Monday, June 11, 2012

Heartbeat of liberty, pulse point of freedom -

Operation Countdown proceeds apace...

Six Shooter – In the glare of a new day, a group of inmates submit to the chains that restrain their movements, their wrists shackled at their waists, their ankles restricted to short, mincing steps.

They are prepared and waiting to walk the few feet that separate them from a public jail, operated as the ministerial duty of a Constitutional Officer of the State of Texas, the County Sheriff – and a public facility operated by a private, for-profit corporation, the Jack Harwell Detention Center.

Somewhere in the bowels of the institution, a phone rings. A voice of authority commands that the prisoners be taken back inside, that they not be transferred to the corporate control of a New Jersey company.

The women are returned to their cells in the McLennan County Jail – and no one is really quite sure why.

Like most forms of information in this city on the Brazos, this, too, is as unobtainable as the codes of the Doomsday Machine, the exact location of the treasures of the Pharaoh, the protocols of the Pentagon for World War Four.

Newly nominated candidates for public office and old hands passing out of the wicket of the elected official to private life all agreed when queried today. If faced with a decision whether to extend or renew the maintenance and operations contract with Community Education Centers, Inc., (CEC, or “Civigenics”) they would be totally at a loss to make an informed decision.

The type of information necessary to make such a choice is simply unavailable, and it's a chronic problem, according to those who have worn the yoke of resposibility in this county.

One need only listen to the reminiscences of Precinct 3 Commissioner Joe Mashek in a lengthy exit interview conducted months ago, when he made his decision not to seek re-election.

Serving in McLennan County is an exercise in making decisions in an information poor environment.

Consider the mystery of the finance of paying police from an outside agency, the Hewitt Police Department, to stand guard at the magnetometers of the entry to the Courthouse. Bookwork from the County auditor shows that for the past two months, the fund has been negative, in the red – and yet, somehow, somewhere, officials found the cash to meet the payroll.

The warning bell might have been sounded when in the first two months, the expenditures exceeded the monthly allotment. Surely someone took notice when in month three, the expenditures were more than twice the monthly budget amount. The issue might have come up prior to the primary election since the budget was fully expended in April except county records kept by County Auditor Stan Chambers indicate a letter was received which led to a budget adjustment in the exact amount of the $2107.50, necessary to stave off the deficit until after the primary election.

Mr. Chambers has not yet indicated the origin of the letter, who wrote it, or the source of the funds.

A public information act request for the fortuitous letter and related documentation have gone unanswered.

One has to wonder if commissioners considered that if a business owner had $111,000 in his account and wrote checks totaling more than $128,000, said business owner would make a trip to the local hoosegow for theft by check. The key in this matter is no approval to pay the officers is sought.

The only request before the court is to replace the money already expended.


  1. Not sure if the county can afford to have Lynch and Plemons sitting down there for the next seven months. It's a scary thought! I feel sorry for the incoming Sheriff. He will have to clean up Lynch's mess for years to come.

  2. The issue here is not as puzzeling as one would think. The administration as far back as Jack Harwell has had an adversarial relationship with the commisioners court. "keep em in the dark and feed em Sh**" was the phrase used many times. The difference now in the day and age of public access is that people are asking too many questions and its becoming exposed. Harwell never attempted to bring the S.O into the modern age of law enforcement with advanced equipment, fascilities, and officers. To Lynch's credit he began with the right idea of doing just that....HOWEVER,,,,he WAS TRAINED OR RATHER RAISED BY THE HARWEL ADMIN. So it wasnt long before the adversarial relationship became even more strained because the S.O began expenditures to try and create a dept to be proud of,,,,,and did not feel they had to "explain" themselves and when they tried the comissioners were predisposed to be resistant. Shady deals, lying, and misdirection ensued and the relationship became EVEN MORE tainted and is broken beyond repair. The new administratin should seize the chance to start fresh and get off on a positive note to fix what could be a good relationship.

  3. The news just keeps coming of how badly the Sheriff's Office has been managed by the "Administrators" for the last decade. Lately they seem to be able to do nothing more then overspend the taxpayers' money. This is the third time in the last year that the Sheriff's Office has overspent their budget. They have established a pattern of overspending thier budget, the County Auditor helping them hide it for a short time, then it finally becoming public knowledge 2 months after they went into the hole. Yet I have to laugh, because these same people who have gone in the hole on their budget 4 out of the past 5 months questioned Marshal McNamara on his ability to manage the budget.

    I hope the Commissioner quickly act and stop our lame duck Sheriff and his patsy Chief Deputy from continueing to abuse the county taxpayers as they have done. They used this latest overspending to help secure an endorsement from the Hewitt Police Association, the main department benefitting from the over spending on part time security, just like the overspending on outside care for inmates bought him the help of CEC and their mysterious white vans. I'd love to see the Texas Rangers investigate our current Sheriff and Chief Deputy before the Sheriff disappears into his luxary retirement and his Chief Deputy goes to Baylor DPS to start overspending their to live high on the hog.