Commissioner questions lack of invoice for services
by Tim Delaney
Aug 30, 2014 | 1644 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
REFUGIO – When county commissioners reviewed bills Monday, Aug. 26, Commissioner Stanley Tuttle questioned why some bills were not shown on the reports.

In question was a $12,000 check to Carlos Truan Jr. that was not on the report.

However, the $12,000 was part of a 12-month contract approved by the court on Jan. 14 to pay Truan $46,000 as a lobbyist in Austin representing Refugio County.

Truan was to use his expertise to capture some of the Legislature’s 2015 funds going to water projects, roads and economic development – all because of the Eagle Ford Shale.

“It was not a budgeted item,” Tuttle said. He said the court should have met to talk about where the money would come from.

At the time, Auditor Margie Mueller said she had money in her auditor’s budget that could be used to hire Truan. The money would cover an initial quarterly payment.

“I think we as a court should have talked about how to pay for it,” Tuttle said.

County Judge Rene Mascorro pointed out that the court approved the contract, noting that the bill already had been approved for payment in January.

Absent from that January meeting were commissioners Ann Lopez and Gary Bourland. The contract was approved on a vote of 2-1 with Tuttle voting against and Mascorro and Commissioner Rod Bernal voting for.

Also at the January meeting, County Attorney Todd Steele had asked for more time to review the contract with Truan.

Despite that request, the contract was approved on Truan’s advice that lobbying work needed to start right away.

“But we have not talked about where the money (to pay for the contract) is going to come from,” Tuttle reiterated.

When the contract was approved in January, it was retro-dated Dec. 1, with an initial $10,000 payment and a $1,000 retainer fee.

That left $36,000 to be paid in quarterly increments.

After Tuesday’s meeting, Mascorro said the remainder of Truan’s contract money was budgeted in the new budget, which starts in October.

In May, the first of the payments for Truan came across in the court cycle of bills, according to Tuttle.

He said the check paid on July 29 has not come across during the past two commissioners court meetings.

In addition, so far, no report has been filed by Truan on his lobbying work or visits back to the commissioners court although in January, Truan said he would be back to meet with officials to see what they wanted.

“He’s never come down,” Tuttle said.

Mascorro said he is meeting with Truan in Austin on Wednesday to touch base and find out the status of Truan’s work.

In other court business, commissioners ordered a Nov. 4 General Election, and approved election administration and judges for the election.

Also, commissioners approved a special Austwell-Tivoli school district bond election.

The court also approved monthly fee reports totalling about $85,000 for revenue in the county coffers. The reports were submitted by the county clerk, district clerk, justice of the peace, Precinct 1, justice of the peace, Precinct 2, sheriff’s office and tax assessor-collector.

Commissioners also approved naming a ranch road Sabino Road off the Goliad Highway.

Kate Campbell said her niece Jeanette Sabino and her father are building a house there and needed an address for 911 purposes and for contractors.

“She needs to have an address. You can’t say (when giving directions) it’s in the middle of a pasture,” Campbell said.

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