There is too much to address what is going on in Ellis County in this initial response. To be brief, since I took office, I have a smaller staff, I’m spending less money, all while doing more than ever before for the county’s citizens. I publish semi-annual newsletters to inform citizens what I am working on and publish them on the Treasury website.
In all I do, I hold myself accountable to the people, and I also attempt to hold commissioners and department heads accountable to the people. They do not like that. I work for the people, and am not part of the cliquish and nepotistic clan that has for so long ran this county, and who most importantly do not like an outsider who asks questions. That is what this is about, and this is why the commission is questioning my budget. This is why three people are running against me in 2020: two wives of current county employees, and one father of a department head. With nepotism, there are personal reasons to keep quiet when things are done that no one wants to answer questions about, questions I wanted to ask Thursday but was prevented from addressing.
The things they brought up about my budget are deflectors, to get the people to “ask questions about what commissioners asked about” with the aim to distract from the real questions. They did not want me to speak, to bring up facts. The right question for people to ask here is not what is off in my budget, because there is nothing.
I gave budget documents to the local press over a month ago for them to examine. I posted my budget on the Treasury website and published it in a newsletter all the commissioners received in the mail. My budget was early, not late. Why do the commissioners accuse me of being late when I was early?
My budget is $515,000, lower than the budget before I joined Ellis County, which was $576,000. When I came to the county, I cut over 10% of the budget and surrendered a $130,000 surplus in capital budget. That equates to a 31% cut in my budget that has remained nearly steady since I took office. I spent $487,000 my first year, $491,000 my second year, and am asking for $515,000 this year. It is fiscally sound.
As for “advertising” as a line item, that is state mandated for all Treasuries, and has been for decades. It is simply a regular listing of delinquent taxpayers and I am required to publish that list and pay the local media whatever price they charge based on space filled in the publication. The commissioners sought to imply I used “advertising” funds to pay for my newsletter, which there would be no fault in doing by the way, but I did not, and they were caught in a lie, and so tried to save face by implying they had real questions about my advertising. Why the commissioners pretended not to know what an advertising line item is in the Treasury budget… that is the question to ask. One man has been a commissioner for over a decade and approved this item in the past.
The commissioners also mentioned other offices, however, no other offices’ budgets have been decreased by the commissioners. “Let us control you, bend to our wills, and we will give you the money,” is the message commissioners send to department heads and elected officials in Ellis County. The commissioners do not like me because they cannot control me. All they can do, since my record speaks for itself, is attack me and create doubt among the citizens. If one of the commissioners won’t allow me to justify and explain my budget, and correct him when his facts aren’t straight, if I can’t do this without being told to shut up, without being removed, how do you think our discussions off camera have went?
These commissioners don’t like facts. These three individuals do not control the office of the Treasurer. The commissioners office exists to serve the public. It does not exist to settle a personal score, or to give a personal ego a political platform. It does not exist so that an individual or group of individuals can fabricate an appearance to mislead the public.
I will continue doing my job, delivering my budget ahead of deadline as I always have, saving money, generating revenue, and responsibly managing the taxpayer dollars with excellence and transparency.
Ellis County Treasurer