Who do Collin County officials think theyâ€™re fooling anyway? Apparently, everyone.
Michael Sullivan was on CBS 11 in Dallas/Fort Worth
this week, interviewed as part of an investigation
Â into questionable travel by elected officials. This is
why local governments are fighting hard to stop
transparency efforts. We have to fight back!
More than a dozen officials took a trip to Orlando
and Tampa for three days to tour a courthouse and
â€œsomeâ€ (that means not all) attended a court technology
conference. Sounds good? Hereâ€™s the rub: a $20,000
spending spree, all taken directly from the tax payerâ€™s
Valet parking, luxury cars, lobster, and fancy hotel suites are only a few of the burdens that taxpayers bore from these officials as they frittered away hard earned money. The only defense: elected officials have the â€œdiscretionâ€ to take trips â€œas they deem necessaryâ€ and costs in that area are listed as â€œreasonable and justifiableâ€ with no limit, says County Judge Keith Self â€“ who doesnâ€™t like these free spending ways. Sounds like a blank check to me.
A simple priceline.com search quotes the per-person cost of a three night stay in Tampa (including round trip flight, hotel, and even a rental car) at $319, for a grand total of $2552. This price is for 4 rooms and 8 adult passengers (the maximum allowed). Do the math. As for food, the last time I checked, McDonalds had a dollar menu. But then again, they donâ€™t sell lobster.
If William Shatner, the â€œPriceline Negotiatorâ€, only knew what these spend-o-holics were up to. Apparently they set their phasers to â€œspendâ€.