Hutto Citizens Group Points Out Hypocrisy of Williamson County Elected Officials

Posted in Commentary, Election 2008, Had Enough Yet?, Landfill, Williamson County at 4:30 pm by wcnews

In a full-page ad, Williamson County’s position on the pending landfill contract doesn’t pass the smell test, in the Austin American Statesman on Friday, the Hutto Citizens Group took Williamson County elected officials to task for breaking campaign promises relating to property rights, open government, fairness and integrity.

County Judge Dan Gattis:

In his campaign for county judge in 2006, Judge Dan Gattis stated The Gattis Pledge, which included these points: Protect private property rights. Conduct all county business in the open. Treat everyone with fairness and integrity. The HCG believes it is very obvious that these promises have been broken by the judge in his leadership position regarding the county landfill issue. (1) Judge Gattis has been reported by media as saying that commissioners court will vote on a new landfill contract before the end of July, but citizens will only be able to review that contract over a weekend instead of a 30-day period, as requested by the Hutto Citizens Group. (2)

Precinct 2 Precinct 2 Commissioner Cynthia Long:

In her 2006 campaign for Precinct 2 commissioner, Cynthia Long was quoted by the Hill Country News as saying, “When we attract new employers to Williamson County, we all win. The impact of new businesses on our tax base is a real plus. More businesses mean a more diversified tax base. It also means that residents and current businesses arent the sole taxpayers in the county.” This statement also is consistent with statements she made in her campaign literature. (5)

Precinct 4 Commissioner Ron Morrison:

In his 2006 campaign for Precinct 4 commissioner, Ron Morrison made this statement on his website: I will listen to your needs and provide 1st class county services to meet them. I will represent ALL of Precinct 4. (7) While Commissioner Morrison has taken the time to talk with members of the HCG about the landfill, those discussions have resulted in no conclusions and did not resolve any major issues. Commissioner Morrison is strongly urged to represent his precinct and become an active, public advocate for the positions citizens in his precinct have taken on the landfill. He should speak out promptly.

Precinct 1, and up for reelection, Commissioner Lisa Birkman:

After her swearing-in ceremony in 2004, Precinct 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman was quoted by the EyeOnWilliamson.com website (That’s .org, but at least they’re reading EOW) as saying that the new commissioners court should move away from the handshake deal process associated with previous courts. She also has taken positions directly responsive to county citizens on other issues such as a billboard and amphitheater, but she won’t do so on the landfill. This inconsistency requires an explanation. (8)

Their final paragraph is great.

The only solid evidence proving that a political deal has not been cut would be for commissioners court members to square with their campaign promises, open up the contract review process, and talk with us about the serious issues we have tried to discuss with them for several months with no success. Its clear that county officials have been less than forthright with county taxpayers. The firewall should be removed in the interest of open and transparent county government.

It’s been said many times here, but as long as our elected officials in Williamson County feel there will be no consequences for their actions, no matter how despicable, things like this will continue to happen. Until a few of these people get voted out of office and some accountability, via two-party county government, and American-style checks and balances are put in place, it’s guaranteed the people’s opinions will be ignored by our elected officials, except during campaign season.

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