Today I attended the monthly TRWD Board meeting. Once again the board room was filled with TRWD administrators and lawyers, but I'm pleased to report I had 2 supporters present today.....Andra and my new friend DG. Thank you so much for being there!
Agenda Item 7 was a $140,000 contract with Whitley Penn for internal auditing services. TRWD had been using the Weaver firm in Fort Worth for the last 8 years.
Now, Whitley Penn was the recommendation of the Finance Committee. Why the change? The name Whitley is familiar.....could the Whitley in the Whitley Penn be related to our Tarrant County Judge B. Glen Whitley?
Well of course it is!
Tarrant County Judge Whitley was a very vocal supporter of then-incumbents Marty Leonard and Jim Lane. He openly endorsed them while in his official capacity as Tarrant County Judge.
One month later, his firm received the TRWD contract.
Merriam Webster defines cronyism as "the unfair practice by a powerful person (such as a politician) of giving jobs and other favors to friends."
In my opinion, awarding this contract to Whitley Penn screams conflict of interest and is a perfect example of the cronyism media and the public criticize TRWD for.
Well, I shared this opinion with my colleagues and just received a blank stare. They really don't think this is inappropriate. Could this be the work of Fort Worth Way brainwashing?!
General (Mis)Manager Jim Oliver lost his cool a little though and blurted out something to the effect of my having received campaign contributions from Monty Bennett to which I responded at least I don't give Monty Bennett TRWD contracts.
I want to know what you think. Do I just have an over-developed sense of ethics or is this an example of cronyism?
It's a pleasure to serve you!