“No elected official can ever bind the county in a contract without approval,” Tuttle said. “That’s a big no-no.”
The commissioner criticized Mascorro’s “process.”
“Did we need (the pickups)? Yes, we did. Did we get a good price? Yes, we did... It’s the process that was done,” Tuttle said.
When the budget was being penned Tuttle said the animal control budget came up and the judge said no changes so the purchase came as a surprise.
Judge Rene Mascorro redirected $37,000 left over from various county offices’ budgets in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30 to pay for two pickup trucks for animal control, which falls under the judge’s supervision, according to the commissioners.
Tuttle said he believed the surplus money was going to replenish county reserves, not to purchase pickups.
Last Tuesday, Mascorro was absent from the meeting so the commissioners tabled any action on 30 line-item transfers and called a meeting on Friday to sort things out. However, the judge was a no-show at Friday’s meeting as well.
Commissioners Bourland, Tuttle and Bernal said they had no idea where the judge was.
Bourland presided over Tuesday’s and Friday’s meetings.
Tuttle also said he talked with former animal control officer Jeb Bauer who said one of the pickups was in pretty good shape.
“We just spent $1,300 on it and it would have lasted a little longer,” Tuttle said.
The commissioner said buying two pickups at the same time is a bad idea because they will wear out about the same time, forcing the county to buy two at a time.
The auditor, Margie Mueller also weighed in, saying the 2013 year’s budget is so tight, money for the pickups would not have been available.
All the line-item transfers were approved by the commissioners.
The commissioners also approved the county salary schedule. The salaries range from approximately $75,000 for the county judge; $53,000 for elected officials; $48,000 for commissioners; $43,000 for the elderly services director; $36,000 for chief deputies; and $31,000 for deputies.