Travis County

Agenda Item

Consider and take appropriate action on request from Counseling & Education Services (CES) to authorize a new four-hour marijuana class and related fees. (Commissioner Gómez)


Department:CC Agenda requestSponsors:
Category:General Government


  1. #9; CES; New four hour marijuana class

Meeting History

Dec 19, 2017 9:00 AM Video Commissioners Court Voting Session
draft Draft

Members of the Court heard from:

Roger Jefferies, County Executive, Justice and Public Safety (JPS)

Caryl Coburn, Director, Counseling and Education Services (CES)

David Escamilla, County Attorney

MOTION: Approve Item 9.

MOVER:Gerald Daugherty, Commissioner
SECONDER:Margaret J. Gómez, Commissioner
AYES:Sarah Eckhardt, Jeffrey Travillion Sr, Brigid Shea, Gerald Daugherty, Margaret J. Gómez


Dec 19, 2017 9:00 AMCommissioners CourtVoting Session


10:42 AMEmergency service districts and the a stin fire department.
Thank you.
Thanks so much. next, let's go to agenda item number 9. Consider and take appropriate action on a request from counseling and education services, ces, to authorize a new four-hour marijuana class and related fees. I believe we've got the county attorney's office to speak on this. This is parent participant part of our suite of jail diversion and prosecution diversion programs that we feel make our community safer, reduce the cost to both the pubuic and to the individual, and really assist folks in getting off of some self-medication issues.
10:43 AMI'm roger jeffreys, county executive, here with carol, director of education services, with the county attorney and dan, the first assistant now, right, is that correct?
Good morning, commissioners, judge. i'm carol with ces. We've partnered with the county attorney's office to develop and provide a four-hour marijuana class for the pretrial diversion program. The clients expected to attend are low-risk offenders given a citation for possession of marijuana, or pom, by a law enforcement officer. And then they are released to appear before a justice of the peace, nicholas, at a later date. Typically, these individuals who are approved by the county attorney's office are -- have no higher charges pending and are considered to be low-risk. They will be referred directly to Judge Chu's court and do not need to receive an assessment from ces. Once they have completed the four-hour marijuana class, then they will provide proof and will have the pom charge dismissed by the county attorney's office with no formal charge filed. And diverting these low-level, low-risk clients, especially at the earliest stage of their intervention with the criminal justice system, is going to allow them the opportunity to avoid a criminal charge, but also it's going to help all the -- free up all the resources of the courts, county attorney's office, pretrial services, and actually it will help cese ases as well. And we are requesting that the court approve this court and the recommended fee of $45 as well. Also, a $10 rescheduling fee for clients that do not attend their class. And we are -- we've kind of -- we are scheduling three classes per month, but we can increase that if need be. But that would be about 540 participants for fy2018.
10:45 AMAnd what I would request from@taking a look at this, this does bring in some revenue from the fees.
10:46 AMYes.
We May need to augment the revenue in order to pay for it in future budgets. And I would just like to hear from roger jeffries, from a holistic perspective, our ability to track any cost savings in the overall system from utilizing this class rather than a more expanded judicial involvement.
I think what we could do is take a look at the savings from the diversion -- these people from central booking and from -- I don't know that they spend a lot of time in jail, there's a lot of jail bed day savings, but the savings related to their court case. We could certainly take a look at that.
I would like to see a cost-out interaction through central booking without jail time t see whatt that cost savings is per client, as well as an analysis against a control group that doesn't go through the class, but May have similar demographics, criminal history, etc. , to see if this reduces recidivism, so we don't see these individuals again.
10:47 AMOkay.
Commissioner Shea.
I'll defer to seniority.
Commissioner Daugherty.
Well, i'm happy to make this motion with one caveat, that you do have to pay your feee I mean, I don't want one of these, you know, i'm indigent, I can't afford the $45. If you can afford to go out and get hig , then you pay the $45. And i'm serious about this. I want no scholarship, you know, onothis program. If you get caught doing this and we are willing to allow yo to! You to do this -- if you can do that legally. I'm sure david is fixing to say, you can't do that, commissioner.
What we can look at -- it's an important thing to look at is what is our utilization and criteria for indigency andn the waiving of fees overall.
10:48 AMLet me say a few things. I think that y'all are thinking that what's new here today is that for the first time we're allowing ady a diversion for possession of marijuana. We've been doing that for years. That's not what's great it, espe ially great about today. What's great about today is we're moving the currently existing diversion efforts that we do for possession of marijuana, we've we're moving them pre-charge. There will be savings. Judge, you mentioned savings in jail. I'm not so sure --
