIA MegaWatt Award for Excellence in Community Service.
On Friday, September 11, 2015, Commissioner Leon re-qualified for his Retired Police Officers certification at the El Paso Police Department Training Academy.
During Commissioners Court Monday morning, it was resolved that September 14, 2015 be recognized as “John Gable Day,” in honor of Mr. Gable, Region 19 Teacher of the Year.
lMr. John Gable, a 26-year career educator has been teaching Welding and Career and Technology for the past 23 years at Jefferson High School in El Paso, Texas. He is also currently a dedicated head coach for the Girls Jefferson Varsity Softball team.
Mr. Gable has a great message for student advocacy as he was once a self-proclaimed bad student who struggled with homelessness. After going back to school, Mr. Gable obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree and passionately teaches year after year with endless enthusiasm.
Mr. Gable is one of three finalists for Texas Secondary Teacher of the Year, arriving at that honor by first being named Jefferson Teacher of the Year, then the El Paso Independent School District Secondary Teacher of the Year, and followed by Region 19 Secondary Teacher of the Year. He is the fourth consecutive EPISD educator to earn Region 19 Teacher of the Year honors. He will travel to Austin for interviews in October before the Texas Teacher of the Year panel of judges. Mr. Gable is an excellent representation of El Paso and we wish him the best.
Aisha Al-Naiem, a nursing student from the Gayle Greve Hunt School of Nursing was presented with a certificate of appreciation for volunteering at Commissioner Leon’s 1st Annual Blood Drive/Health Fair on August 27, 2015.
Commissioner Leon expressed his deep gratitude to all the volunteers who came out to help the Eastside community during the blood drive and health fair. Among the organizations that participated in the blood drive were: University Medical Center, Gayle Hunt School of Nursing, Smile Magic, El Paso Diabetes Association and Desert Imaging.
County Commissioner Carlos Leon held his 1st Annual Blood Drive/Health Fair yesterday, August 27, 2015, at the El Paso County Eastside Annex. Commissioner Leon wants to thank everyone who came together to make the 1st annual blood drive a success by surpassing our goal and adding 43 blood donations to our local supply.
The Blood Drive will benefit United Blood Services, which supplies area hospitals with the lifesaving blood our community depends on. On August 26, 2009 Commissioner Leon himself depended on volunteer blood donors following a serious motorcycle accident in Mesilla, New Mexico, which nearly ended his life. After receiving several blood transfusions and undergoing multiple surgeries, Commissioner Leon made a significant recovery, and today wants to give back to the community and help ensure there is blood available when needed.
Donors visited with representatives from University Medical Center, Texas Tech, Smile Magic, El Paso Diabetes Association, Desert Imaging and were treated to free breakfast provided by Taco Bell.
On the morning of August 10, 2015 during commissioners court, Commissioner Carlos Leon recognized the week of August 17th-21st 2015 as “David L. Carrasco Job Corps Week” in El Paso County.
Job Corps is a no-cost education and career technical training program administered by the US Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training.
The center opened in 1970 in downtown El Paso as the El Paso Job Corps Center. In 1979, the center moved to a larger five-acre campus on the east side of El Paso. In 1991, the center name was changed to honor David L. Carrasco, who served as the center's first director for over twenty years.
On Tuesday, August 4, 2015, Commissioner Leon had the privilege to speak for the Texas Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association.
Texas Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association
The mission of the Texas Citizen Police Academy Alumni Association is to assist and educate the various Citizen Police Academy Alumni Associations within the State of Texas to better serve their communities by more effectively partnering with and supporting the law enforcement agencies in their area.
By Aileen B. Flores / El Paso Times / Follow @AileenBFlores
El Paso Times Posted: 08/02/2015 04:44:22 PM MDT
University Medical Center President and CEO Jim Valenti, right, addresses county commissioners Wednesday. Chief Financial Officer Michael Nunez is at center, and Board President Steve DeGroat is at left. (VICTOR CALZADA — EL PASO TIMES)
University Medical Center of El Paso CEO Jim Valenti angered a county commissioner by saying during a recent meeting that last year's layoffs at the hospital were used to oust poor performers.
Valenti and his staff presented UMC's proposed budget to Commissioners Court on July 29, when Commissioner Carlos Leon asked whether UMC might rehire some of the 56 people the county hospital laid off last year. UMC is projecting some growth for the coming fiscal year.
"Those areas were in support departments and administrative, and quite frankly, when you look at those and size up the actual persons that left, and I don't want to be crass about it, but I want to say that a good third of it were on disciplinary measures that you don't want back," Valenti said.
But in a letter sent to UMC employees announcing the layoffs on July 25, 2014, Valenti said the layoffs had nothing to do with job performance.
"Please know that this action is in no way a reflection of your work. Each of you has contributed so much to our incredible transformation during the last decade," Valenti wrote.
