in Houston, Texas
Cameron commissioners to learn about missing child support funds
Tuesday, Aug 14, 2012, 12:15PM CST
By Mike Cronin
Moneybags

As much as $10,000 in child support collected by the Cameron County District Clerk’s Office is missing and officials want to know what happened to it, The Brownsville Herald is reporting today.

County commissioners have scheduled a closed-door meeting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday to discuss the investigation, according to the meeting agenda.

After discovering the missing money, Aurora de la Garza, district clerk for the past 32 years, told the newspaper she reported the missing funds to the proper authority.

She declined to provide details of the matter, calling it a personnel issue.

Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos and Commissioner Ernie L. Hernandez Jr. were peeved not being told about the missing child support money sooner.

“It seems that the bloggers hear about it before we do,” Cascos told the Herald.

Cascos and Hernandez are expected to learn something about the investigation by County Auditor Martha Galarza during Thursday’s closed hearing.

***

Contact Mike Cronin at mike@texaswatchdog.org or 713-228-2850. Follow him on Twitter at @michaelccronin or @texaswatchdog.
Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feed in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, NewsVine and tumblr.

Photo of Moneybags by flickr user .inKenzo. evonne@amoration, used via a Creative Commons license.

Number of fired Texas DPS employees a cause for joy or suspiciously low?
Monday, Jul 23, 2012, 11:56AM CST
By Mark Lisheron
dps

The Texas Department of Public Safety has fired 37 law enforcement officers and employees since 2010 for all sorts of naughty, intemperate and illegal behavior on the job, a Houston Chronicle study found.

When it came to following the law for these three dozen and one, the department’s initials, DPS, stood for “depends.”

But before scudding off into Mark Twain’s lies, damned lies and statistics territory, Lt. Col. David Baker, the DPS deputy director for law enforcement, wants you to know he thinks 37 or, .42 percent of the 8,832 still employed by the department, isn’t too bad.

Not that he’s excusing sexual harassment, drug possession and domestic violence.

In 2011, 2,003 highway patrol officers made 2.6 million traffic stops, filed 26,909 charges of driving while intoxicated and arrested 15,653 people on the most serious charges, murder, rape and robbery, Baker says.

During that time the public filed 365 complaints against all DPS employees and against less than 1 percent of DPS troopers. Of those, 75 complaints were upheld, 43 of them against 40 highway patrol officers.

The complaint ratio, Baker told the Chronicle, made him jump up and down for joy.

Jim Harrington, of the Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin, jumped up and down, too, on top of the statistics sheets. He called the disciplinary actions "shockingly low," and questioned whether the DPS was scrubbing or concealing violations.

Harrington’s suggestions seem positively shocking in light of  the department’s recent record of deploying taxpayer money to protect Gov. Rick Perry while he ran a while for president and its $63 million program to shorten our daylong outings to renew our driver’s licenses.

***
Contact Mark Lisheron at 512-299-2318 or mark@texaswatchdog.org or on Twitter at @marktxwatchdog.

Keep up with all the latest news from Texas Watchdog. Fan our page on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Scribd, and fan us on YouTube. Join our network on de.licio.us, and put our RSS feeds in your newsreader. We're also on MySpace, Digg, FriendFeed, and tumblr.

Photo of Texas DPS building by flickr user d4vidbruce, used via a Creative Commons license.

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