Last Monday afternoon, February 24, a special session of the Bowie County Commissioners Court was scheduled to “consider and take action to approve the understanding of services provided by Patillo, Brown, and Hill, LLP, regarding the audit of the basic financial statements Bowie County as of and for the year ended September 30, 2013.” The meeting was scheduled for last Friday, February 28. The following morning (Tuesday), after two commissioners remembered they had to be out of town, the Court was canceled due to a lack of quorum.
I heard about this, and submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all relevant documents and notes. The above summary comes from that.
The accounting firm of Patillo, Brown, and Hill, LLP, sent an “understanding of services” (a detailed contract), dated October 10, 2013, to Bowie County Auditor William Tye. There are places for the signatures of both Judge Sterling Lacy and Tye, agreeing to the terms and authorizing the audit. Tye signed the agreement on November 21, 2013, and apparently returned the document to the accounting firm, because they began work on February 3, 2014.
After the regular session of Commissioners Court last Monday (February 24), Tye gave the document to Judge Lacy for his signature. Lacy, requiring authorization from the Court to enter the contract, asked his administrative assistant, Rachael Cherry, to schedule the special session on Friday. She then contacted at least three of the four commissioners, three being the minimum number for a quorum. At their agreement, Cherry emailed Purchasing Agent Chris Goodsell (who posts all official notices of Commissioners Court) of the special session, using the wording quoted above.
The phrasing for the agenda item for the special session – “the basic financial statements Bowie County as of and for the year ended September 30, 2013” – was taken from the first paragraph of the contract.
The next morning, Commissioners Pat McCoy (in an email at 7:47AM) and Sammy Stone (in an email at 8:47AM) notified Cherry that they would be out of town on the day of the special session and could not attend. At 9:22AM, Goodsell emailed Cherry and asked, “Is agenda ok to post?” At 9:31AM, Cherry responded, “Hold off.”
The county has a long-running relationship with Patillo, Brown, and Hill, LLP, so there is no doubt that the commissioners will authorize Judge Lacy to sign the contract.
I obtained a copy of the contract as part of the FOIA request; I’ll get it scanned and uploaded here later today, in a separate article.