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GALVESTON COUNTY TAXPAYERS DESERVE ACCOUNTABILITY

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This past summer, Galveston County was the victim of a scam that led to the wrongful payment of over $525,000 of hard-earned taxpayer dollars. (See the story on KHOU.com.) Commissioners Court hired an outside fraud examiner to do a complete analysis on not just how this happened, but why it happened. Earlier this month, the Commissioners Court received the final report and analysis. The report specifically stated that “a department or individual cannot be held accountable for noncompliance with processes that may not have been properly designed or that did not exist.” The report continued, “a lack of understanding/training of these types of attacks, a lack of vendor information establishment/change validation processes and a lack of understanding as to which office/department had the responsibility for validation of vendor information…contributed to the accomplishment of the attack.” In other words, the fraud examiner’s report didn’t blame one single department or employee because the CONTINUED ON PG 7 lack of policies, procedures, and training in all departments involved contributed to the theft. The individuals in charge of the departments that did not have the procedures, policies, and training in place were County Auditor Randall Rice and County Purchasing Agent Rufus Crowder – both appointed officials who are responsible to and answer to boards primarily made up of state district judges. To date no one has been fired, no one has been reprimanded, and no one has been held accountable. As your County Judge, I find this completely unacceptable and do not agree with this idea that since all the departments involved had culpability, then we can find nobody at fault or accountable. I believe in fiscal responsibility and that is why yesterday in Commissioners Court, I called for the resignation or termination of Galveston County Auditor Randall Rice and Galveston County Purchasing Agent Rufus Crowder. [Watch my Statement in Commissioners Court at : https://www.facebook.com/JudgeMarkHenry ] It is abundantly clear based on the facts and evidence that the lack of policies, procedures and training in their respective offices are directly responsible for the loss of over $525,000 in taxpayer money. To not have any clear policies or procedures in place on how to change vendor payments is a clear dereliction of duty. This is 2018 and electronic payments have been common business practice for well over a decade. These two officials should have had protections in place far before this attack ever occurred. Neither of them report to Commissioners Court and unfortunately, all we can do is ask the boards that oversee these departments to do the right thing and vote to terminate them immediately. The elected officials of this County were elected to protect the taxpayers, and now we must call on them to do what they were elected to do and fire the individuals responsible for losing over half a million in tax dollars. Therefore, I call on the public to contact the boards in charge of these men and demand that they be held accountable and restore faith in the leadership of our county financial system. A list of the each board and the elected officials along with their contact information is listed below. Note: I am one of the 5 members on the County Purchasing Board and will be asking for a meeting so I can cast the first vote to terminate the County Purchasing Agent, Rufus Crowder. However, such action will require a total of 3 votes.

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