Tuesday, March 20, 2012

'Perfect storm' throws CEC contract into deficit

Captain Paul Wash on the hot seat

Jail admin: No budget for $385K shortfall

Waco – For some reason, offenders both accused and convicted, are choosing to lay out their time rather than bonding out of the McLennan County corrective system of three jails.

One of the jails is empty, undergoing extensive renovations; another, privately operated, is filled with a lot more prisoners than anticipated; and the third is operated by the County Sheriff's Department.

The deal is this. There is a shortfall, and it's very expensive to cover. Way more than a quarter of a million expensive to cover at $385,020. Potentially, the entire burden could cost more than $2 million to cover the full pop.

That got a thorough airing and rag chew in Commissioners Court this morning, Tuesday, March 20, when County Budget Director Adam Harry asked for a budget amendment to cover the shortfall.

Somebody had some explaining to do.

The designated hitter, Captain Paul Wash, strolled up to the hot seat, sat down, and began to give the McLennan County Commissioners Court the bad news first.

He needs $385,020 to cover a budget shortfall in $35 per day per prisoner fees paid to private corrections operator CEC, Inc., to house prisoners at the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

There was no follow-up good news to tell.

The next item was even worse. There is no fat to trim, no overage, no extra money to be found in the department's budget. He needs the money from the “contingency” fund, the rainy day, mad money, disaster relief, worst nightmare 'fraidy hole dough to cover what he's already owing the New Jersey corporation - $385,020 – and that ain't hay.

Paying it off won't get them out of the woods.

It will just get them current with their current bill. To get the money for the next 6 months, something about which Commissioner Joe Mashek said, “This is going to wind up costing us a million bucks,” they will have to go the well again, as many times as it takes.

Said Commissioner Kelly Snell, in an incredulous tone of voice:

“Didn't y'all see all this coming at you?”
The answer, delivered in low, modulated, halting tones, is – no.

It was a “perfect storm,” said Capt. Wash. Or, perhaps he said it has been described by some people as such. Words to that effect.

You may judge for yourself by clicking here:

What's more, the budget planning process has changed, according to Budget Director Adam Harry. Where each Commissioner at one time served as a “liaison” in certain areas, it's no longer done that way.

It's now government by committee, in which a committee of the whole arrives at spending solutions by “workshop” discussions.

It's an interesting new system, according to Commissioner Ben Perry, who said some department heads, as well as elected officials, learned by surprise that items they had budgeted had been cut, after all.

Not good. Check it out.

Mr. Harry was seeking guidance as to whether they want their surprises from budgetary perfect storms, “before, during, or after” the budget planning process.


  1. Glad to see that the Coward of the County, Plemons, didn't even bother to show up. I find it hard to believe that number for no reason suddenly tripled and stayed there for 6 months.

    Still another budget amendment after Plemons has once again gone over-budget. Never in my life have I heard of such poor mismanagement. At this point in time, I have no faith in Plemons and a lot less for businessmen like Peter Kultgen and David Jumper who have endorsed Plemons administrative skill.

    But yes it is the "perfect storm" called Hurricane Plemons. It does always amaze me when things go bad, Lynch and Plemons are no where to be found. Speaks volumes when you send an employee to take your bullet, but I guess that's what administrators do.

  2. I can not still understand the Waco Trib.they came after some elected officials like a Hawk,but somehow can not get a story out of the Sheriff and Plemons.the big story of the year and the Trib sets idle.Why?


  4. If you read the waco trib,they did not even get a answer from the sheriff,tribs a joke

  5. I have gotten few answers from the MCSO that I did not pay for in cash. Most of them make no sense. I asked for a report on a man who died in a fire in his car not long ago, waited the 10 days they claim I must wait, and when she handed me the report, it didn't have his name on it. They did not have his name 10 days previous. There was no information. It was a blank sheet of paper. i handed it back and told her, hey, lady, you will never see me again unless they drag me up here in chains. i mean it. The Trib is published by real estate interests with strong ties to Baylor University. Randy Plemons' Campaign Treasurer is similarly connected to the Baylor alumni. You wouldn't expect a Republican newspaper to get very active in a GOP nominating primary for a local race, anyway, but in this case, it's out of the question. - The Legendary

  6. The reason you wont see Plemons or Lynch in the court defending their position is because their training in these matters is ignore it and something else will come along to steal the spotlight. The commissioners are the same.This tactic goes all the way back to their mentor Jack Harwell.Jack had a style that worked for him and people were content. The problem is times have changed and people are not as "ill-informed" as they once were. This administration takes you for saps. Thats why you never have had a REAL depiction of whats going on in county govt. THEY DONT THINK YOU NEED TO KNOW AND HOW DARE YOU QUESTION THEM? I mean really...compare the constant update of whats going on with the WACO PD to whats going on with the SHERIFFS OFFICE for god's sake. The only reason you are hearing this much is becasue of the election and people are sick of the BS. Tommy "sliverspoon" cant ignore it becasue it would be obvious bias. Come on people,,keep asking the questions and you may just get a real sheriff and dept.

    1. Tommy is as good as he wants to be but does not want the truth coming out for some reason about Plemons and lynch.

  7. I think like you , there just isn't any information coming from the supposedly "transparent" Sheriff's Office. That and I've always found Regina's reporting weak compared to Witherspoon's. Witherspoon knows how to go after a story while Regina is afraid to step on toes.

    I did hear that while Plemons and Lynch didn't show up to answer questions in Commissioners Court, they were more then happy to shake hands and tell everyone at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce how great an administrator he was that same morning.

    His lack of a field assignment shows he's no lawman. His record of late illustrates his poor administrative skills. His current activities shows he's no more then an underqualified politican tries to ride the coattails of another politican. I want law enforcement out of my Sheriff. Lawman first, adminsitrator second. Plemons has proved he is neither.

    1. If Regina wants a story ,I do not understand why she has not found out the truth about the budget or even looked at it and asked questions,someone got the thumb on her for some reason.