City Commissioner Cesar de Leon unhesitatingly says: "I will definitely quit this board as soon as it's functioning correctly."
Commissioners Tetreau and Portillo echo that sentiment. All three commissioners realize that it's actually inappropriate for this board of 5 to be dominated by 3 city commissioners. The whole concept of separating so-called 4A and 4B funds from the general fund was to remove politics from those projects. Yet, there is this distinct impression in Brownsville that these two boards, the GBIC and the BCIC, steer, guide and gift taxpayer monies into the hands of individuals, companies and even charities controlled by certain major players in the city.
|City Commissioner Cesar de Leon|
De Leon hinted as the board exited for an executive session that if Nena and I could stay around he wanted to show us the finer points of the GBIC contract with BEDC he'd discovered.
After executive session, the meeting resumed with board president Jessica Tetreau calling for City Auditor Arvin Tucker, Elizabeth Rodriquez and "someone in accounting from UT-RGV" to be named to the performance committee.
|City Commissioner Deborah Portillo|
Later, as De Leon shared points from the service contract with us after the meeting, Commissioner Portillo added from over his shoulder: "Tell them the BCIC will be included in this audit."
An interesting exchange had occurred earlier, following the reading of the GBIC financial report, not by City Finance Director Lupe Granado, but by an underling sent in his place. At last months GBIC meeting, Commissioner Tetreau questioned an undefined $417,000 expense. Before Granado could explain, BEDC President Jason Hilts interupted: "Oh, that's for trade shows and marketing."
The commissioners were not happy with that explanation and asked for a more detailed accounting. With Granado a no-show and his assistant unfamiliar with the expenditure, Tetreau again raised the question. The staffer promised more information would be forthcoming.
"Next month or in a few days?" asked board member David Betancourt. The staffer promised he would get the information "in a few days."
"The times, they are a-changing."
Please note: Last month we reported Deborah Portillo was selected GBIC Vice-President. That is incorrect. Jessica Tetreau was named President, Cesar de Leon, Vice-President and John Cowen, Secretary.