DA granted legal representation of county commissioners.
POSTED: Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 9:45am
UPDATED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 - 12:35pm
Judge Ricardo Rodriguez Jr. granted a order of legal representation of Cameron County to District Attorney Armando Villalobos on Tuesday.
The District Attorney filed the lawsuit on the issue because he says it's his duty, and hiring outside legal services costs thousands in tax dollars. Villalobos says this is a step in the right direction to correct past mistakes and save money by eliminating duplicate legal services.
Cameron county commissioners created a civil legal division and stopped looking to the D.A.'s office for legal counsel in 1996. The D.A.'s office says commissioners had no legal authority to do that, they questioned current County Judge Carlos Cascos during a hearing recently, since he was part of the 1996 commission.
Villalobos says that the decision has proved costly for tax payers, one example he says is the Red River Corporation contract, for trash collection services approved in 2006. According to Villalobos, disputes over that contract, allegedly cost tax payers thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Villalobos says if his office wins this lawsuit, it will create a proper checks and balances system, no to mention, significant saving for the county. He estimates that having the D.A.'s office as the commission's legal counsel can save up to $300,000 dollars in one year.
Judge Rodriguez also ordered that Villalobos take direction of the legal division until his final ruling. The next hearing is scheduled for January 26th.