There are three things every citizen should know about the Park Board of Trustees.

First, the people doing the work are very good at what they do. Visit Galveston, the Beach Patrol, park operations and the dedicated crews cleaning the beach at 5 a.m. are all doing an excellent job and the city has nothing but compliments for them.

David Collins is the District 3 councilman in Galveston

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(16) comments

Bill Cochrane

I agree with Mr. Collins that the money should be deposited in a special City depository. But I don't agree that it's "nothing else". It's also about common sense management. State law says the money should go to the City for oversight. Meaning the Park Board has to explain what they want to spend via a budget and specific items in their general fund. Common sense says the Parks Board spending should be approved by the elected officials of the City of Galveston. I strongly suggest anyone that is interested in this watch the Council meeting on the City's website. It shows a flippant Fluke making light of the situation, laughing, giggling and interrupting Collins and trying to make light of a serious situation. He finally quit doing that when he would laugh and turn around to other board members and see no one else thought it was funny. Listowski asked questions in the last meeting that he thought would be answered in this meeting, but were not.

REGINALD LACKEY

I agree fully with the above. Oversight at all levels is advised and appreciated by anyone who has been in a position of accountability to say nothing about following the law. There may be some history here but I believe that Mr Collins is doing a service rectifying this situation.

John Merritt

So what is the difference between the Park Board spending hotel tax and the Port of Galveston spending fees (taxes) for the use of our port facilities. The Port of Galveston seems to be swimming (pun intended) in money, while the payment to the City is a very small annual payment.

Charlotte O'rourke

The laws are different for the two entities. But if you believe the port is swimming in money …. Just wait to find out the truth and double dipping to appear more prosperous. To hear or read the truth, the newspaper must stop doing press releases and just repeating less than truthful statements by the port and Park Board officials, and start doing investigative journalism.

Lisa Blair

The disrespectful attitude of some of the PB reps shows exactly why more oversight is necessary. They don’t want to be team players. They’re not showing a concern for the entire city and all of its residents. Tourism has to be part of a comprehensive strategy for maintaining a high quality of life for residents. Both the Port and the PB have a singular mission, bringing as much tourism as possible to the island and unless that mission is broadened to included residents we are on the road to a city that is unlivable to some and unaffordable to many. How CC votes on the ordinances in December will be a true test of leadership and commitment to a livable city. Its time to step up and lead.

Debbie Gremillion

Regardless of which account the money is held in or who is spending it, where is the City Auditor in this whole process?? isn't that his job, to verify expenses are in line with policy, City Charter and State Law??

Bill Cochrane

Debbie, Debbie, Debbie. That is exactly the problem. The City used to control the expenses but the Parks Board changed that while the City Council was sleeping several years ago. I wonder? Who was the City's representative when that happened?

Debbie Gremillion

There has to be an auditor somewhere. I mean, millions of public dollars spent and no one monitoring it?? Really???

Bill Cochrane

It would be interesting to know when the last EXTERNAL audit of the Parks Board was done?

Dan Freeman

The City Auditor is Glenn Bulgherini. His salary was just raised to $135,702, a three percent raise. GDN p 1 11/19/2022

Bill Broussard

What councilman Collins fails to mention is that the City Manager, the City Attorney and our current Mayor were all on Mayor Yarborough’s Council when the HOT tax was assigned to the Park Board. All of the yelling about legal or illegal simply can’t be seriously made out of context unless Collins would like us to think that, Yarbrough Maxwell, the City Attorney with an unpronounceable name and Brown colluded to execute an illegal act during their council. I’m pretty sure it was no more than Yarbrough trying to compulsively keep things tidy and Maxwell, Brown and City Council just going along

I think this whole process needs to have the volume turned down a notch.

Bill Cochrane

Mr. Broussard, Point made. But it really doesn't matter:

How it happened.

When it happened.

Who did it.

Why it was done.

Where it was done.

What time it was.

If the sun was shining.

If it was raining.

Mr. Broussard, the point that you miss:

It was a mistake.

It needs to be corrected.

It needs to be corrected, NOW.

You think it should be "turned down a notch"?

That kind of thinking will not solve the problem. That kind of thinking will become part of the problem.

I say turn it up. Waaaaaaay up. Get an EXTERNAL audit of the Parks Board to begin with. It could be that an external audit will be the collapse of the entire Parks Board and we can start all over.

If an external audit comes back squeaky clean then proceed with a new contract with the PB that follows the law and move the funds to a special City account with plain english accountability of:

How the money is deposited.

Who is in charge of the deposits.

Where it is deposited (interest bearing)

What the money can be used for by the PB.

What the money can be used for by the City.

All post haste.

Bill Broussard

Bill. I pretty much am with you most of the way. Certainly about the audit —-should be every two to four years like any legitimate business.

When you look into HOT tax, I’m some Texas cities it’s turned over to Chamber of Commerces to manage so it’s not too weird here in Galveston.

Due process and reasonable conversation on both sides ( turn it down a notch) would come to the correct outcome but not leaving two good institutions damaged

Charlotte O'rourke

The Park Board has a yearly external audit where the external auditor plugs in numbers provided and ensures the financials are accurate.. It is not a forensic audit nor does it have a specific internal control aspect which would verify that the PB and city are following laws, ordinances, and contracts. We know after the last Park Board meeting that they knew they weren’t following the interlocal agreement or the way it was done previously, but decided to not follow the rules anyway.

When money is turned over to another entity, any entity, it goes through a budget approval process by elected leaders.

I’m with Bill Cochran, turn it up, until it’s legal and documented the way it is really being managed as outline by the contracts, ordinances, and state laws indicate.

How can citizens complain if the powers that be are deliberately not complying with with laws and contracts? One can only complain about what is known,

REGINALD LACKEY

There is a 4th issue not listed. If this is a simple matter of black letter law it is a shame that city resources are being wasted to infighting. Whatever resources in money and time could be used for more important things like the homeless.

Charles Wiley

More to this than meets the eye!

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