I was saying savings from booking interactions.
You're absolutely correct. and I was worried about that. We've been doing t is for the longest time. The direct change on the agenda, we've had an eight-hour class. And that class for these same people has had -- has not had scholarship, where a Judge Has been able to waive the fee. It would be my recommendation that that not change, because nothing else is changing with respect to the class, other than it's a smaller class and a cheaper class. Ii do respect your point, though. The price has gone down because it's an eight -- four-hour instead of eight. But I do want to get back to what is great about this, and what the community will see is in thepast, even going through our diversion that we've had or the way we've disposed of these ow-risk, standalone, small amounts possession of marijuana, has been with a dismissal. But they still were charged, so they still had itt on their record and could affect their opportunity to get a job. So they would have too comeand spend the money for expungetion. There was never a booking now, never a formal charge done, saves us the intake process, and the courts having to have this on their docket. And so that'ss all saved. And they come out of this after taking the class. And they're better off by it. But nothing really is -- it will also -- this is a pilot program. Because we're going to take, by pilot, the period to fine-tune and really identify them earlier, judge. the group that still are not coming through and see how they're coming through the system and see if we might be able to divert some of them as well. So we can really see -- because this is tied to signing, it's really the first decision is by law enforcement. They get to decide are they going to cite them or book t em. And so it'll help us identify who's left. And maybe we have some discus ions we have to have with particular law enforcement about the decisions they're making. So that's what I love about the program. And by the way, I apologize. I wanted to introduce dan hamry, there are those who don't know, Judge Cappel retire, and jim, and dan is moving -- has moved up to be my personal assistant. Sharin is my personal assistant.
10:51 AMGo, dan. [ laughing ]
Dan came up with this plan, harris county, she had moved toward a pre-charge diversiono program for possession of marijuana. The problem is, harris county doesn't have cite release. So she had to go to every law enforcement agency in harris county, and convince them that at the time on the scene to presene them the option to either be arrested and booked, or go through a program. Dan was the one that figured out since we have cite and release, we can merge these two programs and let them go through cite and release. And by getting Judge Chu involved, and he is eager to work with us on this, it allows him to take those that come in under these possession of marijuana, reset their cases for 60 days to give them the opportunity to go take theclass, come back. And then if they do, the case dies there.
10:52 AMI mean, I wasn't insinuating that I didn't understand it. % I do. And I know that we've had that, david. I just want to make the point and be on the record. I mean, perhaps the j dge will hear me. And i'll just ask him. I mean, so how often do you f el like that you're going to just waive somebody's $45? It's a little bit like the sobriety center. You know. We're looking for ways to not, you know, get them into the system, which does saveus money. I don't know if it saves us money at central booking. We don't have them, butuwe have long enough line that it's not like you're not still going to have the cost to central booking.
10:53 AMWe're using that central booking capacity for people who are truly a danger to the community. And these folks, let's be frank. And, you know, those of uswho prosecuted these cases it's like,, not another pom. We know it's somebody who, you know, sat too long in the drive-through window because they couldn't decide between the big mac and the, you knon they're not a danger to society. They're a hindrance to getting up to the drive-thru window. We have for many years had tools in the toolbox, whether it was pleading it down to a paraphernalia case, putting them in a class. Then we got cite and releaee came on board. So this is another tool for us to utilize our judicial capacity for people who we really do feel their behave is behavior is a threat to our safety, and not merely an inconvenience. E%
10:54 AMI will second.
Immediately put it on the agenda.
I'm going to agree. and i'm going too read something else into the record as well. And that isthat we keep a good demographic sketch of who comes through, because programs that are designed to be public-friendly, we want to make sure that they're equitably used to make sure that all parts of the community will benefit from this as opposed to some parts. And I don't have to define that for anybody here.
Extremely important. and i'm so glad that you gave voice to that, Commissioner Travillion. So we will be l king to justice planning to do that kind of holistic review of all of our diversion programs to make sure that they're effective, which is the people who go through them don't re-sid recidivate, that they're efficient, that they utilize our capacity for people who are truly dangerous, and that they're fair in that they are available to every member of our community on an equal footing. Yes, ma'am.
