Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Outside care jail budget will be dry in 3 months

Commissioners approve budget amendment
Emergency funding amendments dead ahead

Waco – McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch made a rare appearance today in Commissioners Court to explain how the projected budget for outside care of prisoners by CEC, Inc., will reach a $1.8 million shortfall at the end of fiscal year 2011-2012.

Prosecutors are seeking adjudication of indicted offenders at a much higher rate than was expected when the yearly budget was prepared. The resulting overflow of unexpected prisoners are held in the Jack Harwell Detention Center, which is operated by CEC, Inc., a for-profit New Jersey corporation.

At the rate of $275,000 per month, according to Budget Director Adam Harry, the budgeted funding will be depleted at the end of the coming three month period.

One alternative to cutting operating budgets for other departments will be to make emergency budget amendments to raise the necessary cash to make up the shortfall, said County Auditor Stan Chambers.

According to District Attorney Abel Reyna, the current spike in jail population is due to his office's aggressive indictment of accused criminals over the past year. He and the two criminal District Courts have been holding two Grand Jury sessions each month, each of which are returning a maximum of 120 to 150 indictments each month.

Mr. Reyna told the Court that he had taken the necessary steps to do this because during his career as a private attorney serving in the criminal defense bar, he had clients who were indicted, posted bond, and went on to re-offend as many as 9 times while prosecution against them languished under the administration of John Segrest, his predecessor, whom he defeated in 2010.

“We are asking that these people not be let out on bond,” he said. “In fact, we found a 1998 murder case that was in the back of a filing cabinet in a closet...”

In taking full responsibility for the need for prisoner care provided by an outside corporation, he assured the Court that if necessary, he will approve every personal recognizance bond, agree to any reduction in sentence or charges and any amount of bail. “You won't have anybody in your jail,” he said.

The members of the Court laughed and assured him that will not be necessary.

After lengthy discussion, the Court voted unanimously to amend the budget to take $285,020 from a contingency fund held in reserve for emergencies and an additional $100,000 from the deputy pay budget.

The budget amendment will bring the County up to date on invoices payable as of March 1.

Further signs of belt tightening

Commissioner Lester Gibson and Ben Perry agreed to defer a new system of having department heads and a minimum of two County Commissioners sign off on claims for vacation leave pay during each pay period.

The system will assure the Court that the benefits are actually due employees, a caution, said Mr. Gibson, because vacation claims average between $2,000 and $9,000 each time an employee leaves and the payroll department of the Treasurer's Office is not always sure they are due the benefits.

When an audit shows they are not, it requires litigation through the courts to get a judgment to collect the money.


  1. Where do they get this money from? The Federal Reserve or Greece?

  2. I'm glad you asked that question. The funds have been diverted from a George Soros grant to the Baylor University Department of Statistical Research to study the basking habits of terrapins in the Brazos River Basin for the BRA. At a hefty 19% per annum on the unpaid balance, it was a toss-up between a study of the Cowboys when their cocaine dealer is on his game and the Cowboys when their cocaine dealer is on federal probation and the terrapin basking study. As they say in Silicon Valley, Garbage In; Garbage Out. May Chiligula be with you, Bro. Anonymous. - The Legendary

  3. Unbelievable! Lynch just showed up to try to cover for Plemons, who spends his entire work day campaigning.
    Plemons can't even handle his own budget affairs( sued for $9,000 credit card bill). And it's very obvious that he can't handle the Sheriffs office budget.
    Let's see, Plemons is NOT a lawman, and he's NOT a competent administrator......so what exactly is he? Well, he is a dirty politician, that's for sure.

  4. Uh, thank you for sharing! I'm just going to sit on the Sheriff's lap, here, and, uh... well, you know, I - ah - see - Whatever. - The Legendary

  5. "Unbelievable! Lynch just showed up to try to cover for Plemons, who spends his entire work day campaigning."

    Well there is a big ethics violation, on the clock for the county while working on his campaign. Actually, isn't that illegal? Didn't some Waco police officer get in trouble for working their private business on the city's time?

    I guess that's the difference between Waco PD and the Sheriff's Office. You violate the rules in Waco PD, you are held responsible. You violate the rules in the Sheriff's Office, you get the Lynch's endorsement, campaign contributions, and him covering for you. Talk about a conflict of interest. But then Lynch is no stranger to campaigning on county time. Retired Chief Deputy Dan Weinberg tried to bring it to the public's attention when Lynch did it for his campaign. Looks like Chief Deputy Weinberg knew Lynch and company better then we did.

