The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Magnolia, January 14 – Among the emergency service districts in Montgomery County, few suffer from the long term corruption of Emergency Service District #10 (ESD10). The entire Board of Directors of ESD10 suffers from political appointments by Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley.
The ESD10 Board members simply don’t do their jobs. Rather, they merely bask in their political appointments and the emoluments they enjoy along with their political status.
In the wake of the revelations by The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, regarding the financial corruption and sex scandal involving the Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department (MVFD), the entire Board of Directors of the ESD10 resigned two days later in March of 2021. Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley, who appointed the entire Board, has a duty of oversight of the finances and operations of ESD10 but never showed the slightest remorse for his failure to do his job.
This newspaper broke the story about the financial improprieties and sex scandal involving former MVFD Fire Chief Gary Vincent on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Please see “Sex, Diamonds, Misuse of Public Funds Sink Magnolia VFD Into Abyss of Treachery Under Terminated Chief Vincent, The Golden Hammer, March 2, 2021, https://thegoldenhammer.net/sex-diamonds-misuse-of-public-funds-sink-magnolia-vfd-into-abyss-of-treachery-under-terminated-chief-vincent/
Additional research and reports from within the beleaguered ESD10 resulted in this newspaper’s report on Thursday, March 4, 2021, tying the wrongdoing to a complete failure in oversight by the ESD10 Board of Directors as well as Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley. Please see “Riley, Gage Must Bear Blame for Magnolia VFD Sex Scandal,” The Golden Hammer, March 4, 2021, https://thegoldenhammer.net/riley-gage-must-bear-blame-for-magnolia-vfd-sex-scandal/
The ESD10 Board consisted of Bob Buschardt, Chairman, former Montgomery County Sheriff and Riley sycophant Tommy Gage, Assistant Treasurer, Johnny Bryant, Secretary, Scot Wall, Vice President, and Tate Robinson, Treasurer. All five Board members are close political associates and supporters of Riley.
Rather than addressing the problems with ESD10, Riley appointed another group of his close political supporters to the troubled taxing entity. The Board now consists of Larry Smith, Charles McDonald, Kelly Violette, Heath Schultz, and Jeffrey Cunningham. Riley appointed all of them on March 9, 2021.
The new ESD10 Board has continued the corruption of the previous Board, as a recent presentation by Buck Carraway has brought to light. Carraway is a highly-respected Magnolia area businessman and served on the ESD10 Board himself in the past. Carraway, however, didn’t last long on the ESD10 Board, because he worked from the inside to challenge the corruption.
Carraway spoke to the ESD10 Board on December 23, 2021. His comments follow in their entirety:
“Good afternoon Commissioners and Happy Festivus Day.
“My name is Buck Carraway and I am a former ESD10 commissioner from a few years ago.“First I would like to personally thank you all for your community service, and I appreciate the magnitude of the responsibility each of you have accepted.“During my tenure on this board I witnessed many glaring issues. The level of complacency and corruption was deep seeded throughout the prior administration and after nearly 2 years of beating my head against the wall I decided to spend my energy on more productive things.“I am here today to implore you all, as steward of millions of our tax dollars, to keep digging deeper to resolve the still apparent issues.“General Counsel
I ask you to deeply review your current General Counsel, Mr. John Peeler. I am not accusing him of corruption but seriously questioning if he is looking out for our best interests or his. I discussed many of the issues I was seeing with him for a while, until it became clear he was reporting back to the prior Chief and ESD President the issues I was asking questions which allowed the administration to cover things up even deeper. I have severe reservations about his morality and performance.“Fire ChiefI do not know Chief Heavey and can’t speak upon his credentials or performance, and I might be misinformed, but from my understanding he was recommended by our General Council, Mr. Peeler. And, if that’s true, then my perception is we just replaced a corrupt chief with a potentially comprised chief.“Through my confidential personal relationships that I have with many members/employees of ESD10 & Magnolia Volunteer Fire Department, I’m gathering that we have not rooted out the cancer that’s killing the culture, but, in fact, the cancer is spreading again.“BudgetI implore you to do a true zero based budget from the ground up with justifications. It is sickening that the prior budgetary process was to get an estimated income from property and sales tax and then just adjust the budget to fit. Then, as the year progresses just move money around to different accounts or apply the payment to whichever account was riding under budget.“Financial ReportsI ask that you also review our accounting group. I had a difficult time following the reporting. I know things will be clearer once the fire department is under direct control of the ESD, but overall as an experienced business executive, I couldn’t receive basic financial reports such as a balance sheet or an income statement, and detailed analysis was out of the question.“Board MembersOnce again I sincerely appreciate all of you. But, if you ever become complacent or feeling disenfranchised, do not become a rubber stamper, but please step down and welcome new blood to the board. Currently these are appointed positions, but I have it on my agenda to meet with out local state representatives and senators to urge legislative changes to make these positions elected and with term limits.“Thank you for your time today. If any of you would care to hear more historical background information from a prior Commissioner, prior MVFD board member, prior certified firefighter and current citizen and taxpayer, I will gladly oblige.”