Posts by Christine Welborn

Fort Worth ISD Board Ditches Ethics for Cash

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The Fort Worth Independent School District (FWISD) Board had an ethics policy with teeth, but it didn’t last long.  It appears board officials just couldn’t miss out on the opportunity to potentially cash in on the massive $750 Million school bond.

The school board adopted a strong ethics policy in April of this year, but abruptly ditched it a few months later in August. Conveniently for elected officials, this alarming change was made only six days before the board voted to put a $750 million bond package on the November ballot.

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Three Strikes for Tarrant County

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Tarrant County officials would like taxpayers to think they have had a run of bad luck with their audits. The truth is there is clearly a culture of disregard for the law in the offices of those that are sworn to uphold it.

Tarrant County Auditor, Renee Tidwell, has reported yet another failing grade to the Tarrant County Commissioners Court. The latest black mark on the County record was the August audit of Constable Michael Campbell, Precinct 8.

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Kaufman’s Costly and Illegal Scandal- Part 3

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For Part 1, click HERE. For Part 2, click HERE.

Kaufman County Judge Bruce Wood, along with District Attorney Erleigh Wiley, have gone unchecked for years and have cost the county dearly.  The ticketing scandal we’ve previously reported on is even worse than it appears on the surface.

In 2014, Kaufman County entered into a contract with American Traffic Solutions that caused the county to act outside its legal authority – issuing illegal traffic citations to its citizens – and imposed a significant cost to county taxpayers. The unlawful contract also resulted in illegal financial transactions and a lack of transparency.

By championing the ATS contract, Wood violated the public trust. By failing to blow the whistle on the entire scandal, or investigate any wrongdoing by those involved, Wiley is derelict in her duty to Kaufman taxpayers.

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Kaufman’s Costly and Illegal Scandal – Part 2

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For Part 1, click HERE.

County Judge Bruce Wood led Kaufman County into a costly contract with American Traffic Solutions (ATS) for traffic cameras. The contract resulted in illegal overreaches of authority in addition to costs over $180,000.

Traffic Cameras Were Unnecessary

Kaufman, like most other rural counties, has five law enforcement agencies to patrol its roads and enforce traffic laws. Each school zone is protected by local school police, city police, constables, deputy sheriffs, and the highway patrol. Not only was the ticketing contract with ATS unlawful, it would have added a redundant sixth layer of law enforcement.

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Kaufman’s Costly and Illegal Scandal – Part 1

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Following the public pushback over red light cameras across Texas, camera companies, such as American Traffic Solutions (ATS), have turned their attention to counties, rather than cities. Shockingly, several counties engaged these firms in clear violation of state law.

The problem with ATS’s strategy was that the governments they sought to engage do not have the authority to issue civil penalties to enforce local ordinances. Cities are given that authority in the Local Government Code (LGC); that power does not extend to counties. Every civil citation issued to local residents by Kaufman County under the ATS contract was illegal. (LGC 54.012 & 54.044)

ATS targeted rural counties such as Kaufman, Smith, and Hays, appealing to money-hungry County Judges who would support traffic-camera contracts designed to help bolster their revenue. As is often the case in local government, they relied upon complicit District Attorneys and incompetent county lawyers to rubber stamp unlawful contracts.

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