Friday, February 20, 2009

To Whom, for What? - Dan Tarwater Resists Local Oversight but Spends a Quarter Million Dollars - Day 75 of the Jackson County Ethics Blackout

A quarter million dollars is a lot of money. In a time of tight budgets and taxpayer suffering, a Jackson County politician ought to be as open and transparent as possible when proposing to spend a quarter million dollars of tax money. Such a massive investment deserves a little fanfare, right?

Not in Jackson County world.

Here's an agenda item on the legislative calendar for Monday's meeting, quoted in its entirety:
AN ORDINANCE appropriating $255,410.00 from the fund balance of the 2009 Anti-Drug Sales Tax Fund and authorizing the County Executive to execute agreements with certain outside agencies which engage in anti-drug prevention activities for the purpose of preventing illegal drug use and drug-related offenses, at an aggregate cost to the County not to exceed $1,715,067.00.
As my father would have said, "Clear as mud, but it covers the ground."

Good citizens with adequate computer skills are able to dig a little deeper and gain access to the ordinance itself, but it's a pointless exercise. Who is the money going to? The ordinance identifies them only as "certain outside agencies engaged in anti-drug prevention activities". What will they do for the money? It's not really stated, but the most clear statement we get is that they will "engage in anti-drug prevention activities for the purpose of preventing illegal drug use and drug-related offenses." What does that even mean?

(As an aside, I hope that the money would be spend FOR drug prevention activities, not for "anti-drug prevention activities".)

Why the secrecy? Why the coded talk of "certain outside agencies", instead of saying who's getting how much for what?

More ominously, this coded quarter million dollar transaction is sponsored by none other than Dan Tarwater, one of the defenders of the exemption of Jackson County legislators from the Jackson County Ethics Code, and the only member of the Jackson County Anti-Drug Committee without a rap sheet for financial misdeeds. Who's profiting, and how are they connected?

Jackson County taxpayers have every right to be suspicious. When the same people siphoning huge contracts to secret parties are the same people who refuse to accept local ethics oversight, they haven't earned the benefit of the doubt.

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Blogger Capt. Geoffrey Spaulding said...

Maybe some of that money is being used to actually drug-test the politicians themselves.

Nah...that'd be ETHICAL...

2/20/2009 8:34 AM  
Anonymous Sick of Calvin's Kickbacks said...

How much you wanna bet that Calvin Williford cashes in on some of that lug?

He could bill it back like this: "Consulting Services to make law enforcement more effective, and life a whole lot better, and to keep my bookie happy."

2/20/2009 9:39 AM  

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