May 21, 2024
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Ron Hankins, Somervell County Hospital District president, picking his teeth during meeting.

I am grateful that the SCHD puts up video from their meetings, which they record for every one, on their youtube channel, so that those members of the public who cannot otherwise attend can still hear what is said. The meetings for February and March had not been uploaded, but after I asked, Sharla Wilson, the very professional open meetings admin for SCHD, made sure they were posted.

However, I was surprised to see, again, that the board members .(Listed board members – Ron Hankins, Margaret Drake, Steven Vacek, Mary Collier, Tracy Byers, Max Bly, Joe Cathey) had meals, Chicken Express boxes, in from of them at their meeting of March 26, 2024 and chowed down during the meeting.

Posted about this before, on January 9 2024 “Somervell County Hospital District Moochers Eat at Board Meetings on YOUR dime” in which the board members were regularly buying lunch for themselves and then expensing it; thus, WE the taxpayers were paying for those meals. (At the same time as that last accounting of over $1300 spent for meals, the board went over to commissioners court to try to take away the Somervell County EMS service already established and paid for by county taxes which included Michael Honea trying to tell Somervell County how their budget should be , Somervell County is its own taxing entity separate from the Somervell County Hospital District taxes-so Glen Rose Medical Center had money to spend for food but not for getting their own ambulance service). Did we, the taxpayers, pick up this cost of this meal again? Going to find out, but in the meantime enjoy some screen snapshots of board members gobbling down food, picking their teeth, and enjoy chewing chicken cud a second time DURING THE MEETING.

Update: from open records. Max Bly, the board member wearing a tan sweater in the photo below, decided to personally pay for the meal, called up Sharla Wilson by phone to see how many people would be attending the meeting and provided the meals. The District does not have a policy or procedure for meals at a public board meeting. Keep in mind two things: One is that they do not have to have a meeting at lunch time.

Vacek

Why in the world is this public service board meeting an appropriate place to be bringing in food and eating? IF somehow this is something they didn’t pay for, it sure looks coordinated in some fashion, since presumably, an order was taken by somebody for presumably what specifically each member wanted included in his or her Chicken Express; actually a generic order for everybody I believe would show they did not themselves pay for it. If they paid for it, did someone before the meeting pass the hat to get the money or did, again, the taxpayers pay for this? Also, even if they paid for it themselves, which I doubt but am happy to be wrong about with proof, why are they eating at the meeting? Is this the only way to get the board members to attend at lunchtime, ie, with a promise that they will be fed? (Side note that in the past, the board meetings were in the evening where probably more citizens could attend if they wanted)

Every other board meeting I can think of does not feed the elected members, but instead the people, eat breakfast or dinner first, or go out afterwards for lunch. (I do remember hearing on the GRISD board meeting from 2 months ago,, the board president thanking someone for some treats being brought in that were most likely a gift from a citizen, but presumably they were not gobbling down those treats at the meeting) And what of the members of the public that might attend- how rude to eat in front of others at an OPEN meeting.


Margaret Drake
Max Bly getting his chicken express box from the back counter after the meeting started

Max Bly still eating

I don’t see them picking up their trash after the meeting, maybe they did, but more likely they left it for somebody else to clean up.

End of the board meeting- who cleans up the trash these board members left?

And, if they actually ARE eating AGAIN on the taxpayers dime, what does that say about how fiscally responsible these rude people are?

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