County gives up appeal in landfill case

Posted in Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Commissioners Court, County Judge, Had Enough Yet?, Hutto, Landfill, Precinct 4, Williamson County at 11:12 pm by wcnews

It’s hard to figure out what to say anymore about the landfill issue. It’s obvious that the WCGOP Williamson County Commissioners Court (WCCC) has no interest in stopping the landfill contract to go through. They’ve had many opportunities to change course and fix this contract, but have done everything they can to make sure that this deal continues, as is. Today the WCCC has decided to get it done now, County votes not to appeal landfill contract ruling.

Williamson County commissioners today instructed its attorneys not to appeal the trial court decision on the validity of the county’s contract with Waste Management of Texas to operate a landfill north of Hutto.


“All attorneys, all outside and those working in this office, to a person recommended not appealing,” County Judge Dan A. Gattis said after today’s meeting. “Carnes made the best possible ruling, and an appeal would be ineffective.”

The county’s lawyers, the lawyers the county hired, and the Judge Carnes - an elected judge in Williamson County - all decided that what the corporation, Waste Management, Inc. (WMI) wants, is what the taxpayers will get. It’s hard to believe a bunch of lawyers can agree, must be quite a bit riding on this contract going through.

The article also mentions that the only member of the WCGOP’s WCCC to vote against this decision was Precinct 4 commissioner Ron Morrison. Morrison is, incidentally, up for reelection in 2010, and it’s also in this precinct where the landfill resides. This kind of shenanaigans has been the M.O. of the WCGOP WCCC for some time now. Allow the commissioner in which the “problem” exists to vote against the problem, so they can have political cover come election time. The Hutto Citizens Group, in it’s press release regarding today’s vote puts it much nicer, Three Commissioners Renege [.pdf]:

Over several months prior to Tuesday’s vote, Pct. 1 Commissioner Lisa Birkman, Pct. 2
Commissioner Cynthia Long and Pct. 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey have said they viewed Morrison as the point man on landfill issues and intended to follow his leadership.

“It’s a very distressing development,” said Jeff Maurice, chairman of the Landfill Committee for
the HCG. “After many agonizing months of working with Commissioner Morrison regarding landfill decisions that are in the public interest, we now have three commissioners breaking their pledges to support him as he works to resolve this huge problem in the middle of his precinct.”

Steven Salfelder, president of the HCG, said the votes cast by Birkman, Long and Covey
demand immediate explanations. “This apparently fickle turning of the worm by these three
commissioners has left Commissioner Morrison high and dry in his attempts to solve this years-long problem,” Salfelder said. “These commissioners on whom he thought he could count apparently have abandoned him.”

According to Maurice, the peculiar vote might amount to more than meets the eye. “Even
worse than having these three commissioners flip over on their positions would be some kind of backroom deal in which there is an agreement to give Morrison political cover with a wink and a nod while the majority overrules him,” Maurice said. “If that’s true, it would be terribly distressing.”

Maurice continued, “If this vote is not a backroom deal, and Morrison is taking this position as
a sincere and genuine statement of his view, he needs to make it unquestionably clear that he expects Birkman, Covey and Long to make good on their promises and not participate in political crawfishing.”


“With landfill decisions involving the contract and permit now coming to a head, all citizens
should truly hope this shift is not the beginning of a trend to do exactly what Judge Gattis wants while giving Morrison valuable political protection,” Maurice said. “At this point, this matter has to be addressed, and that involves nothing less than having Birkman, Long and Covey explain why they have reneged on their promises.”

Much nicer. More than likely this was the plan all along. Obviously that’s how the WCGOP WCCC operates, and will continue to operate. Especially after returning all it’s current members to the court they see no reason to change. Accountability didn’t come in November to the WCCC. So more of the same, tone deaf county government is all we will get for at least two more years.

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