Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tarrant County Karma Catch Up

Seems folks are starting to ask questions about the way things are done in Tarrant County government offices. Keep asking. The lights are coming on, let the dominoes fall where they may.

It is dated 5 weeks after the May 24, 2012 meeting. So if changes were made to the project, why didn't the county put the job back out for bid or why wasn't there a change order to the original contract?

"That sounds like a pretty major change in the scope of the work?" questioned Becky Oliver.

"On a job this size, that is pretty significant," said Howard. "Most times an actual formal document is prepared and issued, yes."

Records show Howard was also paid another $5,775.00 for a slab added to a private driveway. The driveway raises more questions about work on private property and whether the county is following proper procedures.

"I don't have any control over what goes on inside the county," said Howard. "All I know is that I did my job and I did not do anything wrong."

Last month, Fox 4 reported on another questionable project in Precinct 1.

Fox 4 watched county crews working all day to take down a fence on private property. Commissioner Roy Brooks told Fox 4 it was a recommendation from the Tarrant County District Attorney's office.
"Before we undertook the project, we cleared it with the district attorney's office, they cleared it," said Brooks.

Later Brooks admitted the DA's approval was for another project involving trees but not a fence.

"It borders on the absurd," said David Brooks, an expert on county government.

David Brooks told Fox 4 he did not believe the county could use tax dollars to remove a fence on private property.

Emails show the fence job was set up after the ranch manager contacted supervisor T.C. Webster and asked for the county to consider assisting with fence removal.

"Is this just another example of what is going on in that office?" Oliver asked the former employee.

"Most definitely," said the source. "I don't want my job back. I don't hate the people but what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Knowing how bold they are, never being questioned, never being held responsible for their actions."

When government contracts are involved, there are checks and balances in place to help control fraud and ensure taxpayers are getting their money's worth. The documents from this road project have been turned over to law enforcement outside the county. Tarrant County officials are expected to turn over the results of their investigations to commissioners on Tuesday.

A press release was sent to Fox 4 on Monday. The release came from a firm that says it does strategic political communication consulting. The release says Commissioner Brooks is pleased with the project reviews and adds his office will be implementing the auditor's recommendations immediately. Fox 4 asked the county's spokesman why Commissioner Brooks was responding to a third party about the report. The spokesman said he knew nothing about the news release.

Read more: Investigation - Tarrant County Concrete

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