Some’s Hot, Some’s Not 09/26/12

Drivin’ down the road….I’m still looking into Commissioner’s monthly travel expenses for June, 2011- July, 2012. I’ve heard from several other department heads at the county who have informed me they were instructed to cut their travel budgets to less than $10,000. We looked into Pct. 2 Commissioner Grady Prestage last week whose yearly expenses were right at $10,000, mostly comprised of travel expenses to conferences.

Our second highest spending commissioner is Pct. 3 Commissioner Andy Meyers. Meyers spent a total of $6879.06 in the time period, but most of his reimbursed expense was for car expense. That totaled $4889.56 which equalled to $407.46 per month. (Commissioner Prestage, by contract, turned in an average of $264 per month.)

Meyers’ travel was to Austin (twice) and College State to conferences like the Texas Association of Counties and the Texas Conference of Urban Counties (which ironically meets at the Lost Pines Resort and Spa in Bastrop), and the Texas AgriLife Extension Conference for the V.G. Young Institute School for County Commissioners Courts.

I only have three complaints to make about Commissioner Meyers’ reports. First, he seems to turn them in for two months at a time. This makes it difficult to track his expenses and it must make it difficult for him to remember where or why he spent our tax dollars.

Second, he does something no other commissioner does. He charges for “reviewing conditions” in his precinct at least twice a month to the turn of about 150 total miles which translates to over $80 per month. Commissioners got a raise in the rate of reimbursement from 51 cents per mile to 55.5 cents per mile sometime last year. They snuck that through.

It’s like every time Meyers needs a little extra spending money, he turns in a “review conditions” mileage report. Except that can’t be the case (needing the money) as he doesn’t turn his mileage in except two months at a time!

And my third complaint is that he turns in his mileage for having a meal at a local restaurant as least twice a month where he says “county issues” are discussed.

He will enter on his mileage report “Lunch meeting–county issues” or “breakfast meeting — county issues.” How do we know what county issues are being discussed or if instead of county issues being discussed, the topic is Meyers’ own reelection and he did many years ago when he used to meet with his campaign manager at LaMadeline’s and chalk it up to “county issues.” I noticed there are about two meetings a month at LaMadeline’s to this day and “county issues” are being discussed.

One day last year on 10/10/2011, Meyers had a breakfast meeting, county issue, at LaMadeline’s in Sugar Land and then a lunch meeting, county issue, at Texas Land and Cattle Company in Stafford scant miles down the road. Meyers, who lives in Sugar Creek, turned in mileage for both but I noticed he corrected it by hand later and of course, I can’t read his writing or whoever made the correction. As near as I can figure out, he turned in 14 miles to get to LaMadeline’s, 35 miles to get to Texas Land and Cattle, then went on to drive 78 miles the rest of the day to review conditions. That meant the taxpayers paid Meyers $70.48 to drive to nebulous meetings.

Aren’t you glad you have me to put some of these things under a microscope?

I would talk about the other commissioners and county judge and their car and travel expenses, but I’m kinda’ tired of this topic for now. Next week.

We can’t make this stuff up….Remember the “dumpster diver deputy”? Sure you do. She was the one who crawled off into a dumpster to retrieve a Brady for Sheriff political sign so it could be checked for fingerprints so they could tell who threw it in the trash.

Remember, she got stuck in the dumpster, then she hurt herself trying to get out and injured her arm, then had to be off for months with a hurt arm on worker’s compensation.

Next she found herself pregnant by Brady’s former brother-in-law, her boss. They both got reprimanded for failure to report off time – in short, stealing time from the taxpayer – she got moved to another shift; he, as former brother-in-law to the chief deputy and a patrol sergeant, was also boss over his shack-job, dumpster diving knocked up deputy girlfriend, found himself busted from patrol sergeant back to patrol deputy for a few months then BAM! He was magically reappointed sergeant. Now he’s father to a subordinate’s baby… she was off for months after having the baby, months past her FMLA leave, still holding a patrol deputy’s position but answering phones at the law enforcement academy all the while drawing deputy pay. She finally got canned for being less than transparent with personnel issues and a week later – gets rehired and is back working for the Sheriff’s Office. Hey, it’s a good gig if you can get it!

Poor Jimmy Du, all he did was send out an email. Maybe he should have done special favors for that sergeant who seems to have all the clout!

At least we’re being read…..When we edited a headline last week we had no idea of the hornets’ nest we would stir up.

Here’s what happened: Our reporter Betsy Dolan sent in a story about New Territory area residents claiming to have no problem with apartments in the area during a public hearing.

At the public hearing, the HOA’s vice president and a neighborhood delegate stood up and identified themselves as HOA members and went on to voice their support for the apartments.

This was interesting because all of the HOA’s in the Imperial apartment issue were dead set against it. Turns out that these two folks…while identifying themselves as HOA members…were not speaking in an “official” capacity at the meeting…but rather as just regular residents.

Dolan’s original headline was: Telfair HOA supports apartments…which wasn’t entirely correct…although she didn’t know it at the time.

The headline that went into the paper was: “Telfair homeowners support apartments”…which resulted in Kathy Shah filing a TOMA complaint against the HOA because no official HOA vote on the apartment issue was ever announced to the residents.

Telfair’s HOA says no formal vote ever occurred regarding the apartments.

So….the correct headline should have been: “Some HOA members support Telfair apartments”.

If anyone is to blame for the kerfuffle it’s me. I lay out the front page and sometimes rewrite the headlines after only admittedly reading the first few paragraphs.

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Posted by on Sep 26 2012. Filed under Bev's Burner. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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