Commissioners Court Split On Surplus Property - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/26/04 - Smith County

Commissioners Court Split On Surplus Property

Smith County Commissioners Monday voted 3-2 to spend $25,000 on a forensic accountant to look into the handling of some surplus property by the Smith County Sheriff's Department. They soon learned that motion would not go through because it takes a majority vote by Commissioners to make it happen.

Commissioners Sharon Emmert and Frank Sawyer voted for the motion, Commissioners Jo Ann Hampton and Don Pinkerton voted against it. County Judge Becky Dempsey voted for it, but it was learned that her vote would not count.

The Commissioners Court has been pushing for answers into the surplus property since November. That's when questions came up as to whether an agreement to house prisoners for the federal government was a good deal for the county. Surplus property is part of that agreement.

Sheriff J.B. Smith said the program is beneficial, but some of what they get is junk. He said he was never required to keep track of what they disposed of. Commissioners say he should be able to account for those things, and may be violating the law by not doing so.

An investigation by the Texas Rangers this summer led to no charges and a review by the Texas Attorney General's office last week brought about no additional action. Monday's decision means further action in this matter is on hold.

County Judge Becky Dempsey said despite that, she plans to keep the issue on the court's agenda.

Chris Gibson, reporting
cgibson@kltv.com

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