Open Government Project
A Government Watchdog Group
State of Texas
City of Galveston
Public Interest Groups
GHA: Travel and Entertainment Expenses?
by David Stanowski
28 November 2011
There are Whistleblowers inside the GHA! They tell us very interesting things about the Commissioners and the staff.
Recently, one Whistleblower told us to "look at the travel and entertainment expenses of the Commissioners". It was unclear what they wanted us to find; we were only told that there were expenditures that would outrage the people paying the bills; i.e. the taxpayers!
Now that we have examined the records, it is not clear whether any of the expenditures were "improper" or "excessive". In fact, many entries on the receipts raise more questions instead of adding any clarity to the issue at hand.
Our Open Records Request asked for the travel and entertainment expenses of the five Commissioners, between 01 January 2011 and 28 October 2011, so we must assume that all the documents sent to us in response listed items that the Commissioners themselves purchased on GHA credit cards, or they show items that they paid for with their own credit cards and then they were reimbursed for these expenses.
We were surprised to see many items listed that could be legitimate expenses for GHA operations, but would normally be purchased by the staff, not the Commissioners. So one very basic question is why are some of the Commissioners purchasing these items.
For example, some Commissioners seem to be purchasing office supplies, and various types of equipment. It is our understanding that the Commissioners do not have offices that need supplies. Why would they be buying equipment? Why are they buying flowers?
Some purchases are completely inexplicable like "Texas Poker Supply $449.67".
There are thousands of dollars of expenditures at local restaurants and retail outlets. Are there any guidelines or rules at GHA governing acceptable "entertainment expenditures"?
They also paid for at least one airline ticket for Mayor Jaworski who is not a voting member of the Board. Is this an acceptable use of GHA funds?
Part of the Mission of the GOGP is to promote government transparency, so we have posted all of the documents showing expenditures by GHA Commissioners in the hopes that the people of this city will examine the records and draw their own conclusions about the actions of the Mayor's hand-picked Board.
We have listed just a few of the items that we do not understand in the hopes that our readers will let us know what they think about the way this Board is spending money. What do these documents say to you?
Representative questions from Paula Neff's expenses:
Go to Paula Neff's Documents:
The Capital Grille $212.55 (notice the individual food charges)
McCallisters Deli $177.00
AB Sign $373.00
EAH Spray Equipment $1025.00
Meeting with Commissioners.
Is this an un-posted meeting?
School Outfitters $2344.02
Representative questions from James Dennis' expenses:
Go to James Dennis' Documents:
Texas Poker Supply $449.67
Modern Office $2574.00
Capital Q BBQ $297.00
McCallisters Deli $148.30
Go to Betty Massey's Documents:
Go to Tom LaRue's Documents:
Go to Teresa Banuelos' Documents:
Representative questions from unidentified Commissioners' expenses:
Go to Documents listing expenses from unidentified Commissioners:
McCallisters Deli $103.63
McCallisters Deli $707.00
Earth Creations Landscaping - multiple
HD Supply $675.45
HD Supply $250.96
Oriental Trading $188.99
Tates Frame Shop $44.97
Tour de Tents $780.00
United Parts $626.16
203 Barnett $2339.00
Hobby Lobby $503.84