10:55 AMI think we can all put on our santa hats and take people off the naughty list today. I just think -- possession of marijuana in small amounts is legal in I don't know how many states now. But yet we had a practice that was marking people for life, particularly if you didn't have the money to go through an expungtion process, and begin to label them as criminals when what they're doing is not illegal in many places in this country. I want to acknowledge everyone who's been part of this. This has been in the works for a while. And I also would be interested to know -- I don't know the best way to get at this, but if there's a way we can do some kind of assessment of the people who now might be in our jail, or awaiting trial for whom one of the beginnings of their path down a criminal labeling was that they were charged with possession of marijuana.
10:56 AMAgain, those people are not being -- we've been handling the dispositions the same for almost a decade. So there's not that type -- there are people, don't get me wrong, that are sitting in jail or facing prosecution for possession of small amounts of marijuana. Likely they've also got moro serious charges they're sitting in there for.
What i'd like some ananysis on, because this was one of the things that grassroots leadership pointed out to us in their analysis of who's sitting iniour jails. And I think the second-highest category for people sitting in our jails, people of color in particular sitting in our jails, wa the possession of marijuana charge.
Let's come back to that, because we actually, we have a review on the street right now with tony with regard to this issue. So let's bring that back holistically, because ican say -- and i'm biased because I used to be in this office. So take it with a grain of salt. But our prosecution in trtvis county is well-known by haters and lovers of this policy for treating possession of marijuana as a non-threat to public safety.
10:57 AMLow risk.
As a very, very low risk. there are certain circumstances where we have a high-risk individual engaged in other high-risk behaviors whose car gets impounded and marijuana is discovered in the car. But that's not what the reason for their stop and criminal involvement was.
So this is part of what tony is analyzing. That would be a useful thing for us to see. I agree with Commissioner Travillion that we want to see the demographic of the people in these programs. I really applaud everybody f r finding a way to avoid giving someone a criminal booking and avoiding that part al all together, but giving people the class and saying, figure this out and learn something from it.
10:58 AMAnd just beyond that, I think that the idea of having Dr. Fabelo come in and do research is a good idea. But I think that we need to do a little more cause and effect analysis. We've got a great research university right next-door with an excellent school o social work, with an excellent school of public affairs, with a number of students who are in training who are working under world renowned professors that can give us more insight and more detail into what we're trying to do. So we should not stop with Dr. Fabelo. But that hopefully is a first step of truly understanding what our core issues are and the types of institutions we need to be developing in our community to address these problem . Because i've had -- I have personally tried to find drug beds for people. And it is nextto impossible in an area with central health, and a medical school, and renowned hospitals as well. It's unacceptable for this type of community. And I 's only going to be because of our research and because of our understanding of core issues that we'll actually be able to address the problem.
10:59 AMWonderful intention, yes.
Judge, I would like to clarify that ces will continue to have an eight-hour class, because not all poms will have the cite and release. They might have the higher pending charges that david was referring to. Also, when the judges do waive, we don't get that many where the fee is totally waived. Our judges are really into holding them accountable. And they May reduce their fee, but that's usually the case.
11:00 AMLower from $45, I mean, I want to know what's going on.
We can let you know how many are reduced. We track that.
It's important to have the eight-hour class possibility, too. There are circumstances where you have someone who is behaving recklessly. As an example, someone pulled over for reckless driving and also possession of marijuana was discovered in the stop. As a defense attorney, the defense attorney would prefer a pom to a reckless driving. So these nuances -- it's important to have several tools in the toolbox, because not every circumstance is the same. These are not cookie-cutters. Did we get a motion on this?
11:01 AMYes.
That's right. so, it was moved, I think, by Commissioner Gomez actually. And there was a fight for second. So we'll take it --
[ off mic ]
Okay. Commissioner Daugherty was the movant and then we'll take the second from Commissioner Gomez. All those in favor? That passes unanimously. We will come back with Dr. Fabelo and future analysis of our suite of jail diversion with regagd topossession of marijuana for low-level risk defendants.
You made an asset map? [ laughing ]
That would be dangerous if we did that. Thank y'all. Good work. Next, let's take agenda item number 20, which is to consider and take appropriate action on budget amendments, transfers, and discussion items. And I believe Commissioner Travillion had a question with regard to the change in the sheriff's department's training program that is -- training policy, which is facilitated by this budget amendment?
