Amarillo, TX - Some Curry County Commissioners are under fire as residents accuse them of handling business behind closed doors without the public's best interest.
Public minutes documenting a bond proposal and payment of more than $70,000 to First American Financial Advisors, Inc., seem to have been misplaced. Curry County Commissioner, Chet Spear, is new to the board this year, and is questioning veteran commissioners where these records have gone.
However, it appears nobody knows.
Spear said according to law, the county's financial adviser, Robert Burpo, can only earn around $24,000 per fiscal year from Curry County.
"During the July meeting I specifically asked Mr. Burpo how much he was being paid by Curry County in the last year,' Spear said. "If you recall, Mr. Burpo stated $24,000 less than 10 percent of gross receipt taxes. I then asked 'Total?,' meaning the total amount paid. He shook his head in an affirmative answer and said 'uh huh.'"
However, records indicate this isn't the case, and more than $70,000 was paid to Burpo.
"We want to know who authorized it, not that he got it," Steve Gershon, a Curry County resident, said. "He got it and didn't say he had it. But the thing is, somebody in our County Commissioners or the County Manger had to authorize that $70,000 to go out, and they are not stepping forward and saying 'Yes I authorized' or 'No I didn't authorize' or 'Why it was authorized?'"
The money given to Burpo is collected from taxpayers, which is why residents believe they deserve answers.
In Wednesday's meeting, two very important commissioners were missing, which called for the board to table the issue until a further date, leaving residents without an answer.
Community activist, Josefita Griego said when she addressed the board with her issues, her minutes were removed from record, as if they were trying to silence her.
"Why are my minutes not as important as their minutes," Griego said. "And I just feel that they are trying to shut me up, as well as the people that I have coming with me to the meetings. After I spoke on Aug. 4, they have condensed the actual public input. You were able to speak at the beginning of the public input and at the end. Now you only get one opportunity and that's at the end. Sometimes these last 4 hours."
Griego accused the board of also moving meetings from the evening to 9 a.m. so fewer people would be able to make it.
Residents said Wednesday's meeting was a great example of how some commissioner's are sweeping the issues under the rug.