Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Shaggy dog story ends court security hassle

Bogus budget bingo buck stops here, now

Six Shooter Junction – When the sturm und drang finally arrived, the fat lady didn't sing, no one jumped off a cloud, and the orchestra didn't even play loud.

In fact, the end of the great Visiting Judges' Courtroom hassle was even prefaced by a shaggy dog story that ended on sort of a happy note.

The McLennan County Commissioners Court opted to be reasonable and do things the way Sheriff Larry Lynch requested they do things.

They agreed to pay for part time help with manning security stations on the east door of the Courthouse and an entrance to a new Visiting Judges' Courtroom in the Courthouse where jurors may be received, pre-qualified for jury duty, and wait out of the sight and sound of witnesses, complainants, defendants, and defense attorneys.

Police officers from outside agencies such as the Hewitt Police Department have been scanning people and their baggage for metallic objects such as guns, knives, handcuff keys – anything that would help the bad folks make a break or spill the blood of innocent bystanders, whichever bad act might present itself first.

Problem: These officers had already done the work during the months of April and May. Today, the Court needed to find a way to pay the bill for their services. It was the third Tuesday running in which a solution was sought in the absence of any wise counsel from the wheels at the Sheriff's front office.

An extra added feature of the drama included finding the money in the Sheriff's Department budget to pay officers who work for the department to perform the work henceforth.

And so, Court convened this morning at 9 a.m. with no one from the Sheriff's office present to answer questions, representatives of the rival organizations that ride herd on the interests of deputies, and a few members of the public – all of them just waiting to see what would happen next.
As usual, before anything else can happen, the Agenda compelled everyone to stand and pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, etc...

Having done that, the next order of business is to hear the complaints, comments or questions of members of the public.

The old boy who came forward wore a camoflaged ball cap and jeans, a clean work shirt; he had a reserved, oddly unemotional manner, in which he spun a tale of a very large, obnoxiously friendly and unwanted Great Pyrenees dog someone dumped off in the country near his place.

This critter had a welcome home act for his new neighbors, the people who owned the house on the edge of town he had chosen to homestead.

He put his paws on the windowsill of the driver's door of the pickup truck the old boy drove home from work, and then he refused to move.


When a man returns to the castle and keep, he needs some quality time with mama and the kids, not someone else's unwanted shaggy dog, size extra large, like a Shetland pony.

“He obviously staked out his territory at our house,” the old boy said, deadpan.

He called the Sheriff's Department after his County Commissioner, Lester Gibson, told him that would be the thing to do.

They said they couldn't get to it unless the dog was “aggressively violent.”

It seems the Sheriff's Office has a problem with the number of dogs they can check into the homeless shelter for wayward animals with which McLennan County contracts for services in that department.

Chief Deputy Randy Plemons called out the helicopter, a bunch of deputies, trailers, volunteers, the news media – everyone but the SWAT Team – when he investigated the mistreatmet of some dogs and goats at an alleged “puppy mill” back there last month, right before the Republican Primary Election.

That blew the County's budget for picking up stray dogs, it seems.

They suggested the old boy with the problem call the animal shelter. They said, sure thing. Just load him up and bring him on in.


Have you checked out the size of a Great Pyrenees dog? Nevertheless, the old boy didn't shoot the Great Pyrenees dog. He wasn't exactly aggressively violent, it seems, and neither was the dog.

Things didn't improve the next day, either. His wife came home and got the paws-on-the-driver's-door-windowsill treatment when she wheeled in from a long day abroad.

End of story.

He started making some calls and wound up with both Deputy Plemons and Sheriff Larry Lynch on the phone. Somebody came and got the Great Pyrenees, took him away to greener pastures to stake out new territory for himself.

“In this economy, people are starting more and more to drop off dogs they don't want,” he reminded the Court. Dogs gang up and turn into packs – packs of dogs gone wild. Not good.

The detail has been manned by Sheriff's Officers since the 15th of the month. Where did the money come from to pay the officers? The Jail Medical Department swapped some positions for medical assistants the doctor can't fill for some for nurses for which there are people available.

The difference will pay the salaries of security officers staffed by the Sheriff's Department to man the new security station in the Courthouse Annex.

Curiously, not a word was spoken about the $50,000 in forfeiture funds the Sheriff "recorded" under "personal services" on May 8, or the $239,641 in court cost and forfeitures collected by the District Attorney and recorded on Oct. 25, 2011.

The remaining $11,184 needed to staff the side door to the Courthouse Annex Visiting Judges Courtroom, which is called the IV-D security station in budget parlance and the jurors' assembly room anywhere else they hold court, is included in the $52,250. This way, jurors can come into the Courthouse without mixing with defendants, witneses and complainants in criminal and civil trials, where security is crucial to maintain a pristine record as to the exclusionary rule. The newly remodeled courtroom, part of a $1.1 million project, seats about 350 prospective jurors.

In other business, the Court committed an estimated $700,000 to complete the contract with Johnson Roofing, a move that will waterproof the third and fourth floors of the Courthouse.

Up there, according to the company foreman, you can still find gaps between the masonry and the metal that are big enough you can put your hand through them.
“There's this lady, I don't remember what she does, but her office is on the fourth floor? That water just gushes in up there, every time it rains,” the foreman said.

This will push the project from $1.8 million already spent to an estimated $2.4 million on completion, which is expected some time in October or November.


  1. So I am in charge Plemons never showed up,what is the rest of the story.

    1. Since you're in charge, why don't you tell me? - The Legendary

  2. What I was talking about is that plemons never showed up to court and he stated all during the election that he was in charge,but you can not find him anywhere now,plus look a the the sheriffs dept in bell county,less deputies and covering more square miles,wonder what they do here,they get no drugs and catch no criminals,cities catch them but sheriffs deputies never seize any drugs found.

  3. They never catch them because Lynch, Plemons and their team of administrators are busy making sure they stay within budget. Let's give them some credit, they were only over by about $2 million this year. Not bad when you compare it to the federal overspending. It only looks bad when you see that most county departments don't even have a $2 million budget to begin with, much less a chance to overspend by $2 million.

    I know during the election Lynch, in aggressively backing Plemons, was worried that his tenure at Sheriff would be lost to the history books. So when everyone's taxes go up next year, please remember and thank Larry Lynch and Randy Plemons for making that all possible.