11:02 AMWell, there were a couple of questions. I knowthat there was -- when I look at zero one, there's a discussion about the funding process. And I no! Know that we had a number of vacancies that needed to be filled. And i'm just trying to make sure that this is moving us in the right direction, thah we're not losing ftes. I just want to have it laid out to make sure I understand where we're going with this.
Sure. major pool.
Yes, ma'am. judge, commissioners, major shane poole, travis county sheriff's office. What we're hoping to do and what we're presentede with, at least this fiscal y ar, is what I perceive as a unique opportunity. We are going to be presenting a sesarate issue to you, I believe, hopefully January 9th, which is going to be contracting of our food service operations, and ten positions are going to be eliminated. The folks that are in those positions now, the corrections officers will fill vacancies and those ten positions will go away. So that's a savings there. The other thing that we'recurrently having a good deal of success with is our recruiting and hiring. I believe -- I was told yesterday that we're d n too approximately 30 vacancies. And that's a moving targetfrom day to day, but due to retirements and hiring. But we feel like that if we are able to continue with that progress, by the time we get to ril and the cadets take their first exam, they will have been doing it on a part-time basis on their own time at that point, that we will have sufficient resources available to move them to full time and shorten that amount of time that they will have to have to complete the bpoc course. We've experienced significant number of losses in terms of the number of peace officers in the corrections buru u overall over the last several years. And so we're kind of at a critical stageat this point. We're having a lot of difficulty fillin posts that require peace officers, for example, courthouse security. Everyone in courthouse security, all the officers are also sworn peace officers. And we're having to do multiple postings throughout the year, only gete nga handful of applicants at a time. If we're waiting for people to come in or get their peace officer certification on their own through either cap cog oraustin community college, whatever the case May be. So it is not enough to keep up with deme d. We have a s@gnificant number of those folks that are eit er moving to our patrol, which we're happy with. If question get a good employee, they get their peace officer certification, we want to retain them in the department. If they go to our patrol bureau we're fine with that, but w have the need in corrections still. This is a unique opportunity this year in o der to address some of that and catch up a little bit. And then we're going to be developing some additional strategies going forward to hopefully s art to catch back up, if that makes sense.
11:05 AMMaking sure that we're not -- I u derstand the cost savings. And the vacancy savings being used to fund a potential contract. Just trying to make sure that we were not losing ten ftes, thatt they were being banked somewhere so that upon appropriate use -- i'm just trying to make sure that we're not losing something that we n ed.
11:06 AMSure. if I could speak to that real quick, too. Whwn the kitchen item comes before the court, the ten people that are in those positions w l move to furtherreduce the number of vacancies that we have over in the sheriff's office, related to corrections officers. Also, knees these officers would be trained. There wouldn't be the same learning curve before they can start post in other areas of the office h. Right. They were down to 38 vacancies. We're still concerned about overtime for this year, because they've had a great deal of success filling these positions, but they need to be trained. We haven't seen the overtime reduction at this point that we would like to start seeing before we would sign off on this program. And, of course the ten people need to be approved by the commissioners court through the kitchen item, too. But whatthe sheriff's office has agreed to is through being able to plan for these people being out, they can actually schedule around their vacancies, which should help reduce the amount of overtime cost as they have a pre-knowledge that these people are going to need to have back-fill areas. So they can plan for that in their scheduling. We should be able to see some of the training be successful. And so they'll be able to look at the overall vacancy rate and the overall amount of overtime use in the March timeframe before the program goes full-time. And finally we'll know about those kitchen savings by the March timeframe, too. And what the sheriff s office has agreed to is when we balance all these items, the students have been notified that if we aren't comfortable that the savings actually exist, that they will continue on a part-time basis. So there is a check back in with the planning and budget office and the sheriff's o ice to make sure that the savings are realized before we would recommend shifting over to the full-time training.
11:08 AMAny other questions?
