Hays Co. Commissioner Requests Investigation By The Texas Rangers Into Tampering Of Govt. Document

Staff Reports

NOTE: It is part of the Texas Ranger duties to investigate “misconduct and corruption of public officials” See Texas Ranger official duties at https://www.dps.texas.gov/TexasRangers/rangerresponsibilities.htm

The Hays County Commissioners Court’s regular meeting opened Tuesday morning with a discussion on why an item was pulled from the agenda without court approval.

Hays County Judge, Ruben Becerra, removed an item regarding the Hays County Voting Center locations from the agenda on Friday afternoon without consulting the commissioners or the item’s sponsor, Commissioner Walt Smith.

Smith asked the Judge and staff several questions on how the decision was made to remove his item (#33) and the procedures that were utilized. 

Discussion and possible action to approve election vote center locations for the November 2019 Constitutional Amendment election.

According to the item’s agenda language, commissioners were slated to hold a discussion on the election voting center locations for the November 2019 election; the court would be able but not required to take action to approve the proposed voting center locations.

Becerra said he had the item pulled due to it lacking the supporting documents including a list of the polling places from the Hays County Elections Administrator.

Janice Jones, Legal Support Services Specialist for the Office of General Counsel for Hays County, told commissioners she had prepared the agenda according to the instructions she received in Wednesday’s agenda-prep meeting and sent a copy of it to the county clerk, Dr. Elaine H. Cárdenas.

Jones said the City of San Marcos kept revising their list of suggested voting centers and did not provide the Elections Administrator with a final proposal until Monday afternoon.

An automatic email response noted Thursday that Hays County Elections Administrator, Jennifer Anderson, was out of the office until Monday.

Smith requested an investigation by the Texas Rangers into how the item was removed from the agenda without court notification.

Hays County Legal Counsel, Mark Kennedy, said the request for an investigation by the Texas Rangers would not require an agenda item or a vote by the court. 

The Texas Ranger Division is the primary criminal investigative branch of the Texas Department of Public Safety; they are responsible for investigating potential misconduct and corruption of public officials.

 

 

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17 Comments

  1. This seems very extreme to seek an investigation for what could be resolved in house. It appears to be more political than ethical.

    1. Not ‘seems’, it is political. Weak sauce at that. The Rangers won’t be happy about wasting their time. Smith stops to intimidation; that’s not surprising.

  2. We called the Texas Rangers on the County Commissioners just last week. They did not return our concerned calls regarding intentional voter suppression. The agenda item needed to be pulled because the voting locations were listed as “to be announced “ a responsible politician does not allow “to be announced “ to go to a vote.

    1. A responsible politician does not behave in the manner that Judge Becerra has behaved. You do not establish policies and then violate them, and state laws, because you don’t like an item that is placed on the agenda. I’d also like to point out that just because an item makes it onto the agenda does not mean that it’s going to pass. There’s always more to the story, and always two sides, a 3rd party investigation will clear things up and then we’ll see where the chips fall. But let’s all be honest here… Becerra isn’t exactly the most honest person in Hays County.

  3. How are you supposed to hold a discussion about voting center locations if you have no legit list of those locations? Walt sounds petty as $#!+. Get the log out of your eye before you go pointing out splinters in someone else.

  4. I wonder what the cost of an investigation of this magnitude will cost the tax payers? It seems like a pretty hasty move regarding Smith’s pet project, which does not have much bearing on the day-to-day operations within the county anyway.

    Perhaps our elected officials should be more prepared to consider the economic impact of their projects and decisions before they act. In light of the looming $440 million dollar debt that the county is facing, I think there are more pertinent issues on which to focus their time and other resources. This seems to be a rampant problem among career politicians and lobbyists who have no real world buisness experience. Please make ethical and economical decisions that take the cost of your projects and actions into consideration.

    1. Dear Count the cost,

      The agenda item that was removed that you refer to as “Smith’s pet project” was the new election polling places. All these details are included in the story.

      Thank you reading!

  5. The Judge is a person of dubious morals. Not paying taxes and rent to start. Not following standard construction protocols. Giving a bad check to the city for past due rent, i have heard. And years of employees complaining about harrassment. He is crooked and it is just a matter of time till all comes out. He is slick but will get caught eventually. His enormous ego will trip him up.

  6. easily the most dishonest County Judge elected in many years and we have had some but Rubin is the cream of the sour cream. I am not surprised at all except that he has not been called out before now!

  7. The County Judge is fighting the good fight. What is not reported in the article is that the locations proposed by Anderson put most of the new voting centers in the western part of Hays County (where Republicans have their electoral strength) and not the eastern part (where the Democratic new emergent Latino population live). Also, Jennifer Anderson and the Republican commissioners wanted to remove the only voting location from Texas State campus. So it it the Republican side that is politicizing this because it is they who are trying to suppress the Latino and student vote. For Republicans, democracy is a dirty word when they lose.

    1. Hi Mitch! I think it’s extremely important that the polling locations be disclosed and that the citizens find the locations fair. Any manipulation or voter suppression by either party is completely unacceptable. However, this isn’t the issue at hand. The issue at hand is that we have a Judge who was made well aware of the laws, who voted to make a policy on procedural operations, and then decided he did not need to adhere to them. This is his MO, do whatever Ruben wants to do regardless of the morality of it and then try and charm his way out of any consequences. I’d like to state that I am a Democrat so this is not some Republican rant. This is a citizen who is concerned with the morals of a man who was elected to run our county. As stated in previous comments on here, he is a crooked “business man” who has no problem breaking laws and acting in an unethical manner as long as it benefits him. AND this is not his first investigation, he’s also been looked at for not disclosing his campaign finances. He does not make this public knowledge though because he likes to pretend that he’s an upstanding citizen here for the little guy. What he’s really here for is that nice county paycheck and retirement and the power that comes along with it. If he doesn’t learn to tame his ego and gain some morals then he’ll soon find himself unemployed.

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