County opts out of fiscal duties for DWI program

by Chelle Delaney: Quay County Sun

Quay County will not serve as the fiscal agent beyond June 30, 2007 for the DWI program based in Tucumcari the Quay County Commission said on Friday.

Commissioners voted unanimously not to serve as DWI’s fiscal agent for the upcoming fiscal year beginning July 1.
As its fiscal agent the county provides financial oversight.
Wayne Cunningham told the commission, “the DWI program consumes more staff time than all of the grant-funded agencies combined. Quay County has two departments with over $1.2 million budgets. The DWI Program also dictates more time from the county manager’s staff than either one of these departments.

“The time it requires to be the fiscal agent for the DWI program is approximately 50-60 man hours per month.”
At an earlier meeting, on Jan. 4, the commission placed a hiring freeze on the DWI until it had had a chance to meet with newly elected Magistrate Judge David Joel Garnett.
The DWI program has a position open for a DWI Court Compliance Officer.

The commissioners said they had not had an opportunity to meet with Garnett and because of travel obligations next week, they did not expect to able to meet with him until the week of Jan. 29.

Pam Thompkins, a member of the DWI Task Force, addressed the board and distributed a letter from Noreen Hendrickson, coordinator for the Quay County DWI program.
Thompkins said that Hendrickson had not been able to her perform her own job satisfactorily because she had to take over the duties of the compliance officer.

In her letter, Hendrickson also said that several reports were to be due to state agencies and that the additional help was needed.

After the commission’s meeting, Hendrickson said, “We’ve gotten along harmoniously since 1993, and in 2007 it dissolved.”

The DWI’s Task Force meets on Jan. 29 and the task for will look at the situation then.

Because the DWI program’s fiscal agent must be a county or city government, the program will probably seek out the city’s help, Hendrickson said.

All 33 counties in New Mexico have a DWI program and the majority of their respective county governments serve as the fiscal agent, Hendrickson said.

The DWI program has an annual budget of about $191,000.
Some of its services include prevention activities, funds for police enforcement activities, state-mandated screening of all convicted DWI offenders and compliance monitoring via a state-mandated offender profile and tracking system.