Skeleton crews expected during BRAC hearing

Freedom Newspapers

Essential public services will be available during the Base Realignment and Closure regional hearing on Friday, but many public offices will operate on skeleton crews and others will be shut so employees can participate in the rally and events.
“We have so many people who are just essential people, that we can’t let a whole lot of them off at any one time,” said Curry County Manager Dick Smith.
In Portales, city and county officials are optimistic that things will run smoothly while some of their employees attend the hearing.
“We’ll still pick up trash, we’ll still have utility services,” Portales City Manager Debi Lee said. Lee said about 45 employees are expected to attend the hearing. The city employs 159 people right now, but Lee said about a third of those are summertime workers who will return to school in a few months.
Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin said she and her staff will attend the hearing, meaning her office will be closed in the morning, but less than 10 of the approximate 70 county employees will attend the hearing.
Employees of Roosevelt County will be afforded paid leave to travel to the hearing and back, county officials said. However, they will have to travel on the buses with the other employees to do that.
Managers of area public agencies are encouraging their employees to get out to the parade route and rally to support Cannon Air Force base, which has been targeted for closure. If those employees stay on the clock, they are required to attend the BRAC events, officials said.
Joe Thomas, Clovis’ city manager, said 50 to 60 city employees will be working at the BRAC events Friday, and about the same number might be eligible to attend the events.
Additionally, the Clovis Police Department is expected to be at full staff Friday, and the Clovis Fire Department will be providing public safety at the events, officials said.
Portales Police Capt. Lonnie Berry said the Portales Police Department is sending 12 officers to assist the CPD in its efforts.
“It’s just crowd control because of the number of people expected,” Berry said. “We’ve brought in enough people that we’ll have a normal crew (working in Portales).”
The governor also approved four hours of administrative leave for state employees in the area to attend the events, according to a letter from the state personnel office.
Bianca Ortiz Wertheim, director of cabinet affairs for the governor, said 192 state employees in Clovis and 74 in Portales will qualify for the leave; however it isn’t clear just how many will be able to take the time off from work.
“The administrative leave is for the sole purpose of attending the BRAC hearing on (Friday) morning …” the letter reads. “Agencies are required to keep essential services open to the public. Employees not able to attend the BRAC meeting are not entitled to the administrative leave and may not bank those hours.”
Eastern New Mexico University will remain open on skeleton crews as well. Wendel Sloan, ENMU communications director, said any departments that would be closed would most likely be internal departments that rarely interact with the public.

Closings, Skeleton Crews
Roosevelt County — Administrative and treasurer’s office closed in the morning; assessor’s office open; county clerk open with skeleton crew.
City of Portales — All departments will operate regular hours on skeleton crews.
Eastern New Mexico University — Departments will operate regular hours on skeleton crews.
Clovis Community College — gym facility will be open all day on skeleton crew; no classes in the morning; all departments will open at 1 p.m.
Portales News Tribune — will be closed from 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. Friday.

Source: Officials with each entity.