Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Sheriff's influence still felt in courthouse war

Back in the saddle with a Constable's office
Sheriff Larry Lynch faces music over high private jail costs

Six Shooter Junction – Bob Townsend of  Avis rent-a-car fame - “We try harder” - put it best in his 1970 business best seller, “Up The Organization.”

When you take over a corporation, the bottom line is the bottom line; that's where, it says here, the bottom line is to maximize profits.

What to do?

Along with sell the company plane, fire the lawyers, fire the executive secretary, and eliminate designated parking, Mr. Townsend counseled other lean, mean managers to fire the personnel department, move all their records into a filing system, then remodel the building so they can't even find their former fiefdoms, should they decide to pay a visit to their old digs on a trip down memory lane.

The bottom line at Avis proved Mr. Townsend was right when he said people don't mind working – as long as the rewards for doing so match their ego drives, and they get what they need out of the transaction.

They haven't gotten the memo in Austin, where TCLEOSE, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers' Standards and Education, keeps close tabs on a law man's certification status.

It says here: Sheriff Larry Lynch has a new job working in the office of Precinct 5 Constable Stan D. Hickey. Mr. Hickey forwarded the information to the Commissioners Court, along with the laconic notation, “The commission's records have been updated to note the licensee's current employment...”

The item, which is on today's Commissioners Court agenda, has set certain court watchers – business owners one and all with a payroll and a health care budget plan to meet – clucking, hooting, and talking from behind their hands. They are smarting from the bad news that the bottom line, and its attendant goal posts, made a drastic move in the health care industry when legislators cut spending for the care of mentally infirm persons, and the system began dumping them in the county jails. In the one-for-all and all-for-one atmosphere of health care today, that affects the bottom line, both tax-wise, and as a payroll item.

Due to certain arrangements with a New Jersey corporation named CEC, Inc., McLennan County sometimes moves Mental Health-Mental Retardation (MHMR) patients to the privately operated Jack Harwell Detention Center to meet overflow requirements on busy weekends. The cost overrun is predicted to reach a typical 300 percent level again this fiscal year, swelling the expense to nearly $6 million at the rate of $45.50 per inmate per day.

“...All we're really doing is baby sitting,” according to Dr. John Wells, the jail doctor for McLennan County. He noted that it costs about 8 times more to lock up mentally ill persons.

Said Dr. Wells at the time, “We are about 200 yards away and there's something in the air between our jail and their jail (Jack Harwell Detention Center); and on the way over there, they (inmates, mental patients) get sick, blind, deaf, and dumb.”

During the Sheriff's tenure, while he was paid $1,000 per month to write reports on CEC's operations, reports which he never filed, they are reminding one another, the Sheriff directed the doctor to forward medication for psychiatric patients to the private corporation, and CEC never returned the meds when they sent the prisoners back across the 200 yard dividing line between the two jails.

The budgetary drain, according to Dr. Wells: $50,000 per month in increased costs for medication because the terms of the contract calls for McLennan County to bear the expense of medicating psychiatric patients held in lockups, both privately and publicly operated.

1 comment:

  1. Lynch is a deputy constable now? God help us all! The man belongs in jail. Does he have no pride?