District Attorney denies nepotism, phantom employee allegations

James Wade

Hidalgo County District Attorney (DA) Rene Guerra is firing back tonight after red flags were raised about one of his employees. It centers around James Richard Wade, a Developer & System Engineer, who receives a hefty salary to work on the DA TMs computer systems from hundreds of miles away. Hidalgo County Auditor Ray Eufracio believes Wade TMs work goes unchecked. Wade works directly with Guerra's computer systems in the district attorney TMs office, separate from the county TMs IT Department (Information Technology), and he telecommutes to work. James lives in Fort Worth, Texas and gets paid a salary of $75,000 a year. County Auditor Ray Eufracio is concerned about proper supervision over the only employee who is not required to sign in or out each day.

"It TMs difficult to supervise somebody long distance and that is the only concern that I had when I first discussed this with the district attorney's office, the auditor said.

Other county employees who did not want to appear on camera for fear of retaliation think the DA is lining the pocket of a long time friend and political ally.

Guerra denies the claim.

"He TMs one of a kind from my perspective, the DA said. I know that he can run circles around some of the people in the IT department and other IT departments.

Guerra says Wade's position has been around since 2008 when county commissioners first approved it.

His salary is paid with drug forfeiture funds and not taxpayer dollars, according to Guerra.

The DA believes Wade is grossly underpaid compared to others with his credentials in IT fields working with security, data, development and programming.

"The old world want to see an employee walking around like a lot of goal-less employees, with no direction, and in some ways just doing a political job on me, the DA said. "How in the world can the auditor make any accusations when he knows each and every detail?"

But the county auditor has never requested a work log from Wade, who to spoke to Action 4 TMs Ryan Wolf over the phone.

He provided Action 4 News with a work log for the last 30 days during his remote access log in.

It shows 279 hours for the month for an average work day of about 9 hours.

The DA says Wade sent 329 emails this year alone which should dispel concerns by the auditor.

"If our county auditor has said something like that he doesn't deserve to be on the job, Guerra said. And I question him and I challenge him to show that my employee is not overworked and underpaid."

He said people do not have to come to work to get the job done.

The DA also refuted any claims of nepotism saying Wade is not married to his cousin as alleged by some workers for the county.

Click here to follow Ryan on Facebook

Click here to follow Ryan of Twitter