To the editor:
The Sunday (Oct. 12) Brownwood Bulletin presented two very interesting articles involving Brown County Sheriff Bobby Grubbs and his opponent, former deputy, now candidate for sheriff, Kim Gilliam. It seems that Gilliam brought allegations to the Bulletin and county commissioners that Grubbs assigned a secretary the use of a county vehicle because the secretary threatened to quit out of frustration at not receiving an additional $100 on top of an already 5 percent raise.
Grubbs denied in a letter to the commissioners that the employee threatened to leave but rather, rationalized that he assigned the vehicle to the employee because she is “transitioning” from secretary to the position of “criminal” (sic) analyst and could possibly be called out to a crime scene.
Seeing nothing wrong, Commissioner Steve Adams indicated that he sided with the sheriff, saying, “Everything I have heard has satisfied me up to this point.” Apparently Grubbs and the commissioner are missing the point. They seem to think the problem is that Grubbs responded to a threat by offering an employee the use of a vehicle. How irrational! The problem is an employee not in a position that calls for a county vehicle is nonetheless issued a one at our expense.
As a Brown County taxpayer, I have a BIG problem with paying unnecessary vehicle expenses. Grubbs admitted that he assigned a person employed as a secretary the use of a county vehicle for a month. Is she even legally covered by our insurance in case of an accident? Will we be liable for any accident? Can the county be sued? Do we have so much money in the budget that we can buy gasoline for all county employees? Why hasn’t the vehicle been sold? Have the commissioners OKed the new crime analyst position?
Traditionally, crime analysts are not called out to crime scenes. They are not assigned take-home vehicles - not even in Harris County, the fourth largest county in America and the largest in Texas. Grubb’s own words describing the position do not even hint at the need for a vehicle: “A criminal (sic) analyst’s duties include preparing detailed background portfolios on suspects and providing links to their associates, and their work can shorten the duration of complex investigations…”
My vote goes to Kim Gilliam.