Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tax Collector Buddy Skeen - "This is ridiculous!"

County Judge questions budgeted travel

Waco – Embattled Tax Assessor-Collector Buddy Skeen blew a fuse in McLennan County Commissioners' Court this morning.

Called to explain travel expenses for himself and staff members who will attend educational seminars and classes, he pointed out that the items were budgeted and approved by the Court previously.

County Judge Jim Lewis responded to his complaint by saying, “I'm looking to cut travel budgets across the board.” His affect was calm, his tone of voice icy.

Mr. Skeen, who is the subject of a Texas Rangers investigation following allegations that he used some creative techniques to finance acquisition of a personal pickup truck by applying credit from a previous trade of a truck that was the property of his office to his sales tax liability for the new truck he had bought for himself, lost his temper and shouted, “This is ridiculous!”

He asked, “Have you requested anybody else but me?” He pointed out that he has received the opinion of County Auditor Stan Chambers that “This is routine, once the budget has been approved.”

He explained to the Court, “It's too late. We've been sending these to my travel account. You cannot micromanage the travel accounts once the budget has been approved.”

In an impromptu corridor interview, Mr. Skeen said, “This is political. This is strictly harassment from the County Judge...This is just pure disrespect for any department head...to postpone a travel authorization.”

He explained that the questions have been deferred for three weeks running while he supplied answers to queries about travel expenses previously approved and e-mailed to him from Judge Lewis' office and other members of the Commissioners' Court.

“The judge is losing the control. There's been a change of the Commissioners' Court. We have an empty jail we cannot fill, which is costing us. But yet why are wasting time on a petty responsibility – a nickel – when you've got a jail that you built that you cannot fill?”

In the heated exchange before the Court, Commissioner Joe Mashek stepped in after the volume and vitriol had reached embarrassing levels, and said, “It is already budgeted, so I don't have a problem with it.” He made a motion that the travel vouchers be approved – once again – so that the County Auditor may write a check for the reimbursement of the funds to the Tax Collector's office account.

Biometric blood draw to uncover many diseases

Commissioner Ben Perry made a proposal that the Court adopt an optional $35 blood draw that will allow any of McLennan County's 800 full time employees covered by a Scott & White self-insured health plan to “uncover all kinds of diseases that can be addressed before they become a claim – and a potentially expensive claim.”

The Court gave their unanimous approval amid many jokes and witty remarks about one another's health posture prior to voting on the question.

Human Resources Director Tom Kelly said he is unsure exactly how many people would be eligible for the new service.

County Judge Jim Lewis said, “First time around, I would like to see everyone participate, but we would probably be lucky if we got a hundred.”


  1. Great article, Legendary. I recall as an employee with the county, that travel was reimbursed after personal funds paid the hotel bills and meals (there was a daily allowance for meals and money spent under the allowance was given). Also, the travel event was approved by court prior to being taken. If these conditions are currently followed, I see no valid reason to disapprove the reimbursements.

  2. While a county employee in the previous decade, travel was reimbursed after personal funds were spent for lodging, meals and travel (allowance for daily meal total and mileage for personal vehicles, any amount spend under the meal allowance was paid). Also, the specific trips were approved by the court beforehand by authorization and budget availability. If these conditions are being met now, I see no reason for the County Judge or any commissioner to deny the reimbursement to the employees.

  3. Some years ago, I witnessed Skeen belittle another taxpayer about his daily duties while I was standing in line to pay "my share".

    Skeens conduct as an elected official is incomprehensible! He is ONE of the few that have cast shame upon McLennan County.

    I was shocked to hear that he is seeking re-election! A farce at best.

  4. He used to call staff meetings in which he would state to his employees to think of him as a God, their God. I too witnessed him treating a female tax payer like an idiot he demeaned her and belittled her as if she was a child who just because she asked him a questioned that only he would know gave him the upper hand to treat her like that.

    That man sir, is no-Man and doesn't deserve recognition as such!!!
    His pom-pus attitude Never did fit his position as a public officer, one should exemplify a role of humility and respect for all members of the tax-paying society, not that of a two-face (rub my back and I'll rub yours) kind of person.
    This is purely a significant sign of someone who w/out self control and a God-Like complex can cause such a tangle weave of deceive which ends up hurting the (very-few)innocent employee(3) who have nothing to do w/him but truly deserve to be promoted in those positions that the [lack of a better description] BAD PEOPLE currently hold. Only then will this office ever deserve to be recognized as an Honest and Reputable Business, by taking out the bad ones {across the board} and putting the Good-Ones(3) in charge.

    That's all I have to say about that.