We have heard from the folks at cap cog that the training -- I guess it's peace officer training? I'm not sure the exact terminology. But the training academy that they provide through the cap cog has been losing, I guess, revenue and participation as other law enforcement operations pull off and do their own training academies. Does this relate to that at all? Because it's hurting the regional effort to try and pool resources and do this more affordably, is how I understood the presentation. Do you know how this relates to the training provided by the capcog?
I think it May go to the wider issue of simply recruiing muchenough folks into the career field. If interest in the academy is going down due to accommodation reasons, then I think it affect allsall of us. I only know of one other agency locally, I will think williamson county applied to have their own academy.
11:09 AMThey did.
So they're going to be doing their own peace officer academy. But what i've seen at otoer agencies, round rock might be the example, they actually hire somebody in as -- I don't know what their title is, but we would probably call them is cadet. They pay them asan employee while they go to a peace officer academy, whether it's cap cog or wherever. So some of these smaller agencies are starting to take that route instead of waiting for somebody who's already certified to come in. So that's a means for them to recruit folks, bring them in. We already have our folks working for us. And being able to provide them with a faster track, so to speak, to get their peace officer certification, I think benefits not only them, but our department overall. Capcog's challenge I think, is probably being faced across the board.
11:10 AMI think what Commissioner Shea is going to is consolidation for efficiency sake, is that where you're going?
I did wonder if this duplicating some of the training offered through the capcog training programs.
It is the same training.
So we are now looking at funding that same training separately through travis county, when I think it's included some in our fees with capcog? I don't know what the additional cost is throughg capcog.
I don't believe so. I believe that we can access the cog's training on a per capita basis. But we have not elected to do that. I don't think we've ever utilized thecog's training.
Is this an increrse in funding? This is a new program that we're expanding in our trainin ?
I would categorize this as a program expansion. We offer it currently at 20 hours a week. We provide the training. But it's 20 hours a week after hours, so the employees still work their regular shift and they take the training academy for 11 months at 20 hours a week in addition to their 40-hour week job. And what this would do is, after the class was half completed, it would shift those employees that were successful to full-time training to lower the class to a net seven months, 6. 5 months. So it is an existing program that we will be providing the officers with full-time pay for the second half of the class. So it would be an additional resource for the sheriff's office, otherwise wouldn't have, that we're hoping will be captured through vacancy savings planned for training and the kitchen savings.
11:11 AMSo after they pass a certain bar o f participation, we would then pay -- they would be on the payroll while theyy takethe class. Previously they weren't.
11:12 AMI did find the dollar amount I was looking for. Estimated cost between 375,000 and disease 625,000, the cost will need to be tracked. We don't yet know the cost. But the low end is an additional 375,000. I guess I am just trying to see wherever we can if we can gain efficiencies and potentially save funding, if we're able to utilize any programs that are already existing in the region such as the capcog academy.
The issue for the employer remains. We offer the part-time academy as a benefit and enticement to our e ployeesto not only take their training with us, which we much prefer if they're going to be going to our patrol bureau, but also to remain with us in the long term. It is a benefit t them. We don't charge them to participate in our peace officer academy,y whether it's part-time as it is now -- we've never charged for that. Going to capcog, on the other hand, they have to come out of pocket from my understanding, in order to attend capcog or to go to austin community college, for example. So that is definitely a benefit and I t ink an enticement for employees to remain with us and remain with us for the long term.
11:13 AMAnd so this expansion, is this something we think will help us with recruitment? I know we've had trouble filling the vacancies. And we've had difficulty with recruitment. So is this something that sweeten the pot?
Yes, ma'am. I believe it's another tool I in the toolbox for us to be able to offer something like this. For us to go beyond this year, and it's noted in the backup, it will definitely -- would have to be a budget item that we would bring to the court with some additional information based on what we see, how this one comes out.
11:14 AMThe way we see it happeping in the budget process is the savings from the kitchen program onan ongoing basis would be shifted over to providing overtime relief or off off-setting the funding through additional training spots, some mechanism that we'll have to determinen we believe the kitchen savings on a net annualized basis will exceed $600,000. That hasn't been approved by commissioners court, again.
Commissioner Daugherty.
