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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez Despoils Christmas and her Badge

It's interesting to see how Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez prioritizes, manages a massive budget, and understands the real mission of her position. I say that sarcastically.

With all the crime, logistics problems, administrative problems, jail-space issues, and her constant cry for more funding, Lupe Valdez has been working incredibly hard of late.......on planning a lunch for 2300+ country deputies, jailers, administrative personnel, and others.

She decided to order from Dickey's Barbecue $19,197 worth of food....the money coming from the department's discretionary fund!

She claims she chose Dickey's Barbecue because her employee's "like to eat there". Isn't it an interesting coincidence that county money was paying for this and who is the County Commissioner? Maurine Dickey, whose family owns the Dickey's Barbecue chain!

To her credit, Ms. Dickey cancelled the contract for the meal, even though much of the food had already been prepared and her family would lose thousands of dollars. She very rightly thought that the very expensive luncheon could raise ethical questions. I applaud Ms. Dickey for taking this action. Lupe Valdez, on the other hand, gets no applause and should be condemned.

Sheriff Valdez had apparently been working on a way to reward her staff for some time and came up with the near-$20,000 luncheon. What Sheriff Valdez SHOULD have been working on were ways to improve the performance of her department and herself. $16,000 could have hired one or two part-time staffers or bought new equipment for her deputies and jailers.

And if after all that "hard thinking", she couldn't come up with a better way to spend her discretionary fund, she should has returned the money to the County Treasurer. Why does she even HAVE a discretionary fund? What arrogance to blithely use the Taxpayer's hard-earned money to buy LUNCH for her staff???!!!! Valdez told the Dallas Morning News that she
"had been planning the holiday meal for some time to to thank her hardworking troops in the five jails and the patrol division."

Is that what Dallas County Taxpayer's give her a salary for: to tie up large amounts of time she should be spending on executing her position instead to be planning a luncheon......with tax money? How about at least attempting to do the job she was hired for! And it was just a coincidence that the ONLY restaurant she could find that would take her money was owned by the family of the County Commissioner?

The story gets worse. Once word was published of her incredibly stupid plan, Valdez said she would pay for it out of her own pocket. That must be some nice salary we're paying her if she can pull $19K out of her pocket to pay for lunch. She must be the highest paid event planner in Dallas.

But no, with absolutely NO intent of buying or appearing to buy influence with Valdez or the County, local developer Dan Tomlin of Tomlin Investments called Valdez's office to say he was kicking in $17,000. Others kicked in the balance.

Valdez responded by saying (get this) "This wonderful generosity is in the best tradition of the holiday season. These sponsors recognize the services that the Sheriff's Department provides to the people of Dallas."

To recap, we have Lupe Valdez raiding the discretionary fund of almost $20,000 in taxpayer's dollars, to buy ONE LUNCH for her entire department.....that's a real morale booster. She orders the meal from the family of the County Commissioner who would to have ultimately approved the expense. When that fails, she takes money from a Real Estate Developer (THEY never have to appear before the County Commissioners on zoning issues and the like, do they?) which saves Valdez from paying the almost $20,000 herself and saves the Dickey's family thousands of dollars in spoiled food. And then she has the NERVE to say that this blatant payoff is in "the BEST TRADITION OF THE HOLIDAY SEASON"???????????

Do you know what would have been in the best tradition of the holiday season, Ms.Valdez? If your staff DONATED $20,000 to the local food banks and homeless shelters. It's tough times for a lot of folks in Dallas right now.....they NEED the food, not your employed, well-benefited, and paid staff. They could have easily kicked in the $9.50 per plate cost without even missing it. Or better still, you could have whipped out that $20,000 you keep in your back pocket and donated that to the poor. THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN IN THE BEST TRADITION OF THE CHRISTMAS SEASON!!!!!!

Sheriff Valdez went on in describing the payoff; I'm sorry, donation from the sponsors: "These sponsors recognize the services that the Sheriff's Department provides to the people of Dallas." Well guess what, Lupe, the Sheriff's Department gets recognized every two weeks for providing service to the people of Dallas: THEY GET PAID! Or didn't you know that it's your departments job and mission to provide service to the people of Dallas? YOUR job is make that service better every year and more cost efficient every year.

Kudo's to Ms. Dickey for killing the county money buying the lunch. What you should do next, Ms. Dickey, is use some of the Sheriff's discretionary money to do a COMPLETE audit of the Sheriff's department's books and budget. Looks to me like there's a lot of waste going on and the taxpayer's money could better be spent in other departments......or funding a search team for a NEW Sheriff who UNDERSTANDS her role.

The taxpayers and people of Dallas owe her and her bloated staff NOTHING more than the salary and benefits they receive. That's what we hired them for. That's the way civilian employees are treated. Or ask the people of the former CompUSA and other companies like them what kind of Christmas they'll be celebrating this year. Welcome to the real world, Sheriff. Get off your high horse and walk in the muck for a change.

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1 comment:

MarcChamot said...

That's crazy 20,000 grand in taxpayer money. They are right, that money could be better spent on improving deputies salaries to feeding the needy or even saving taxpayers their money...

Mrs. Unloadingzone

Mrs. Unloadingzone
"The Girl of my Dreams"