Monday, June 11, 2012

Expense of keeping metal tools out of the temple's east gate over budget, off level, out of plumb, not on the square

Security staff pay 50 percent over budget -
Court to consider lame duck spending limit

Six Shooter Junction – Courthouse security is tight, and the bill is high for the kind of help it takes to make sure no one sneaks a weapon inside the building.

A metal object the size of a handcuff key can set off alarms on the magnetometer at the eastern door of the McLennan County Courthouse.

Two, sometimes three commissioned peace officers stand by to supervise people coming to offices and courtrooms in the building as they send their hand carried items through the tunnel over a conveyor belt that carries briefcases and purses through a metal detection system.

All are required to empty their pockets of all metal objects - phones, keys, billfolds, money clips – and place them in a dish that resembles a church offering plate, which the receiving officer hands to the officer on the other end of the detector.

They even make prospective jurors, spectators, witnesses, attorneys and employees remove their belts.

To do the work requires the expertise of a licensed peace officer.

The McLennan County Sheriff's Office is short of such qualified help, so officers of the Hewitt Police Department are employed part time to take care of the duty at $30 per hour, plus benefits.

But the expense of that function has far outstripped the original budget of $111, 525.

As of April, spending for the task entered the red with spending of $2,107.50 for that month and $16,740 for May.

If McLennan County Commissioners authorize a budget increase for the item of $76,000, it will increae the original budget by more than 50 percent.

A seperate agenda item on Tuesday's Court agenda would allow the commissioners to impose “lame duck” spending limits that under state law would keep constitutional officers who are precluded from being re-elected by having been eliminated in the latest round of primary elections or by choosing not to run to, spending only within the budgets previously set for fiscal year 2011-2012.

A knowledgeable observer noted that D.A.R.E. Drug education officers are not busy with school children at this time and could easily be assigned to courthouse security. Information about that matter was not available from Sheriff's Office officials.

Look for heat, light and spirited debate as the court discusses adoption of the measure, which would also prevent Tax Collector Buddy Skeen, who is under indictment for fraud and misapplication of funds, from further spending until his term of office expires or he is removed for cause. Similarly, Precinct 3 Commissioner Joe Mashek, certain Constables and other elected officials would be affected.  


  1. more of the same...blah blah blah. Courthouse security is a necessary evil no doubt about it with all the crazies that come looking for satisfaction with a weapon. Metal detectors and the like are a good start,,,,however people need to be aware that security up there is a dog and pony show,,,a deterrent if you will. Because if someone comes up there that means business,,,several of the people working there could very well pee their pants or be as confused as a new calf looking at a gate. THATS FROM LACK OF TRAINING. WHAT IS THE TRAAAAAINING REQUIREMENTS TO PROTECT OUR JUDGES AND CITIZENS? This is in response to the "why dont the dare officers fill in?"comment. TRAINING PEOPLE.

  2. We have two candidates for Commissioner and three candidates for Sheriff. Seems like, if they were really concerned about taxpayers, instead of just getting elected, they would weigh in on this catastrophic failure.
    If a business owner had $111,525.00 in the bank and wrote checks totaling $128,265.00 they would go to jail for theft by check. Larry Lynch does basically the same thing not once, but twice and it is business as usual.

  3. I bet Lynch is not at the meeting,since he said he tells who goes to the commissioners court ,as for courthouse security.its time we turn it over to cheap security,all we are doing now is paying security to sit in there back office and have Hewitt PD do the security.

  4. Where is the tea party,conservatives,ha ha they show up to court and sit,and sit and sit.

  5. The sooner Lynch, Plemons, Vanek, and Wash are out of office the better. They are nothing more but a huge drain on the taxpayers of McLennan County. I'm glad that voters were smart enough to recognize their patterns and vote these "administrators" out of office for overspending more then $2,000,000 this year as well as their fraud they committed on Commissioners Court to spend an unnecessary $1,100,000 last year on upgrades that they lied about being required by the Jail Standards Commission. Someone needs to get the Texas Rangers involved in investigating these criminals, now they've finished with Buddy Skeen.

  6. audit,audit,audit!!!!!! Mcnamara would be wise to have a full investigation before he drives that "lemon" off the lot.

  7. From what I keep hearing about Lynch and his top officials, the Texas Rangers need to do an audit on the Sheriff's books. Someone was telling me that someone retiring from office doesn't campaign as hard and as dirty as Lynch did for his underling Plemons unless they've got something to hide. I have to agree, there's something rotten there.