HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño on Tuesday challenged comments coming from Sheriff Eric Garza about the funding of the sheriff’s office, including its deputies and jailers.
“We cannot leave misrepresentations of material fact with respect to jail staffing, budget issues, and the conduct of commissioner’s court to go without a factual and accurate response,” Treviño stated in a document provided to ValleyCentral.
At Tuesday’s news conference at the Dancy Building in Brownsville, Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño presented a fact sheet to rebut each of Garza’s claims presented Sept. 22, when the sheriff spoke out against the judge and commissioners regarding the funding of Garza’s department for the upcoming budget year.
Last week, Garza held a news conference to push back against the county commission, arguing that the court willfully put the safety and security of the public at risk by reducing the number of deputies at the courthouse.
“Not only did they reduce the number of courthouse deputies, but had they followed the law and transferred Courthouse Security to the Sheriff’s Office they would have saved the county thousands of dollars in legal fees,” Garza said last week. “Legal fees that could have been used to increase the salary of our Deputy Sheriffs or Detention Officers.”
Treviño countered that because of the structure of the courthouse security agreement and each party’s security obligations, the number of deputies left in the courthouse was negotiated and agreed to by both parties in consultation with legal counsel.
In 2021, the commissioner’s court filed a lawsuit against the sheriff over courthouse security. Garza claimed that the courts sided with him saying he has full legal authority over the security of the county courthouse.
On Dec. 8, 2021, the 445th District Court dismissed the lawsuit against Garza as a result of a settlement agreement between both parties and not because of a final ruling in favor of either side, Treviño wrote.
The judge said Garza negotiated and agreed to the seven courthouse security positions in the December 2021 joint motion to dismiss with a prejudice court filing.
Garza said he asked Treviño to unfreeze positions that were repeatedly denied and recently discovered that the positions were eliminated entirely from the budget.
In response to this, the judge issued a revenue shortfalls and expenditure increase report to Garza stating that on behalf of the Commissioners Court, Treviño requested a comprehensive plan of action from Garza to address the issue.
Treviño said substantial expenditure increases due to inmate meals and ongoing employee overtime pay resulted in revenue shortfalls.
As previously reported by ValleyCentral, on Sept. 13 the commissioner’s court approved the county budget.
The 2022-2023 Fiscal Year begins on Oct. 1.