Tony Riker from the Texas Municipal Police Association was asked by the Somervell County Sheriff's Office Association to come do a presentation to the Somervell County Commissioners Court on 5/9/2022 specifically about how there are salaries paid within the Sheriff's department that are markedly lower than what other counties pay, and that there is a danger of losing professional employees to areas that pay equitably. Astonishingly, Mr. Riker was treated with arguments from, primarily, Judge Danny Chambers, as well as insulted and *judge-splained* to. This is besides the fact that the discussions brought up by Chambers and Tammy Ray were about the budget process, which was NOT on the agenda. Who knew as a citizen they would be treated to a rude argument that included telling Mr. Riker that he needed to
- 1. Come do his presentation prepared to say what other departments should trim their budget
- 2. Be the expert on how the Sheriff's department is run
- 3. Be told he needed to get explanations from others.
- 4. Be asked, despite the fact he introduced himself as being from Frisco, whether he was a lobbyist OR if he was from Austin.
- 5. Be told he shouldn't be coming with his *hands out*.
Ugh. As Mr Riker repeatedly told Chambers, his presentation was to inform and bring up the problem of some employees getting low pay for a job others in the state of Texas get paid significantly more for. Since it was a presentation and NOT a budget hearing, it was not Riker's job nor, clearly, his intention, to beg for money or tell other departments to cut back for these salary jumps. He did mention that because Somervell County has a huge surplus of money, other govt areas have used that to give their sheriff's departments raises. Chambers whole attitude made it sound like he was giving the back of the hand to the employees.
Whose responsibility is it to decide to cut one department's budget versus another's? Is it the responsibility of the department who wants additional money for, say, equitable raises in line with other government entities across Texas, or is it the responsibility of the elected officials who represent the citizens? Certainly there is a budget process every year in which each department in Somervell County has already looked at their own expenses and presents their, hopefully carefully thought out and researched, budget during the budget meetings that typically occur in. It is NOT the job of a department who is not controlling the budget to oversee somebody else's and decide what should be cut. That is the JOB of the commissioners, as presided over by Judge Danny Chambers to do. Instead, Chambers shows that what he wants is for others to do work FOR him and the commissioners, bring solutions to them. As Riker said "So what you're saying is you want us to do y'all's work for you". Chambers even tries to draw Rikers into a discussion about what other departments should do to come up with this money!!!!! Chambers "So you do not have a recommendation at this point to help me find the money". The funny (?) part is that Chambers already knows that these people are underpaid. Riker" It's not our job to do your work for you".
It is also, incidentally, Judge Chambers or whoever is preparing the agenda, to clearly set out WHAT the agenda item represents so that citizens can go if they want to hear the presentation and/or discussion, as it may impact them. The agenda item does NOT say that this is a presentation about some salaries in the sheriff's department nor does it have Mr. Tony Riker as the presenter. Do you think you would know from THIS what this item was about? Nope. Let's hope Chambers didn't do that on purpose, to keep it quiet from the public. Also, why the fool was all this stuff which properly belonged in an item on the agenda called Discuss the budget, or better, part of the Budget Hearing meetings coming up soon.
In fact, Jeff Harris, county commissioner, Precinct 1, was the smartest one on the dais because he said "I agree with everything you're saying ... I feel like, at this point, we're going to have to have this conversation with the budget process". Now, the new county attorney, Trey Brown, (seen on photo at left in front of Mr Harris, attending this meeting) whose job it is to enforce the Texas Open Meetings Act, said nothing when all this was going on. Neither did the other commissioners speak up to say that this was not a hearing on the budget, and Tammy Ray went farther to argue about what Mr Riker would do about other departments that also want raises, etc. In other words, if it was going to be an agenda item that dealt not merely with a presentation but also involved discussion on the budget process with all departments and salaries in general, that should have said so. It did not, and it was rude of Chambers to interrupt and challenge Riker instead of just saying "Thank you, we will be taking this up at the budget hearing. Appreciate your input".
The full video, sans Riker's introduction, was recorded by someone in the audience at the commissioners meeting (might have to turn the sound up a bit), I have made a chop of the video to take out some of the repetitiveness, as well as extraneous information spouted by Chambers which should rightly have been in a budget meeting. First minute or so is from audio, recorded by the Somervell County Commissioners Court, of Riker introducing himself and then goes into edited video. Note that Riker says he is from Frisco; when Chambers asked him if he was a lobbyist or from Austin, did he not hear where Riker was from or was he wanting to subtly make some kind of comment to make Riker feel like an outsider or challenge his information? Certainly Chambers used his argumentativeness to tell Riker that to get information from other people, and worst of all, insinuated that Riker was there with his *hand out*- I saw Riker gulp on the video. Go count how much Chambers wants to argue with Riker on this video, again, it's just astonishing how unprofessional Chambers is. One more example of hubris is when Chambers tells Ray "Let's don't argue, we got a court reporter here", pointing to whoever was recording this video. Do as I say, not as I do.