Sunday, July 15, 2012

Absence of outrage.

Story by R.S. Gates

What does $111,525.00 mean to an election?

For fiscal year 20111-2012, Commissioners’ Court authorized a budget of $111,525.00 for courthouse security.

The chart above shows the monthly budget was exceeded by 100% three months into the budget. The chief deputy campaigned for the Republican nomination for Sheriff as an experienced administrator. A novice administrator would have realized if they were spending twice the monthly budget three months into a 12 month budget, it would be prudent to advise the Commissioners’ Court of the potential shortfall.


While that did not happen until the budget was seriously in the red, this is where the real story starts.

The Chief Deputy received the endorsement of a local law enforcement association and some officers of that association were the beneficiaries through working security at the courthouse. Before you consider if the tax money was used to buy an endorsement, read the rest of the story.

The budget came up short by $2,107.50 at the end of April. There has been no real explanation provided for the violation of Texas Local Government Code 111.092.

The county auditor shall oversee the warrant process to ensure that the expenses of any department do not exceed the budget appropriations for that department.

County Auditor Stan Chambers said he advised the Sheriff to advise the Court in response to this request.


No record has been found indicating any member of the Commissioners’ Court was aware of the above letter. Instead, this is what was filed with the Court.

5-08-12 comcourt


The budget information above was provided prior to consideration by the court but some additional information was included in the minutes found on-line.


Even though the email above indicates the information was in the possession of the respondent when the first public information act request was filed, it is not the first time information was withheld but later included in the minutes.

One last interesting point is 19th District Court Judge Ralph Strother appeared before the Commissioners’ Court to petition for additional funding for courthouse security. Judge Strother is the senior judge and basically the boss of the County Auditor. No one asked about compliance with Sec. 111.092. Neither did anyone ask the Judge why, when the Sheriff had established the precedent of expending forfeiture funds to cover deficits in courthouse security and Commissioners’ Court approved adding $50,000.00 to the budget, why was it the responsibility of the Court to pilfer other line items when the money existed.

You can decide for yourself. One explanation would be that the Sheriff could not petition the court for additional funds because that would call into question of his hand picked successor to manage the budget. The Sheriff then used forfeiture funds to cover the deficit to prevent the issue becoming public prior to the May 31st election.

One final note, the budget request for next fiscal year is $75,000.00. The Sheriff made the case that prosecutions by District Attorney Reyna was largely responsible for the increased budget expenditures. It was noted that they were holding two grand juries instead of one. No explanation was offered why it was prudent to reduce the budget by almost 50%. It was additionally noted that no more security expenditures would be necessary because the Sheriff is not going to cover the security with existing personnel. Again, you can decide if this is a direct result of there being no election to buy an endorsement for next year. Perhaps the district attorney is going to reduce crime by 50% next year and the additional courthouse security will not be necessary.

Apparently no McLennan County elected official or candidate is very concerned about it.  Now be a good little taxpayer and forget all about it and go read a story about TomKat divorce.


  1. There are no conservative commissioners on the court and where is the tea party protecting the taxpayers.

  2. So let me get this all straight. Courthouse security under the increased scheduling of criminal hearings by the DA caused the Sheriff to overspend his $111,525 budget for the year halfway through the budget year. Hmmm...seems like I've heard this story of the Sheriff overspending his budget before when it came to inmate payments to CEC, another Plemons' backer. Oh and then there was the Sheriff overspending this same budget item last budget year too. So he's violated the law not once, not twice, but three times. I believe in criminal proceedings, this is referred to a "Habitual Offended".

    Back to the subject at hand, haven't there been allegations posted on this website over the past few months, that Lynch and Plemons had been using taxpayer money in this manner to "buy" endorsements for Plemons? No the Sheriff who has already spent through his security budget after 6 months, is wanting to decrease it for the new incoming Sheriff. And he questioned the Commissioners putting spending limits on him. I don't believe legally at this point he can lower the Sheriff budget like he's trying, not that the law seems to have stopped this "habitual offender" so far. Is there no end to how low this man will sink? It's no wonder his handpicked successor had to resort to a slanderous smear campaign of lies and distortions in his election. Even having to borrow some $90,000 on top of his raised money and the endorsements bought with taxpayer money, and he still couldn't beat an honest man who ran on his name and record. January 2013 can't come soon enough to kick this corruption and "habitual offender" out of law enforcement.