    1. From what I am reading, the police department and Sheriff's Department are doing a good job putting people in jail because the jail it full and overcrowded. Mr. Reyna is doing a good job keeping the indicted felons off the streets and making McLennan County safer. To put blame on these people for protecting our citizens is wrong. Every day we hear of increasing robberies and violent crimes in McLennan County. I feel that the bad economy is causing more crime. The McLennan County Commissioners hold the purse strings to taxpayers dollars. They need to figure out a way to pay for all the overcrowding. It is not the police departments, Sheriff's Department or D.A. Office's fault that the jail is over budget. Hats off to them for doing a good job. Let's watch how our County Commissioners fix this problem that is occurring nationwide and let the police departments, Sheriff's department and D.A. continue to protect the citizens of McLennan County.

    2. Perhaps you should check the numbers and see how many criminals are actually put in jail by the sheriffs office, not many. The deputies who are actually working, and not spending all of their time sucking up to Plemons, trying to get special treatment, and promotions, can't really do their job because they are second-guessed and intimidated by the self appointed monarchy that they work for.
      As usual, Plemons and Lynch don't want to take responsibility, and are looking for a scapegoat. It s
      The Sheriff's office budget! It's ultimately THEIR responsibility !
      Plemons IS NOT the great administrator that he professes to be. It's very obvious.

  6. Isn't the jail part of the Sheriff's budget? Isn't it ultimately the reponsibility of the Sheriff's office to handle THEIR own budget? Isn't it the sheriff's budget that the self proclaimed expert administrator Plemons has been bragging about doing?
    The buck stops with the Sheriff's office administration, plain and simple. when preparing a budget, you at least come up with a two year projection plan. Hello? Obviously, the expert administrator didn't do that! Of course, if Plemons couldn't handle his own credit card bill,and his own household budget, how could he possibly handle a much larger budget?
    It is the Sheriff's fault, plain and simple. he is responsible for HIS departments budget.

    1. YES, the Sheriff's responsibilities are written in law. They do include the jail management, including the budget.

      You can find a list of the laws for each County Official (see Sheriff section) here:

  7. Yes, it is the responsibilty of the Sheriff. The buck should stop with him, but it gets passed around like a live hand grenade.

    Why are the Commissioners not holding the Sheriff and his administrators feet to the fire? I bet they will wish they had when they have to try to explain to taxpayers who's fault it is their taxes are going up, and why they didn't say a thing to them.

    Snell took no action on it, and he expects to be re-elected?

    Keep Plemons out of office before the Sheriff's Budget swells over $30 million because he can't keep his finances straight. Elect a Sheriff who has the law enforcement experience, and a business management degree to go with his 15 years of experience successfully running a district of 13 counties that contained McLennan County.

  8. Why hasn't anyone questioned why the Sheriff's Office tried to hide all of this? Anyone with half a brain should have seen this pattern back in October or November. Plemons stand-in Paul Wash claimed to have contacted Commissioners in November, but he was rebuffed. He then tried to say December and was denied again. Then it wasn't brought before court until March after they got the second bill that put them over budget.

    From what I've seen, our Sheriff's Office is a stoen wall. They hide information. They deny the existance of information. They refuse to take responsibility for anything. Plemons has learned everything he knows from Lynch, who fosters these policies. Plemons claims to contain the current levels of transperancy, integrity, professionalism, and service. Considering the information they have hid, their refusal to take responsibility for their own office, Plemons making faces like a 5 year old, and as mentioned across many other articles the lack of response from the Sheriff's Office; do we really want 4 more years of an even more lackluster, self proclaimed "administrator" who can balance his own finances and made a complete mess out of the Sheriff's $26, excuse me now $29 million budget?

  9. How do you ask why, when the question to be asked is to be asked of people who told you that a 19-year-old man driving a luxury sport model Cadillac pumped 10 gallons of gasoline into two containers, drove to a somewhat remote location and died an accidental death in an automobile that was very rapidly and fully engulfed in flames?

    In a case such as that, one is compelled to merely ask the rhetorical question first asked on Mad Ave - Why ask why? - go around the situation and avoid all contact with folks of that nature. Better to rely upon the good will of your fellow man and the forbearance of reptiles, as the hired gun English Bob said in "Unforgiven."

    And then the Sheriff stomped his ever-loving ass.

    The most credible man in the world, CBS' Walter Cronkite, would have said, "And that's the way it is." - The Legendary

  10. It doesn't have to be "the way it is" if the voters take a stand, and change it!!! Twelve years of this nonsense is enough!