From My Corner: January 15, 2022

Who should we trust?

This week, the United States Supreme Court heard the cases involving the mandatory vaccinations imposed by the federal government and during the arguments on Friday, multiple judges promoted misinformation about COVID-19, including Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer.

Sotomayor falsely claimed that 100,000 children are seriously ill with COVID-19. The figure is around 3,500.

Breyer falsely said that 750 million new COVID-19 cases were recorded on January 6.  The United States has a population of 331 million people and recorded just under 792,000 cases on January 6.

Justice Elena Kagan also drew criticism for claiming “we know that the best way to prevent spread is for people to get vaccinated and to prevent dangerous illness and death is for people to get vaccinated” and that “the second best is to wear masks.”

Vaccines do not prevent transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, though they do help prevent severe illness.

When the votes were taken, the Court decided 6 to 3 that the government had no authority to mandate millions of people working for private companies to be vaccinated.  Read José Alfonso García’s article on page 2 of this edition for a better description of this accomplishment.


Here we go again…

A new year is beginning with new members of the City Council that are not well versed on the rules, laws, and practices of that body.  This is not negative criticism but a warning for everyone (old members, new members, and the general public) that errors could be committed as a result.

For example, I watched last Tuesday’s Ordinance Committee meeting and I was confused and couldn’t understand some of the things that were going on.  They were discussing the creation of three new positions for people that were already selected.

Bells started ringing on my head because even I know that when a new position is added to the city budget, it’s a long process.  After a job description is written up with experience and education requirements and the salary scale is approved, it must be posted and anyone in the community has the opportunity to apply for it.

But these jobs were assigned to some people already!  Can you say ILLEGAL?

Martha Velez, head of Human Services explained on television that she wants to give a raise to a clerk and the only way is to give her the title of Confidential Secretary.  Just changing the title is not the way to do that.  She is creating another job and it must be posted for anyone to apply.

Milagros Puello from the Water Department asked for a Safety Manager.  This person will be in charge of coordinating safety in the workplace, inspecting repair work, and accidents investigations.  Something tells me that this person will need to be an engineer but NO!  The educational requirement is high school only.

Then, another one for a Senior Political Advisor and External Affairs with a $150,000 salary.  During last year’s budget hearings I remember that someone said the top salary allowed is $120,000.  I heard no one mentioning that last Tuesday and I wonder if it has been increased.  Nevertheless, these jobs were sent to the entire council and will be discussed next Tuesday.

The new Personnel Director was at Tuesday night’s ordinance committee influencing the members to approve the $150,000 senior advisor position. Seeing that she is an attorney, she certainly has not learned about the ordinance salary scale and the scoring mechanism that has been in place for many years. I learned about that system when Nazario Esquea was passed over for a promotion that he rightly deserved.

I can’t believe that the ordinance committee members are so blind that they cannot even follow their own rules or what both the Personnel Director and the Ordinance Committee are trying to hide.  The problem is that they got so accustomed to having people selected and assigned to jobs before they were even posted under previous administrations that it has become the norm.

My concern is that they could be approved due to ignorance from some members of the council who are not up-to-date with the rules.  New positions must be approved by the Mayor and the City Council.  At this point, I don’t know if they were authorized by Mayor Brian DePeña or if he knew about it.

Someone wrote a description on a piece of paper and decided they should be paid the $150K, without process, fairness, or following the law.

The same goes for the other position of Safety Manager in DPW. Here we go again.


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