Welcome to Cherokee County, Texas the Official Site on Corruption

"Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

Posts Tagged ‘Precinct 4

Texas Rangers investigate Commissioners’ Court

leave a comment »

Do you believe the County Judge doesn’t know the results of the Texas Rangers investigation into the Pct. 4 commissioner, as he’s told the Jacksonville Progress? Even though Byron Underwood still attends Commissioners’ Court without a leave of absence and L.H. Crockett’s job is on the chopping block?

Because County Judge Chris Davis allows a couple of his buddies on Commissioners’ Court to buy tractor parts without an authorized Purchase Order, the Texas Rangers have been called in to sign off on Commissioner Byron Underwood’s recent equipment purchases. Will they disclose the fact the local John Deere supplier billed Underwood’s hay baler part directly to his Precinct?  Will they admit the part description was altered to slip it on the agenda? Or will they instead concoct a reason to blame the 80-year old County Auditor (who’s up for retirement) and shuffle them both off into the sunset with their pensions? Everything will be back to normal unless Underwood, who is still employed, decides not to go voluntarily when his election comes up. Nonetheless, it will all go away soon with the help of the local Rangers, with minimum explanation, minimum local reporting, and zero exposure or closure.

Who fires the bookkeeper during a Texas Rangers investigation unless it is agreed to keep county billing off the record?

Nothing to see here folks, keep it moving and believe someone up for retirement (who had nothing to do with the fraud) made a tiny mistake…a little oversight that happens all the time, just not worth prosecuting, that’s all. We’re out of here.

Cherokee County residents are not supposed to care how their property taxes are spent or if commissioners use their positions to establish credit lines around town. And they damn sure aren’t supposed to be talking about it on the phones being tapped that keep these people in office. Imagine if previous Pct. 3 Commissioner Katherine Pinotti had “mistakenly” placed a personal item on the agenda for payment consideration.

County Government Civics 101 

It is Chris Davis’ elected responsibility to monitor the county’s expenses and keep Commissioners’ family tractor parts from being paid for by taxpayers and OFF THE CONSENT AGENDA. County Judges are the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the county who authorize payment of the bills; County Auditors are the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who record the transactions. L. H. Crockett’s job over the years is to act as a checks-and-balance by monitoring the county’s adopted budget. After the Texas Rangers conclude their “investigation” of the Cherokee County Commissioners’ Court, guess which one will be up for retirement and scapegoated. Guess which one will be shuffled off so local news can bury the controversy? Who gets to keep their job this time?

Is County Judge Chris Davis up for “retirement?”

From The 2016 Guide to Texas Laws for County Officials 

The main duty of a County Judge is to serve as the chief purchasing officer presiding over the Commissioners’ Court in counties with less than 225,000 residents. Other duties include:

  • overseeing capital and community-based projects;
  • serve as authorized signatory on contracts and agreements for the County;
  • propose and adopt the County budget for each fiscal year.

The County Auditor in Texas has oversight of all financial books and records of all officers of the County and is charged with administering the budget. Other duties include:

  • auditing the financial records of various County departments;
  • appropriation of tax funds to pay the County bills including payroll. [Source: county.org]

Cherokee County Government 101

Precinct 4 Commissioner Byron Underwood is under Texas Ranger investigation because a fellow commissioner spoke out about his $800 hay baler part being included for payment during the July 24 consent to pay agenda. In fact it was the first item on the list. L.H. Crockett did not attend the recorded commissioners’ court meeting, yet they hope you are stupid enough to believe that he is somehow responsible. He may even be willing to fall on the sword for them in order to enjoy his retirement and his standing in the beloved little community. (Source: Jacksonville Progress)

That’s how Texas Ranger investigations into Cherokee County corruption usually end up and lifetime county employees martyr themselves, with pensions and health benefits included.

Remember in 2011 when the Cherokee County Auditor admitted that Commissioners’ Court borrowed $500,000 in illegal lease-purchase equipment loans? (Source: Cherokee County admits to borrowing almost $500K in illegal loans- KTRE) That public admission was not enough for heads to roll, yet you are to believe justice will be served over an $800 personal expense.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, TX (KTRE) –
For years, Cherokee County officials say they were buying equipment with illegal loans. County Auditor L. H. Crockett says they are now doing whatever they can to fix the high dollar mistake.

Texas statute does not give counties the authority to borrow money, but that’s exactly how some commissioners, and even the sheriff, were paying for tractors, mac trucks, even patrol cars.

The loans totaled almost $500,000.00. About $115,000 will be paid off immediately by transferring money from reserve budgets. The county is working with banks to refinance the rest through lease-purchase agreements.

“Recently a couple of our commissioners went to a seminar. During the course one of the speakers mentioned that counties could not merely borrow money. They came back and one of them went to see our county attorney… He dug into it and called it to my attention,” said Crockett.

Lease-purchase agreements are allowed since the lender owns the merchandise until it’s completely paid for.

The county auditor says the rates being offered so far are actually better than they had with the regular bank loans. (KTRE– June 16, 2011)

(KETK)

Advertisements

Written by Cherokee County, Texas

08/03/2017 at 6:30 PM