By LeaAnne Klentzman
As 2011 drew to a close, Fort Bend County’s 2012 started off with a bang.
Rolling into 2012, money was tight and Commissioners told all elected officials to cut their budgets and tighten their belts. For those who voluntary complied, it was tough but they did it. However, it appears that if an elected official acts like a belligerent teenager and just flat refuses to comply, they leave the Commissioner’s Court, well, shall we politely say, impotent.
That has been exemplified month after month, year after year, when Sheriff Milton Wright and his posse over on the Road Formerly Known as Ransom, defy Commissioner’s Court when they are told no more positions and no more promotions, but they do it anyway. Then to pay for it, the Sheriff moves money from facilities maintenance or the likes to cover the cost until later in the year. Then he goes back to Commissioner’s Court needing money to pay the light bill. Now, none of this can be done without express permission of the Commissioners; however, they have yet to stop it, thus making themselves complicity.
In the most recent deal, $239,336 in asset forfeiture monies (dope proceeds) was dumped by the Sheriff into the General Fund ostensibly to pay for what are being described as “crony” promotions. Those promotions took place right at the end of the year after Civil Service had been voted in by the employees. Not only did those promotions not follow existing policy guidelines, they would never pass the scratch and sniff test for Civil Service either.
One example of this current promotional debacle reported to the Star is the promotion of the Chief Deputy‘s wife. According to Commissioner’s Court minutes and the County’s Human Resources Department, on December 13, 2011, job number 5601-0553 was upgraded from an Investigator’s slot to a corporal’s slot, effective 12/24/2011. That is a newly created position that, until now, never existed, nor does it exist any place else in that division. Furthermore, Ms. Brady did not test, was not interviewed by a Review Board, nor was the job posted so any other employee could be afforded the opportunity to compete for the position. It appears that it was gifted to the Chief Deputy’s wife. Ms. Brady’s promotion will earn her just shy of an extra $5,000 per year; an increase from 20.79 per hour to 22.98 per hour.
To add insult to injury, corporal Brady will be joined in her new position by a campaign ‘cronie’ and former jail corporal. This particular jail Corporal, lost her police license for a time in 2011 when the Texas Law Enforcement Commission became aware of a personal criminal conviction that either the Sheriff’s background investigator missed or ignored that should have made her ineligible to be hired. This corporal can be seen as an inmate, picture and all, in the Sheriff’s own data bank by the employees she supervises.
According to the minutes of the Law Enforcement Commission, in late 2011, Fort Bend County Sheriff Milton Wright, his Chief Deputy Craig Brady, the jail corporal and a Houston lawyer all traveled to appear before the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Standards and Education to ask for an exception for this corporal. According to the minutes, the Corporal had a theft conviction which made her ineligible to have a peace officer‘s license in Texas. Eventually her ‘one time’ exception requested of the Commission by the administration of Sheriff’s Office was granted by the Commission, and the corporal’s police license was reinstated.
Interestingly, throughout the time the corporal’s Texas Peace Officer license was “cancelled,” she never lost never lost a day’s pay. During that time she was quietly sent to work in the Internal Affairs Division. During her time in Internal Affairs she was given access to personnel files, personal background information on employees or potential employees as well as documents and information forbidden by law to those with her kind of conviction. So as things stand today, this corporal and Corporal Brady are slated to serve the residents of Fort Bend County as background investigators.
This information has been made public because there are those among us who are tired of mismanagement and over-reaching by governmental officials. If you have a story, a lead or there is some malfeasance you want checked out, contact us at the Star. You don’t have to be the whistle blower. We will do it for you; just tell us where to look.