Personal tractor parts on Commissioner's Agenda

(Courtesy: KETK)

It was widely reported in August 2017 that the Texas Rangers were called in to investigate Pct. 4 Commissioner Byron Underwood's personal John Deere invoice that mysteriously showed up on the County budget request. Instead of publicly bringing the case to some sort of resolution, locals have decided to let the controversy float on indefinitely to keep taxpayers in the dark.

As a distraction, they have shuffled off their 80-year old County Auditor into retirement (who had nothing to do with setting the agenda) and their Jacksonville newspaper has provided free advertisement for the Farm and Tractor dealership whose John Deere invoices have come under scrutiny.

(Courtesy: KETK)

Remember, you are paying these people's salaries.

One would think an open-ended case would be an albatross hanging around the Pct. 4 Commissioner's neck. However, this is Cherokee County folks; secrets and innuendo run amok here because reporters take their publishing orders from the district attorney. Good Ol' Boys simply don't prosecute each other. And in this case, there may not be anything to prosecute. Which makes it more bizarre that Underwood has not been publicly exonerated and the controversial agenda item put to rest.

Rusk City Manager Mike Murray was cleared of wrongdoing in the Jacksonville Progress last year after being accused of illegal wiretapping. Murray and his accusers (the Rusk Police Chief and his Lieutenant) were told to Zip It, pack it up and retire after the phone tapping became public. County Judge Craig Fletcher was also retired in 2013 after the Texas Rangers investigated him for forging Bascom Bentley's signature "by permission" on a district court sex offender order.

There is no public record of whatever happened to veteran Deputy Don Williams after the Rangers visited him last year over misconduct, because Sheriff James Campbell refused to release any information. (Source: CBS 19) Taxpayers don't need to know the conclusions of Texas Rangers investigations, they just need to keep paying over-inflated property taxes and keep their mouths shut.

Pct. 4 Commissioner Byron Underwood explains county raises, circa 2016. (Courtesy: KETK)

To date, all Commissioners are reported as present despite the County GOP censuring Underwood for "attempting to have the County taxpayers pay for items for his own personal use and in a dollar amount constituting a felony if charged and convicted.” (Source: Bullard News 8/8/2017)
Obviously the Pct. 4 Commissioner will not be charged for what he claims is a mistake placing his $800 boom axe on the July 24 agenda. The ongoing problem is the lack of transparency in this particular Commissioners' Court and the local lap dog media buckling under pressure to keep the public in the dark.

"Cherokee Co. taxpayers up in arms over newly proposed budget."(Courtesy: KETK)

Concerned Cherokee County taxpayers remain upset at the proposed $21 million 2016 budget that included raises for county employees and a 9.2% salary increase commissioners wanted for themselves. (Source: KETK)  But they shouldn't hold their breath. No one can expect any accountability for an altered tractor invoice going through multiple hands before landing on the County Judge's desk.

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