The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Letters to the editor

July 5, 2014

Perkins should abstain from YMCA vote

GREENVILLE — To the editor:

What if you were a judge? What if you were also Board President of a non profit organization?  What if you then went before your local City Council and asked its members to borrow and spend $15 million of taxpayer money to construct a bright shiny new building for your organization because your current structure is crumbling around you due to the fact that you have failed to properly maintain it?  And what if one of those Council members you are trying to persuade is a lawyer who might be arguing a case before the judge at some point in the future?  What if the lawyer votes “yes” to spend the taxpayer money for the judge’s organization?  Will the judge be really, really happy?  What if the lawyer votes “no” to spending the taxpayer money to benefit the judge’s organization?  Will the judge be really, really sad?

Those were  a few of the questions I asked myself when I realized that my City Council member, Dan Perkins, a prominent Greenville attorney will be voting this week on whether to borrow $15 million to build a new YMCA, whose Board President is the freshly nominated State District Judge, Andy Bench.  Naturally, I was hoping Mr. Perkins would abstain from voting on the taxpayer funded YMCA, given the aforementioned “awkward” circumstances surrounding the professional relationship of attorney Perkins and Judge Bench.

But never fear!  After contacting Mr. Perkins, he assured me there is no conflict of interest and no illegality. Therefore Mr. Perkins will be voting on the massive expenditure of public funds that if passed, will directly benefit Judge Bench’s YMCA.  Silly me, for ever thinking this might be a conflict. Mr. Perkins previously told me he will vote “yes” on spending the $15 million, ($22 million including interest). And why not!  Given the close to 20 cent tax increase coming this year from the Greenville Independent School District, what’s another 4 to 7 cent tax increase, to pay for Judge Bench’s YMCA?  It’s only money!

Judge Bench may or may not get his bright shiny new building after the next City Council meeting, but one thing is for sure. If you ever have a matter pending before Judge Bench, and Mr. Perkins agrees to represent you, you should be really, really happy!

Sincerely,

Ron Rogers

Greenville

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