Politicking on taxpayer time?
Fri, 18 Nov 2011 00:57:34 GMT —
Wednesday a series of announcements were made by Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio.
He invited the media to talk about jail overcrowding in the county.
But he also made known his re-election bid during work hours.
The press conference confirms the sheriff he may have broken election laws by politicking on the taxpayer's dime.
"The media had asked me the question if I was going to run, said Sheriff Omar Lucio.
So I told them yes I am going to run again.
Now if it was one of my employees saying it, that would look bad.
Sheriff Lucio insists he did not violate county policy since he is not an employee, he's an elected official.
Cameron County judge disagrees with that comment saying all elected officials are county employees.
Judge Carlos Cascos said they all receive a paycheck, get a W-2 form and they have certain hours of work to fulfill.
"I think the bigger issue here is was there the use of any county facility, county resources, county staff to make the announcement, said Judge Cascos.
If there was then yes there was a violation of a policy.
That breach may have occurred when Norma Hawkins, a secretary on Sheriff Lucio's staff called media outlets saying the sheriff would publicize his candidacy during the meeting.
"What she said I don't know, said Sheriff Lucio. I know I didn't tell her to say anything like that.
Sherrif Lucio said he has been asked by the media on several occasion if he would run for office.
He said that while he had them all in one room, he figured he would announce his political bid in a manner that is consistent with his regular course of business.