I think it's a good idea. I mean, you k ow, i'm sure -- I thought gerald might bring this up. Because, you know, what we're trying to do is a pipeline to get to there faster than what it takes, you know, with the program that we've had. So that's beneficial. Now, I am a little concerned about if we can just do this $600,000 deal, then why haven't' we done this $600,000 deal way before now? I mean, if we can private ties privatize the kitchen, i'd o back and go, you know, this iss 2017, about to be 2018. Why haven't we been witnessing that? I mean, but I don't know what the answer to that -- i'm not trying to put anybody on the spot. That's the first thing that jumped off the page to me, because these are the things that i'm always asking you guys. Tell me some ways that we can help andn that we can really witness, you know,w some benefit. You know. The one thing about overtime versus, you know, having a full staff, you know, you're going to have to spend the money one way or the other. And ithink what i'd like about a full staff if we can get there -- and i'm pleased that we've gone from 90, you know, six months ago down to 38. I mean, you know, that's very encouraging. But, you know, I mean, I r ally want to find more things like this. And i'm a little, you know, uneasy about, alan, shane, maybe not as much as you, we hope that that's going to be there. I mean, can't we identify if you privatize this, this I s what this costs versus this is what it's costing us now so there ought to not be any issues with that.
11:16 AMThe only doubt on theh kitchen item is related to the commissioners court hasn't approved it. It has gone through the bid process and it contracted in the final stage of being finalized. There are ten ftes that can clearly be identified and reduced in the event that it shifts over, because right now, frankly -- and I mean, there is a long history behind this. And we appreciate and we've worked with the sheriff's ffice when looking at food eparation. But currently, food prepapation@is done by the corrections officers and supervised by sergeants and the like, too. Which at the time when t was first envisioned, was an efficient mechanism. It went out for a comparative bid and I believe it was more than ten years ago. And it was seen as being a efficient way of doing it. Times have changed. The sheriff's office put the item out for bid. The existing proposal, we believe, is within the existing food budget of the sheriff's office. And therewill be a reduced responsibility for doing the food prep. So the ten ftes are a real savings that we believe can go towards this program.
11:17 AMYeah. I was real fired up about that. I thougut, there's ten people right there.
Exactly. that's huge --
Drop the number of vacancy from the 38 d n to 28 when ithappens, because we'll be able to fill slots with trained people.
Thank you for looking at the distribution of resources in a more optimized way.
11:18 AMNow whis is zero one 01 of 20, right? I move approval of 01.
We have a motion.
I'll second it. and I did want to ask a question. With the change in the food preparation, are they also changing the nature of the food that will be purchased and served? I know we've been trying to have garden and grow foodd out there. There was a fish farm at one point. I don't know if that's still operating. And I know there was a very ill-received experiment with vitapro, which was like some kind of horrible protein --
W never used that.
I know there were other jails that did.
We've had bee-keeping, we've tilled and grown --
I wouldn't -- i'm curious about if there will be any change in the acquisition of the food and the nature of the food, because I think the healthier food youocan provide people, the better all around.
11:19 AMSure. we don't anticipate being able to utilize anything that's grown in our garden with the vendor, from what I understand. And so we're looking at other ways to share that with the community. It's more of a vocational-type program, a workk program for the inmates than it is to off-set food costs. A three-acre garden is not going to significantly impact 7500 meals a day that we're producing, or 7,000 meals a day that we'reproducing. So we'll still continue those programs as a work program. The fit farm was kind of a misnomer. It was actually utilized in the hydroponic operation that grew starter plants.
Provided the fertilization.
That was the starter plants that went into the garden. It wasa essentially a vocational or work program more than anything else. And there was a side benefit of some of the vegetables that were grown could be utilized inthe kitchen. The vendor is probably going to be more focused on utilizing their own supply c ain, bringing in. They'll still have the same requirement that the menu has to be approved by a dietitian annually. That's a requirement. It has to be palatable, appealang, those type of things are still in place and the vendor is going to be held to those requirements.
11:20 AMAny other questions?
I mean, i'm happy to make the motion on 20, but I want to talk about a1. And I think a1 is tied to 36. And that May be executive session.
36 was already approved on the consent motion.
Would you --
I just have a question on a2, which is tied to 36.
I don't think it't going to necessarily make any difference.
