Tooling around……For the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at Fort Bend Commissioners car and travel expenses. We’ve looked at the highest roller, Grady Prestage with his high out-of-state travel expenses to conferences, and Andy Meyers with his high monthly mileage expense.
Now we are going to look at those other two rascals, James Patterson and Richard Morrison to see what they have been up to last year.
The reason I am grouping them together in one week is that they have turned in such small amounts I don’t think it will take much space to write about them.
Oh, and then we have County Judge Bob Hebert who has the smallest amount of travel and car expense. I’ve heard that others pay for Judge Hebert’s travel (the hint being that it is vendors) and I say goodie, goodie, gum drop. I think if some vendors want to pay for Hebert’s way, let ‘em. He knows he is under scrutiny and so I don’t think he is going to act untoward about vendors. I don’t think he is as pure as the driven snow but he pounds on department heads to keep their expenses low and he knows they are going to rat him out if he acts in any way other than fair about those vendors.
Of the $2,355.28 that Judge Hebert turned in from June, 2011 to June, 2012, all of the expenses claimed was for either in-state conference registration or car mileage driving to those conferences.
Pct. 4 Commissioner James Patterson turned in a total of $3,342.34 for approximately the same time frame. In studying Patterson’s expenses, I see none for mileage to restaurants or cafes where he is taking care of “county business” like one of the other commissioners. Nor does he turn in nebulous events like “driving district” or “reviewing conditions.”
Patterson turns in his mileage by stating the beginning and ending destinations, which inevitably includes returning to his home base on Dairy Ashford. However, in turning in his round trip mileage, he doesn’t state the reason for the trips even though the form they all turn in clearly states “List starting and ending destinations and purpose of travel.”
Patterson attended one conference during this 12 month period for $448.90, leaving $2,993.44 for mileage or $241.12 per month.
Of all the commissioners and excluding the County Judge, Pct. 1 Commissioner Richard Morrison turns in the fewest miles and out-of-county travel. His yearly expense for the past year (ending in July, 2012) was $3,029.29.
Of that amount, Morrison turned in $795.90 for conference registration, hotel, and mileage for driving to the conferences. That leaves $2,233.39 for mileage expense or $186.11 per month. Morrison has a habit of turning in his mileage sometimes as seldom as four months at a time.
Of all the commissioners, Morrison seems to know how to turn in his expenses the most correctly, albeit several months at a time. He lists beginning and ending destinations, the amount of mileage and the reason for the trip. Thankfully, he doesn’t list nebulous “driving district,” or “checking conditions” every time he needs to pad his expenses. He also does not seem to hang around restaurants or cafes conducting “county business” and charging the taxpayers for mileage to there like Pct. 3 Commissioner Andy Meyer.
I’ll have to say after looking at all the commissioners and the county judge’s travel and car expenses for the past year that they do a pretty good job of keeping their expenses down. Except for some obvious questions, I’d say they get about a “B” on their actions. I still think we are paying them over $100,000 per year in salary, not counting medical and retirement so they could damn well attend commissioner court meetings at least once a week in Richmond without charging mileage.
Billy goat gruff…..There is such an outcry nowadays about “bullying,” particularly in school. Whole educational modules and educational films have been developed to warn against that since such an outcry has been made, starting with the tragedy at Columbine when bullying first arose on the national radar.
It’s not just kids that are guilty of bullying. What does this have to do with local politics, you ask? I think bullying is one of the major reasons a local candidate lost a primary after spending a half million of campaign cash. Maybe if all those lesson plans dealing with bullying had been taught in Lamar 30 years ago, that wouldn’t have happened as the candidate went to school there.
Many have expressed surprise that a Republican sheriff’s candidate who six months before appeared to be the front runner could lose flat out in a four person race. When questioned, I have one word, “Bullying.”
The losing candidate has been a bully for many years and turned most of the people in his own department against him. Although the winning candidate mopped the floor with him, he is still trying to bully his way around.
This should be a cautionary tale for other elected officials, particularly a certain commissioner. Nobody really likes a bully.
FYI……By the way, you DO NOT have to have a picture ID to vote in Fort Bend, yet. The question is tied up in court and will not be enforced this year.
Also, FYI, you have until Oct. 9 to register to vote for the Nov. election.
Next week: Voter fraud right here in Fort Bend County.