More about the 1.4 Million Dollar no-bid contract.
So it did not seem right to me so I did some checking.
This is the court minutes for this sweet little deal. (Link)
Note Commissioner Mashek asked Larry Lynch if he was OK with this. Lynch is the same guy fined by the Texas Ethics Commission. Who voted for this? Ray Meadows, Joe Mashek, Lester Gibson, Kelly Snell and Jim Lewis.
What was in the contract? (Link) A $1.48 million dollar contract to install video visitation equipment at the new video visitation center.
(Link) Note the part about "delays involved in generating revenue" and "GTL would not agree to a new facility specific recoupment". The only one involved in this who saw the writing on the wall was GTL. Also note the part that reads "reduce the commission revenue actually RECEIVED by the County" that will be important later.
(Link) The confirmation that this was in fact a no-bid contract came from the Purchasing Agent in response to a public information act request.
So Mr. Bass says the agreement does not involve "County Funds".
What about this Budget Amendment Request? (Link) This document is an amendment to the County Budget. The County Budget involves County Funds. That makes perfect sense does it not?
The first thing you do with a budget amendment is check the accounts. To check the account, you have to use the Fund, Department and Account to see what was budgeted.
There is much ambiguity about contingency accounts. A contingency is funds in reserve for emergency or unforseen expenses.
Interestingly, the budget is supposed to reflect operational costs and budget amendments are supposed to be used only for unforseen or unexpected expenses.
The executive summary indicates "reduce the commission revenue actually RECEIVED by the County". If the County never receives the money why is the County allocating funds to pay the debt?
It should also be noted that in 2009, Jim Lewis was the Chief Budget Officer even though the law prohibited him from being the CBO around 2007.
So lets look at the 2009 budget:(Link)
OUCH! The budget amount shows $800K and the budget amendment shows a balance of $470K. Seems like a bunch of contingencies. About $330K worth of contingencies. Remember Jim Lewis was CBO.
So that answers where the money came from, where did the money go? That is always the burning question that is frequently more difficult to answer. (Link)
OOPS.. No budget line items for account 751121 or 752121 in the listed department. It will show up the next year since the no-bid contract was approved mid-year. Right? (Link)
Ok, at least it is reflected in the 2010 budget. That made me feel better until I saw this.. (Link)
The same day Commissioners approved the budget amendment above, they approved this one. That is almost 1.3 Million taxpayer dollars. Was this money put into the account that paid the debt on the no-bid contract? No that money came from "contingencies" this money was put in an account titled "Mach & Equipment NOC". That struck me as a little funny. Why would you use contingencies to pay debt instead of the "revenue" designated for that purpose.
Also note that the debt was $1.4M and revenue was $1.2M.
The Purchasing Agent says it's not "County Funds" so why not retire the debt?
For a little more informaiton on where the $1.2M came from..(Link)
The reality is the county makes an obscene amount of money off the poor folks who are unfortunate enough to have a loved one locked up. Don't think for a minute the inmates are paying this.
(Link) The FY2010 Budget showing projected revenue. Notice the absence of the $1.2M listed in the budget amendment. Where did the money go? It is not listed here.
In FY2011, the whole line item disappears. (Link)