Another fall guy for Sheriff Salazar has taken a hit. Deputy Chief Ruben Vela, who was acting as the interim jail administrator, was suspended from his position today. The reason, a staffing error in the jail’s booking section allowed another individual to be released who shouldn’t have been. Terrik Andres McCoy was waiting to be fitted with a GPS monitor. Booking staff released McCoy before the monitor was issued.
Erroneous releases are a huge problem but what does suspending the Chief do to solve the problem? First Salazar pushed out Chief Laura Balditt, an individual who had decades of experience in the Detention facility, while keeping Chief Bobby Hogeland, a friend of Salazar’s, even though Hogeland had no practical experience running a jail. Then things got too hot with the mistakes Hogeland was making so the Sheriff pushed him out.
Captain Ruben Vela was offered the assistant jail administrator position that Laura Balditt used to fill. Ruben Vela brought three decades of Detention experience to the position, as did Laura Balditt. Now, after less than a year in the position and while trying to cover both the jail administrator position and his own assistant jail administrator position, he has been suspended due to an erroneous release by booking staff personnel.
Does anyone think he was in booking, personally processing the inmates? What happened to the person who actually made the mistake? Or to that person’s supervisor? What is going wrong that two people with decades worth of experience are not able to address the problems? Knowledge doesn’t seem to be the issue. So what is? Could it be they are not getting the support they need? Are their recommendations being ignored? Are they being micromanaged by people who don’t know what they are doing?
Who in their right mind is going to want to do the job when it appears that all they will be is a fall guy for the Sheriff? How will Salazar attract talent with that kind of a reputation? Bobby Hogeland’s position is still open. They haven’t been able to fill that yet. Sheriff Javier Salazar may feel that the buck stops with the Chief over Detention as far as the erroneous release goes but as a life-long Bexar County resident, I feel the buck stops with Sheriff Salazar. No other sheriff, for as long back as I can remember, has had the kinds of problems this sheriff has had. That tells me it’s more about the incompetence of this sheriff than it is about any other factor.
The citizens of Bexar County deserve better than this. Is it time for a vote of No Confidence yet?
To see more on the erroneous release and the suspension click here to go to the MySanAntonio. com article.