11:21 AMBefore we move off of this item, I just want to put two things out to staff. I don't need a response now. But we have discussed, on what Commissioner Shea was referring to, the sheriff's department has explored -- and I would ask possibly for an update on the exploration of efficiencies in training programs and training facilities like shoh ing ranges, simulation facilities, because we do have a need for improvements in some of those areas. And some of our other law enforcement agencies have these facilities as well. And if we can share some of these facilities, there could be an efficiency in cost savings. So that's one thing to explore. Another is out to the hr department. With this change, we are paying people on the clock for position required training in positions that have a demonstrated difficulty for recruiting. And I would like us to take a look at that across the board for pops and for classified. If we have a position that's difficult to recruit that has a certification requirement for it, I want us to be consistent in terms of if we've got a good candidate and they get halfway through this training, that we can bring them onto the clock for the second half of that training in hard-to-recruit positions. It would be good to have that kind of consistent,cy.
11:22 AMWe'll followoup on that.
How do you want to do, judge, with my having on question on a2?
A2 was related to 36, which was a contract modification for the law firm on the klinert case. We approved that on consent. Let's hear your question. If need be, we May need to reconsider the consent motion to remove 36 if it get gets to that point.
11:23 AMMy question, quite frankly, are we taking this on as a commissionerss court to defend, or to retry, or to do whatever in the klinert case? I mean, i'm wat hing this number get larger. I voted for it to begin with because I think there's good reason to do that. But we are -- now we are ratcheting to a spot to where -- I just want to know, is this commissioners court going to pay for whatever it takes to -- whatever the ending on this klinert case is?
Why don't we bring the district attorney or a represent from the district attorney over. The issue in this case is that a novel legal argument was posed by the other side that essentially c eates a safe haven for police officers that have an arguable federal connection.
11:24 AMI agree.
And it is very problematic from a local discretion and law enforcement standpoint. So it has a much bigger issue that is far more -- although the klinert case is a very serious one and I don't mean to downplay that specific case, but there's a legal issue in this case that has repercussions beyond the klinert case. But why don't we bring a representative from the district attorney's over on that.
Judge, I want to just say, I agree with what you just said and that't the reason I voted for it to begin with, because I think that there were issues with that case as to how it ended up the way that it did. My question is very simply, is this commissioners court going to take this thing on to where I think it could mushroom into -- I mean, right now it's going to, what, 50,000. And if it gets beyond that stage or this next stage then I don't know where it goes. And maybe I need an explanation from the da's office, because I just want to understand what it is that we are signing up for.
11:25 AMIt would be useful to know if they expect to have much higher increases in the attorney's fees, because I thought part of the presentation was that it would be somewhat limited. This is an appeals case,eyou know. We knew, essentially, kind of what we were walking into. And they thought it would be semi-contained. But I completely agree. I think the issue is really important.
It is.
It needs did --
>district attorney, because she or I believe greg cox, I can't remember which it was, and i'm going off of memory here, so it would and good to hear directly from them. But they did say that they would utilize this contract. And if it went up further, they would come back. And I believe that that's why they're coming back.
11:26 AMAnd i'm afraid that the comeback is, i'm going to continue to come back. That's my question. I mean.
Are you looking for them to come back this afternoon, or is that something they would come back later after the first of the year?
I think that we can come back this afternoon. I think we can clear this up this afternoon and have it done. So we'llhave a representative of the district attor ey's officec and if they can comeby this morning, that would be great, because I think that this is really just a refresher of where we are in the appellate process and how this law firm has been utilized, because we do expect this in all likelihood to go to the u. S. Supreme court.
I this in executive session, judge?
This is consultation with attorney, so it can be in executive session. But with regard to the policy decision of whether we -- if this is -- the policy decision of whether this commissioners court wants to continue to engage on this issue, that is a policy d cision thah has to be deliberated in open court.
11:27 AMComing over, judge. sreg cox is coming over right now.
But I think there are probably going to be some legal issues that we should probably deliberate and then bring it back.
That's why i'm sayingwe would have executive session, and also probably open de iberation on the policy question of whether this court wants to continue to be the standard-bearer on this legal issue from a policy standpoint. Okay. So we'll bring that back this afternoon. May I have a motion for the rest of that?
I movo approval w h a2 coming back this afternoon.
All those in favor? that passes unanimously.
And I would love to see creative use of the gardens out there. It seems a shame if the inmates can't eat the healthy food they grow. [ chuckling ]