CAA still on Webb agenda
By ANDREW KREIGHBAUM
Laredo Morning Times
Published: Monday, June 13, 2011 3:26 AM CDT
Webb County Commissioners Court will take up a slate of items today to address ongoing issues with payments for weatherization assistance under the Community Action Agency.
CAA director Juan Vargas will ask commissioners to create a new position for a quality assurance officer.
County Attorney Anna Cavazos Ramirez will provide an update on efforts to recoup funds for weatherization services improperly obtained by county employees.
I'm having trouble figuring out which Laredo scandal is the worst of 2011: The case of Abe Martinez blackmailing a couple of doctors, or the rampant nepotism at county that led to the misappropriation of federal funds. In the medical drama, you have a clear cut cast of players. There was the hospital administrator who bled two doctors of cash in return for contract renewals. What role the hospital played is unknown but questions arise, especially after Martinez was reassigned. This all could've occurred under everybody's noses, but knowing how hospitals are hotbeds for gossip, where news travels fast, it's highly unlikely.
At Webb County, either people were kept in the dark as to what was going on in the (CAA) department, or a sense of invincibility, along with a helping of incompetence, exists. Apparently no checks and balances were in position since employees were qualifying themselves for assistance to weatherize their homes. And now the CAA director wants a quality assurance officer installed. From what we have read in news reports, it looks like there was nobody minding the store. Nobody ever said anything and word never went up to the top.
At least in the bribery case, somebody is looking at jail time. At county, officials are looking to recover lost funds but nobody's brought up the issue of criminal charges against those who helped themselves and others. Perhaps it's still to early to know what exactly is going to transpire. In a year or so we could see people going to jail. Or we could see the same old activity with a different cast of players. For now we'll just have to stay tuned.