Goliad County Judge David Bowman presented proposed revisions to the contract, including transferring supervision duties of the SRO from Precinct 1 Constable Michael De La Garza to Goliad County Sheriff Kirby Brumby.
The contract, which expires in September, was approved by Goliad ISD and the county commissioners court in February, but Bowman and county commissioners Ronald Bailey and Ted Long have expressed their concerns over the agreement.
The county commissioners met in a workshop session Thursday morning to discuss possible revisions. Goliad ISD school board members reviewed the recommendations at a special meeting Thursday night.
The county commissioners opted not to update the current contract, but recommended revising a 2007-09 interlocal SRO agreement between the county and Goliad ISD.
“They did not discuss the current agreement, so that was just kind of put to the side,” Goliad ISD Superintendent Christy Paulsgrove told the board members.
“I’m curious as to why they would want to use the old agreement and not the new one,” school board member Robert De La Garza said.
Bowman said he was told by board members and Goliad ISD administrators that they favored the SRO being supervised by the sheriff’s office.
“A number of people, including you and other school board members who have talked with me in the past all felt it was in the best interest of the community that the sheriff’s department supervise the SRO and carry the commission,” Bowman said. “So we’re finally at that point.”
School board member Brandon Huber asked Bowman which school officials had told him they wanted the sheriff to supervise the SRO.
“We as a board approved an agreement that we are perfectly comfortable with,” Huber told Bowman.
Under the proposed agreement, Bowman said the school district would continue to pay the salary and benefits of the SRO.
“The county would pay for everything else,” Bowman said.
Current Goliad ISD SRO Paul San Miguel was commissioned by Michael De La Garza in February. San Miguel was a deputy with the Goliad County Sheriff’s Office and ran against Brumby in the November election. San Miguel left the GCSO in October.
School board member Carlos Gutierrez asked if San Miguel would maintain the SRO position under the proposed agreement.
“He would still be in place,” Bowman said.
Gutierrez then said he would not feel comfortable placing San Miguel under the sheriff’s office supervision.
“I have a problem with that,” Gutierrez said. “I am not sure what the circumstances were when he left the department in the fall, but I’d be curious to interview the SRO right now to see what kind of departure that was.
“I think if we place somebody in a knowingly hostile environment, then we might be violating some civil rights. I think we need to research that a little bit more before we venture into another agreement.”
“Y’all take your time with that,” Bowman said. “We’re not in a rush. You have until September.”
Robert De La Garza, a former Goliad County Sheriff, is suing Brumby for being denied the SRO position in 2009.
“What makes the sheriff more qualified than the constable,” Robert De La Garza asked Bowman. “They’re both elected officials.”
“The commissioners court has offered you an agreement,” Bowman said. “Obviously, you haven’t read it. So please read it. Then you can make up your mind and then we can discuss it.”
“But you’re not answering my question,” Robert De La Garza said.
“The commissioners court feels it is in the best interest of the county for the sheriff’s department to carry commission and supervise the officer,” Bowman replied. “This agreement is not about who is the current superintendent, who sits on the school board, who the judge is, who the commissioners are, who the sheriff is or who the SRO is. This is an agreement that will serve both the county and the school hopefully for years to come.”
Robert De La Garza claimed Brumby had tried to convince Goliad ISD administrators to not employ San Miguel.
“After we employed him, the sheriff continued to come over here and try to get our administrators to (fire) this individual,” Robert De La Garza said to Bowman. “When that didn’t work, you came over and tried to do the same thing. That’s when we knew we had to take another route. That’s the truth. If you want to answer to that allegation, stand up and do so.
“Now you want us to turn everything over to the sheriff? Are you kidding?”
Paulsgrove said she will speak the Goliad ISD attorney to discuss options.
“It’s a fact that the sheriff and Paul San Miguel are not on the greatest of terms,” Paulsgrove said. “I do know that the sheriff has said that he did not want him in this position and he would not supervise him. I understand now he has changed his mind.
“I don’t have a problem with the sheriff overseeing this program. That’s fine. They do it in a lot of counties. But I think we might want to look at the fact that we need to look at the employee we’ve already hired and he’s come in under this agreement and it’s working great. I could probably get you 500 signatures tomorrow that says this is going well and they’re happy - parents, students, staff - they’re happy with it.”
Paulsgrove suggested a grandfather clause that would keep San Miguel supervised by the constable.
“I don’t want to get in the middle of whatever has gone on politically between these two men,” Paulsgrove said. “I want to keep that separated.”