Saturday Burials Now Available at the Ector County Cemetery

by Roma Vivas
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- Cemetery employees are working extra hours to keep up with the demand for their services. But they have already used all the extra time the county permits them to work. And this is making some citizens very upset.

"My concern is that that we are paying for the County Cemetery with our taxes and they are not providing the services to our community," Steve Tercero, a concerned citizen, said.

In the past few months, burial costs have gone up and Saturday services have stopped. This means citizens have to wait until the cemetery is in operating hours costing more money to grieving families.

"My brothers in law's mother we viewed her for five days, when we could have buried her in three days and there was extra expenses of two more days, and of course you sit there with your loved ones in a funeral home, it's stressful besides being costly," Tercero said.

Right now the cemetery is not full staffed, Cemetary Director Martha Fierro says they are struggling to get the job done.

"Our work load has increased quite a bit because our schedule is heavy and we are having four to five services a day, so we have long hours during the week," Fierro said.

Monday's court decision made it possible to extend the hours the employees can work.

"I was given permission to go over the 20 hours and they are going to revisit to pay them the comp. time and normally for county employees over time is not paid at all," Fierro said.

Starting this weekend, Saturday burials will be permitted and Commissioners will be discussing in later meetings the possibility of paying cemetery workers more extra time.