Thursday, March 05, 2009

Cozy Cash Committees Closely Controlled - Day 87 of the Jackson County Ethics Blackout

Why are the "Big Money" Committees on the Jackson County Legislature controlled by only 5 legislators?

Why are 3 legislators (Theresa Garza Ruiz, Greg Grounds, and Fred Arbanas), excluded from the three committees (Anti-Drug, Finance & Audit, and Budget) that have the most financial influence on Jackson County (Anti-Drug, Finance & Audit, and Budget)?

Dan Tarwater serves on all three of the Big Money Committees. Theresa Garza Ruiz serves on none.

James Tindall (convicted of income tax evasion) serves on two of the Big Money Committees (Budget and Anti-Drug). Greg Grounds serves on none.

Henry Rizzo (convicted of providing false information to a financial institution) serves on two of the Big Money Committees (Budget and Anti-Drug). Fred Arbanas serves on none.

It can't be based on experience, because Fred Arbanas has been on the County Legislature since it started.

It can't be based on knowledge, because Theresa Garza Ruiz is completing a Master's Degree in Public Administration with an emphasis on Government Business Relations and Public Management.

It can't be based on qualifications, because Greg Grounds has over three decades of government and business experience, including a stint on the Jackson County COMBAT Commission.

It can't be based on public trust, since two of the Financial Five (controlling 4 of the seven seats on the Budget and Anti-Drug committees) have criminal records for financial improprieties, while none of the other three have rap sheets.

It just doesn't make sense. Any auditor knows "there is safety in numbers", meaning that you should have as many people as possible involved in oversight of financial matters - a rule that would apply with special force where some of individuals involved have been caught and convicted of financial improprieties.

At the same time this bizarre and unsettling committee structure was being set up, the Jackson County Legislature decided (in violation of the Charter) that it should not have to answer to the Jackson County Ethics Commission anymore.

Why does the Jackson County Legislature oppose Ethical Home Rule? Is there Big Money involved?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If there was a violation of the charter shouldn't a lawsuit be filed or at least a complaint made with the state police or another law enforcement agency?

3/05/2009 10:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dan - great questions! I doubt we will get an answer, however. But keep up the pressure. How about coming on my show to talk about the lege and their ethical challenges sometime - and what it's like to blog in flyover country? Does anyone care? I wonder, too.
KC Media Watchdog

3/05/2009 11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who has standing to sue the Jackson County Legislature for violating the charter?

3/05/2009 7:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All committee appointments are made by the Chair of the Legislature. In this case that is Mr. Scott Burnett. Dan you should be asking Scott why he didn't give Ms. Garza a chance to use her considerable skills and talents on the COMBAT or Finance Committees.

3/05/2009 10:56 PM  
Anonymous DRAFT DIANA IN 10 said...

Diana Kander will do a much better job.

3/06/2009 6:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much money did the County pay to Albert Riederer to "investigate" the Blue Twp Water and Sewer authority? He took the money but never issued a public report. It is interesting to note that Scott Burnett is best buddies with Albert Riederer.

3/06/2009 7:05 AM  

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