Conroe, February 2 – J.D. Lambright is the most expensive County Attorney in Texas history.
This Part 2 of a 3-part series in The Golden Hammer addresses two of the many issues that make Lambright the most expensive (and wasteful). In this Part, we discuss his Departmental Budget Explosion and his Ice In the Slime Machine.
Explosive County Attorney Department Budget
The budget of Lambright’s County Attorney Department has exploded during the past three years. When one enters Lambright’s office on the third floor of the Alan Sadler Administration Building at 501 North Thompson Street in Conroe, the citizen observes expensive hand-carved furniture and a pair of state-of-the-art flat-screen televisions in the reception area. The cost to the taxpayers just of Lambright’s reception area upgrades alone easily exceeds $15,000 in wholly unnecessary expenditures. The interior furniture of Lambright’s personal office is also reputed to be of the highest cost and quality, although his secrecy with respect to that aspect of his office prevents citizen observation.
The County Attorney’s Department Budget for Fiscal Year 2015 was $2,660,077. For Fiscal Year 2016, Lambright insisted upon an increase in his Department Budget to $3,152,099. The current Fiscal Year 2017 Budget for Lambright’s County Attorney Office is $3,373,220, a twenty-six point eight percent (26.8%) increase in expenditures in just two years.
The explosive budget growth, which far exceeds most county departments and easily exceeds the growth rate of every federal department in the United States, has not improved the quality of service, as Lambright’s office has a reputation for slow turnaround, secrecy, and terrible handling of county lawsuits and settlements. Lambright usually does not return telephone calls and often does so only after several days. One problem Lambright has created is that he often takes his assistant attorneys off of official projects, so that they can spend substantial quantities of time working on political projects pertaining directly to Lambright’s stature in the community.
The County Auditor’s Office has confirmed that Lambright’s staff has increased by one person between FY 2015 and FY 2017, so the increases reflect changes in salaries and other internal expenditures that do not increase services or the quality thereof. Lambright’s Department has budgeted $500 per year for food.
An expenditure analysis of Lambright’s General Fund reveals that he has spent many tens of thousands of dollars on furniture purchases from The Rustic Mile, Inc., a furniture store outside of Conroe, thousands of dollars at RND Rustics, many thousands more at Clark’s Hardwood, and Workspace Resources.
Ice In the Slime Machine
Every out-of-control governmental entity should have one particular object that symbolizes the craziness more than any other. Not surprisingly, Lambright’s County Attorney’s Department is the precise department which holds that symbol. What is it?
On March 28, 2014, Lambright spent $4,174.00 of public dollars to purchase a 523 pound Scotsman MDT5N25A-1H Touchfree Nugget Ice Machine/Dispenser. The “523 pounds” refers to the amount of ice which it holds and which, you can imagine, greatly enhances the productivity of your county employees as they’re in action for you. The Scotsman MDT5N25A comes with so much more, however. As the nice folks at Food Service Warehouse Restaurant Equipment and Supplies have explained,
“This 523 lb. (Scotsman MDT5N25A-1) Ice machine is designed to work efficiently and effectively. Its slim design is sleek and practical. The longevity will prove this item’s durability. When purchasing an ice machine think about usability. That familiar clinking sound in your favorite beverage, the fresh, crystal-clear cube ice that tumbles into glasses at restaurants, bars and convenience stores around the world. The ice from ice cube makers cools drinks while preserving the flavor of every beverage. 26″Wx221⁄2″Dx41″H, including 6″ adjustable legs. 260 lbs.”
Think about that for a moment. Lambright has used your public dollars to keep an inventory of ice equivalent to fifty-three of those large, 10 pound, bags of ice at his disposal at all times.
You’ll be happy to know that Lambright didn’t just settle for a state-of-the art ice machine. Lambright loves his crystal-clear cubes but he wants so much more. Lambright used your public dollars to purchase a Supera IF-C8F10 Single Water Filter System, along with a replacement cartridge. Therefore, your County Attorney’s single water filter system will never stop operating to make those clear crystal cubes for the members of the “political class” who work behind the closed and locked doors of Lambright’s lobby which hides the tens of thousands of dollars of expensive carpentry, high-quality wallpaper and carpeting, and world-class furniture that are so essential to the operation of Lambright’s law office inside the Sadler Administration Building.
Just remember “that familiar clinking sound” is the sound of your public dollars at work.
Is there slime in the ice machine? With that highly-priced machine at work for your County Attorney, let’s hope not. There is, however, clearly a lot of ice in the slime machine.