Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Interrogatory tells tale of two cities, same state

The "droll barber," with apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens, ink-stained wretch

Our far-flung correspondent, R.S. Gates, writes...

I got interested in a comparison of salaries and administrative and the number of assistants to the Commissioners Court in Bell County, as compared to McLennan. This is what I learned about the two corporate entities, their styles, the attitudes of their leadership.

An interesting aside is that Bell County enjoys a considerable budget surplus, while McLennan County is scrambling to deal with a huge deficit that will force salary and benefit cuts, budget cuts, a substantial tax rate increase for the second year, and much consternation. Nothing is really as simple as this, but it's a starting point.

Judge Burrows,

I live in McLennan County, and I am following the budget process here. Due to the similarities of our counties, I had a few questions.
What is your salary?
What is the salary of a County Commissioner?
Does each County Commissioner have an administrative assistant?
How many staff members are in your office?

Within two hours, the reply came.

Here is the requested information:

County Judge Total Salary/with state supplement - $125,888
Commissioners - $65,545
Does each Commissioner have an administrative assistant? – No
How many staff members? – We all share one. We are budgeted for two, but only one slot is currently filled.

Jon H. Burrows
Bell County Judge

An identical request to McLennan County Judge Scott Felton


Please answer the following questions.

What is the current salary amount for the McLennan County Judge with state supplement?
What is the current salary of a County Commissioner?
How many staff members in your office?
How many staff members for the Commissioners?
A follow-up note to Judge Felton's three administrative assistants one week later.

I never heard back from the request below.

A reply from Dustin Chapman, counsel to the Judge, nearly two weeks hence:

I was forwarded your email to Judge Felton and asked to respond.  As you know, the (Texas Open Records) Act does not require a governmental entity to respond to interrogatories.  If you would like to change the format of your request and re-send, we will be happy to review it.
Thank you,

Editor: As we all know, the Open Records Act does state in its preamble that the records of the State of Texas belong to the People of the State of Texas, and not the public servants of the State of Texas, who serve as custodians of those records, are not the arbiters of what it is good for the People of the State of Texas to know and not know.

- The Legendary


  1. far flung? more like full of dung.

    And somebody already responded on your silly little budget facebook page the differences between bell and mclennan in that bell doesn't use precincts like mclennan does.

  2. Bell County enjoys the benefit of Fort Hood and the considerable amount of money that brings into that economy with housing (property taxes) and retail sales.

    McLennan County enjoys the benefit of Baylor, an entity that actively campaigns to stunt economic growth, keeps jobs out and promotes poverty

    People on welfare or working a mcJob cant buy a house and pay property taxes

  3. Funny how you go right after commissioners pay while overlooking the elephant in the room being a new sheriffs department that wants to spare no expense to make themselves comfortable

  4. We all know..... something stinks!

  5. These are the policies and politics of organized crime - not much different than the Chicago of today or the Chicago of Capone's day. None of it has to be good. Like Capone's beer, it just has to be bought. Paid for. Obviously, there is a party of organized crime, and you don't need much coaching to figure out which one it is. I may have a silly little budget Facebook page, but at least I'm not stupid enough to pay the dues you pay for the rich folks. And by the way, what you counting on doing about my silly little Facebook page? - The Legendary

  6. non sequitur
    non se·qui·tur
    /ˌnän ˈsekwitər/


    A conclusion or statement that does not logically follow from the previous argument or statement.