Jonathan Gruber, Obamacare consultant, on transparency… http://youtu.be/G790p0LcgbI
By R.S. Gates, Minister of Irritation
Why have a budget?
Though no line items are to be found in the current operations budget, McLennan County Commissioners have added three positions, a Park manager at Tradinghouse Lake; a field liaison representative for a road Commissioner’s precinct, and now a Criminal Justice Analyst to serve the court system. None of these salaried positions were included in the budget for the current fiscal year; no competitive announcement for hiring was advertised.
Mike Dixon, the private attorney retained to advise the County Judge and Commissioners assured the tribunal that their actions are entirely legal. And yet, Jim Mattox held a far different opinion during his tenure as Attorney General:
Accordingly, the only limitation would arise regarding unencumbered funds. We conclude that a commissioners court does have authority in the situation that you describe to re-allocate among the various precincts, some or all of the unencumbered money from the road and bridge fund previously appropriated to specific precincts and unexpended at the end of the year.
It is true that there is an emergency fund, commonly called a contingency fund. Mattox called it a slush fund, but let’s not split hairs. This fund greatly affects the credit rating of a county. The funds are for an expense that could not be reasonably foreseen at budget time. By law, the funds do not exist to satisfy the whims of the Court. Under the law, an emergency must be declared to expend the funds. Thinking emergency? Think the explosion of the West Fertilizer Company.
The most recent addition, the contract employment of Judge Kristi DeCluitt, who resigned her position as the elected Judge of Precinct 1, Place 2 Justice Court today to become a criminal justice analyst, was the result of many discussions and meetings in executive session, in each of which case, we made multiple inquiries of the County Judge, requesting information.
Each request for public information was met with more hurdles and roadblocks, but no responsive information. The last request, which we of The Legendary made just hours before the regular Tuesday morning court session on January 27, still contained no funding information.
This is a request for the bookmark agenda. I am also requesting information that is in the possession of the office but not yet included in the bookmark agenda. The request also covers information that is public information but the office does not want to release to the public yet.
That probably should have been sufficient, but in the words of legislative consultant Jonathan Gruber, who advised members of the U.S. House of Representatives and White House officials on how to formulate the rules and language of Obamacare, “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.’”
Your elected officials appreciate your indifference and inattention.
For more in-depth coverage of the shenanigans of the Court, follow these links: