County Clerk voices compliance issues

By Becky Brewster

Culberson County Commissioners met in special session on March 29, 2021 to consider correspondence from the Secretary of State regarding suspense voter review and cancellation process. The Court met in executive session for nearly an hour, but upon reconvening in open session, no action was taken.

The Court then approved the purchase of mini-split air-conditioning units from Johnstone Supply in the amount of $13,045.87. This will provide units in the Courtroom, the J.P. 3/Agrilife Extension Office, the Commissioners Courtroom, the County Clerk’s annex office, and the County Judge’s Office. This price does not include the installation of the units.

County Clerk Linda McDonald reported on need for a means of egress from her office in case of fire, noting that the furnace is located near the office. McDonald suggested the purchase of a sledge hammer to allow staff to break a window in case of an emergency that prohibits exit from the only door to the office. The Court will look into emergency fire exits for all facilities as they develop a Fire Plan for the County.

McDonald also reported on additional issues regarding compliance with Secretary of State Security Assessment. Under Section 279.002 of the Texas Election Code, the Secretary of State is required to adopt rules that (1) define classes of protected election data, and (2) establish best practices for identifying and reducing risk to the electronic use, storage, and transmission of election data and the security of election systems. The Court has already approved the installation of a separate network for the County Clerk’s Office and the Voter Registrar’s Office. McDonald indicated that the voting equipment is presently stored in her annex office, but that this site no longer meets the needed security measures as IT personnel have access to this office for the recently installed network system. The Court will explore alternatives at its April meeting.

However, the Executive Order also states that nothing precludes businesses and other establishments from requiring that employees or customers follow additional hygiene measures, including the wearing of face coverings. The Court scheduled a special meeting for Monday, March 15, 2021 to consider what additional hygiene measures the County will continue to require as Texas moves to reopen.

In other County business, the Court also:

Heard report from the grant administrator regarding the Food Pantry, noting that the building has been ordered.

Ordered a new time clock for the Nutrition Center at a cost of $1,175.00 for the first year.  

Approved the renewal of the LexisNexis Contract for the Far West Texas Regional Public Defenders Office.

Received a review copy of the proposed Texas Association of Counties Updated Policy Manual for Culberson County, noting the last update was in 2003.

Approved monthly reports.

Heard reports on various County Projects.

Approved monthly expenses and payroll.