Valenti didn't return calls for comment. UMC spokesman Ryan Mielke declined to comment about Valenti's remarks about the layoffs.
Leon, who last year said he had lost trust in Valenti, in a Friday interview with the El Paso Times sharply criticized the CEO for his recent remarks. He said it was unacceptable for Valenti to refer to some laid-off employees as "subpar."
"I don't understand his lack of honesty when dealing with the Commissioners Court, and shame on him that he has said that about his own employees," Leon said.
"Why are you going to embarrass employees in public? As every decent manager knows, always praise employees in public and reprimand them in private," Leon continued. "Was he lying to me last year, or was he lying to me this week? I'm just very disappointed at him, again."
The layoffs came as bonuses for Valenti and other top administrators came into question.
Leon said his distrust in Valenti grew in August 2014, when the hospital CEO sent Leon an email stating that neither he nor his staff would be receiving bonuses that year.
However, only four months after the layoffs when UMC officials claimed that the hospital was going through tough economic times, the hospital board awarded Valenti a $120,000 bonus. Valenti gave other executives bonuses totaling $180,000.
During UMC's budget presentation to commissioners, Leon told Valenti to be mindful of bonuses.
For the proposed 2016 fiscal budget, UMC is expected to award almost $4 million in bonuses — $1.7 million more than the current year.
According to an incentive analysis provided by UMC to Commissioners Court, the main growth in the incentive amount is due to $1.6 million in incentives budgeted for the doctors at the new neighborhood clinics.
A breakdown on the individual bonus amounts and who might receive them was not immediately available.
University Medical Center of El Paso's proposed budget for the 2016 fiscal year is about
$587 million, an increase of about 6 percent over the current year. The budget must first be approved by the UMC board of managers as well as Commissioners Court. It would become effective Oct. 1.
Commissioner Leon welcomed Chuy's Mexican Restaurant at their Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at The Fountains shopping center in East Central El Paso. The El Paso restaurant is the chain's 64th location, reported Morgan Korous, the restaurant's general manager.
Chuy's opened on April 16, 1982 in an old, abandoned Texas Barbeque joint on iconic Barton Springs Road in Austin, TX. There was seating for about sixty, a women's restroom the size of a broom closet and a men's restroom that was, well, outside. Founders Mike Young and John Zapp had a vision of a fun and funky Tex-Mex restaurant that served authentic and fresh food in an atmosphere that appealed to everyone. From these humble beginnings Chuy's was born, and is now loved by thousands of people around the nation.
On the evening of July 6, 2015, Commissioner Carlos Leon and the El Paso County Public Works Department met with the Desert Acceptance area (Square Dance) community about an upcoming $8.5 million United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wastewater Project.
Community members from the Square Dance area had the opportunity to convey an existing 30 foot road easement to the County of El Paso. The property conveyed will allow the County the ability to make improvements with the proposed wastewater improvement project.
El Paso County is proposing to extend wastewater service to the Desert Acceptance (Square Dance) neighborhood located in eastern areas of El Paso outside the City Limits. Currently, this neighborhood does not enjoy any existing public wastewater services, and the disposal of wastewater via individual septic tanks. The proposed wastewater collection system will provide residents with wastewater services and reconnect with existing wastewater systems in the surrounding area. Project stakeholders include the County of El Paso, United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development (USDA-RD), El Paso Water Utilities (EPWU), and property owners located within the Square Dance neighborhood.
County Commissioner Carlos Leon wants to thank the Eastside community for the kindhearted support and welcome at the 36th Annual Del Norte Fourth of July Parade this past holiday weekend.
Commissioner Leon honored Corporal Sergio Camacho during Commissioners Court for his courageous and generous organ donation for a fellow employee, Lt. Michaela Hebeker, of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Corporal Camacho made the donation possible through the process of joining the kidney exchange program at the Texas Transplant Institute in San Antonio, where compatible donor and recipient pairs are matched. Corporal Camacho ultimately had a kidney removed which enabled Lt. Michaela Hebeker to receive a compatible kidney from a donor, giving her a chance to live a normal life with a working kidney.
Currently in the United States there are over 100,000 individuals waiting for a kidney transplant, with 3,000 new patients added to the list each month and twelve people dying each day waiting for a kidney donation. Out of 17,000 kidney transplants performed last year, only 5,535 came from living donors and 11,570 came from a deceased donor. An organ donation is the greatest gift that an individual may convey to another in need, and the number of people who may benefit from an organ replacement far outnumber the available organ donations.
The evaluation process entails blood labs, cardiology exams, EKG, ultrasounds, and psychosocial testing among other extensive exams, and often leaves the financial burden for travel and testing on the donor.
June 29, 2015 is recognized by the El Paso County Judge and Commissioners Court as “Corporal Sergio Camacho Day in honor of his courageous and generous organ donation for a fellow employee of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.”
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