14 February 2010 at 1:52:28 PM
Some reasons why I would not vote for Mike Ford to be judge. I would say, incidentally, the same thing if Mike Ford was a Democrat. (And, of course, he did vote Democrat before he switched to be Republican). If any of the current slate of candidates for judge had this shoe fit, that person would be crossed off my list as I consider who would be the best person.
Mike Ford doesn\'t have an unpleasant personality. But I believe he does not have good attention to detail or followup skills. I think a judge needs to have those.
- Mike Ford is the county commissioner liason for the Somervell County Technology Committee, which is also comprised of the department heads at the county office. He has touted recently as a feature his plans, heading, as commissioner liason, the committee, for a website that is in flux, at both the Republican Meet the Candidates meeting and in the Glen Rose Reporter newspaper, especially that he would have open records on the county website. However, the existing website at Glenrose.org was NOT complaint with open records law. And he apparently didn\'t notice. And even today, when I went to look for updated election information on the county website, the information was WRONG and doesn\'t contain current and correct candidate information. Where does the buck stop? With Mike Ford, here\'s why. He chose to take on the technology committee, rather than the other commissioners or judge, and as such, he is also the person to monitor the IT Department, whose employees report TO the county commissioners. But he didn\'t ensure compliance with the law on the existing website nor did he do any kind of followup to make sure other critical information, such as about the elections, were correct. SOMEBODY needs to do that, right? SOMEBODY needed to make sure that the IT Department updated information FOR the county residents as a priority. That SOMEBODY that didn\'t do that was Mike Ford.
- Made the motion and voted for 14.5 milion dollar certificate of oblgation for funding the expansion to (at the time), the Glen Rose Medical Foundation dba Glen Rose Medical Center, which was a private foundation which leased the property and equipment from Somervell County for one dollar per year. Rushed through the vote even though a public hearing had not yet been held. (You can listen to the entire audio from March 3 2008 here; I have also made a short Get-To-The-Gist recording here.-about 5 minutes or so long) Note that Judge Maynard asks why even have a public hearing if you\'re not going to wait till at least the public weighs in? And said that he thought no action was going to be taken at this meeting. But Ford didn\'t feel the same,apparently, about the public he supposedly serves.
- Didn\'t understand that the 14.5 million was a loan to Glen Rose Medical Foundation, even though the money technically stayed with the county
- Endorsed the Hospital District which was voted against by a majority of the voters
- Had the Hospital District passed, it would have had its own tax rate, including the 3.5 cent tax that was previously for indigent care. One might reasonably assume that taxpayers in Somervell County would then have that tax returned to them. Nope. You can listen to a longer discussion about that 3.5 cents from the town hall meeting on January 9, 2008. -Go to about 30:53 in.
- Started, filed, and was executive director of the Roger E Marks Foundation when he ran for commissioner, even though clearly that has at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. Why? Because at that time the Glen Rose Medical Foundation was a private entity that contracted with Somervell County. Purpose of Roger E Marks Foundation. I noticed in May 2009 that the Foundation records were finally fixed. At best, Mr Ford was perhaps careless about his filings as executive director-these are judicial qualities?
- Did not press for an audit, this despite the fact that $1 million dollars came up short in the Glen Rose Medical Center books, only rectified through a HRSA earmark grant that Chet Edwards supplied. Update to be precise about this. The money referred to about coming up short was money that was supposed to be set aside strictly for repayment to Somervell County but was apparently used by the Foundation to cover operaing expenses losses. Here was Walter Maynard talking about this at a later meeting. And I am conflating the HRSA grant monies-at a hospital board meeting, the auditor showed that the hospital is in the black due, at least in part, to the HRSA grant At any rate, no matter what, I agree with Charley Thomas that an operational audit needs to be performed.
- Made the resolution for Mike Dooley to go to Vegas. Mike Dooley is not an employee of Somervell County nor elected, but instead runs a company that contracts with Somervell County. Why are we paying for him to go to Vegas and why did Mike Ford make that motion?
- I\'m not going to hunt this down now and in fact, at the time, I thought it was another instance of not enough legwork and research first, but didn\'t write about it. And that was Mike Ford putting for a resolution for a prescription card that turned out to be a bad idea. He had to reverse himself at a meeting about a month later and was greatly embarrassed. I wondered at the time if he even looked at the vendor\'s website. In my vague memory, I think it was a CVS/Caremark card associated with some governmental entity.
- Used county property and his title as commissioner to solicit funds for private organizations.
- Can you trust him to work for you? When we did an email request through open records, he said he was no longer going to be our commissioner. Why? Because we asked him, politely, questions? And suggested that we believed that he should recuse himself from votes on the hospital while he was also on the board of the Roger Marks foundation? Easy to tell your constituents to find somebody else because you don\'t like being questioned about activities that look improper? And easy to try to impugn the person asking questions by calling them conspiracy theorists. If he doesn\'t like something YOU ask him about what he\'s doing, will he resort to name calling as well? And tell you "I won\'t be your judge anymore?" P.S. He didn\'t even understand his own role (he was executive director!) in the Roger E Marks Foundation. In the email he said.
The Marks Foundation does fully support the efforts of Glen Rose Medical Center - nothing indicates that the Marks Foundation in any way endorses or would provide any assistance to the Glen Rose Medical Foundation.
BUT... this was from the Texas Secretary of State\'s website in 2009. (Remember that at that point the Glen Rose Medical Center was a dba for the Glen Rose Medical Foundation). And, we got this in the mail in 2009.
In sum, while I haven\'t made a final decision about who I\'m voting for, I know for whom I am not. I\'m going to look for a person who has attention to detail, doesn\'t rush items through for a vote without even a public hearing first, and who follows up on plans he has made.
certificate of obligation
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