El Pasoans have no shortage of scandals involving public officials or public employees.
Take these three recent reports from the El Paso Times:
- Nearly a dozen El Paso area residents, including several officials, led by former El Paso County Judge Luther Jones, stand accused of kickbacks and bribes in a scheme to secure a health care contract.
- Fourteen former El Paso City police officers who have been indicted on charges of tampering with documents that allowed them to falsely claim they worked overtime shifts.
- And former El Paso Independent School District Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia pleaded guilty in mid-June to cheating on student test scores and steering a contract to one of his lovers. More details are expected in this case that involves EPISD skirting state law on an internal audit. Investigators say there are six unnamed co-conspirators who helped the district cheat.
But not to be outdone, Socorro City Council members provided fireworks of their own on Thursday. Socorro is a city of about 30,000 just to the southeast of El Paso, and also shares a border with Mexico.
Earlier this week the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation of three council representatives and a city police sergeant regarding reimbursements they sought from the city.
The events of the week spilled into Thursday’s City Council meeting. For example, Times reporter Daniel Borunda chronicled how council members bickered even over mundane matters.
From the El Paso Times:
Bickering over even minor matters during a meeting on Thursday showed a clearly divided Socorro City Council that has three members under investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
The investigation comes as the council is sharply split into two factions, which turned a regular government meeting into confrontation on almost everything.
Council members interrupted each other and spoke over each other, and accusations flew furiously during Thursday's meeting.
Whatever El Pasoans call this, it doesn't appear to be the best government for their money.
Contact Curt Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-557-3800. Follow him on Twitter @olson_curt.
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Photo of handcuffs by flickr user .v1ctor., used via a Creative Commons license.