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Channel 11 is reporting on $30,000 worth of trips taken by Collin County elected and appointed officials. Mentioned are 2 trips taken to review CourtSmart courtroom recording equipment - one to Florida, and one to Las Vegas. The report lists examples of waste and luxury.
Channel 11 is also reporting on a $2,200 spent on a trip to Florida for a negotiating class charged to the taxpayers by Commissioner Hoagland. (The commissioners do not negotiate, the staff does.)
Before we all forget, in 2003 and 2004, the McKinney Courier Gazette ran a series of articles and editorials detailing Jerry Hoagland's abuse of the county's travel and training budget. In 2003-2004, Hoagland charged the taxpayers over $37,000 for travel and training...far, far out pacing his fellow commissioners. Also in 2003, Hoagland billed the county taxpayers over $8,000 in training, including "self-help" classes on public speaking.
The Channel 11 video is here
Report: County Officials Taking Trips On Your $
Reporting, Bennett Cunningham
COLLIN COUNTY (CBS 11 News) ―
Some call it offensive and outrageous.
Taxpayer funded junkets for judges and elected officials are paid for out of the county checkbook with no oversight.
A CBS11 investigation of Collin County records shows taxpayers paid for more than a dozen officials to take a trip to Orlando and Tampa for three days.
The group consisted of Collin County judges, clerks, commissioners and administrative staff. They went there to tour a courthouse, and some attended a court technology conference.
The price tag was roughly $20,000.
Some taxpayers, like Harry Kepner, question whether the people he trusts spend his money wisely. "I'm paying their salary," he said. "Unfortunately, I cannot control what they do."
CBS11 unearthed records showing some of these officials rented three top-of-the-line luxury cars, some costing $400 a week. They returned one car near empty. They were charged $7.19 per gallon of gas.
Some charged taxpayers for valet parking and room service. Others feasted on lobster at the Kobe Japanese Steak House in Tampa and filet mignon at Tampa's legendary Bern's Steakhouse. Taxpayers even paid for their chewing gum.
Michael Q. Sullivan, President of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, said, "Someone has to cry foul. Someone should lose their job over this. I think [these] are the worst kind of junkets, because they are purporting to benefit the taxpayer, and it's nothing more than an additional paid vacation."
Plano Star Courier article 2/15/08 - Vegas trip has commissioners mulling reimbursement cap
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