The safety commissioners of ESD#11 have scheduled a special meeting Thursday.
On the agenda, a vote to file lawsuits against the 911 ambulance provider for half a million folks from Tomball to Spring.
Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services doesn’t mind taking 20 million dollars from the public for 911 service, but ask them tough questions about the way the money is spent, and they slam the door shut.
The Harris County District Attorney has filed criminal charges. The response, delay the trial.
The Texas Attorney General rules they have to turn over public records. The result, Cypress Creek has filed three separate lawsuits against the State of Texas. And they using your money.
Elected ESD Commissioners ask for payroll records, the use of ambulances you bought, and financial records of a gun toting ambulance squad. The response. You may pay for it, but you can’t see it.
“This is just no way to run the taxpayers business. The head of Cypress Creek Brad England makes more than the county judge, and systematically fights the public right to know,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “It is time for Mr. England to stop wasting public money or resign. This money should be spent on medical supplies, not a campaign of secrecy.”
CCEMS is also going to court Friday to stop Dolcefino Consulting from seeing public records and getting Mr. England under oath.
The ESD#11 meeting is scheduled Thursday morning, July 30th at 10:00 am at 7111 Five Forks in Spring.
It’s been a year long battle. Thursday morning crossfire went back and forth as two EMS board members threatened to stop funding the ambulance service of a half million people in North Harris County.
“It becomes a public safety question and Cypress Creek knows that and it’s just as disingenuous and horrible for Cypress Creek to use the threat of public safety as a reason for a not showing what are clearly public records,” Investigator Wayne Dolcefino said. READ THE STORY
At least two members of the Emergency Service District Board will seek suspension of monthly payments to Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Service at a likely stormy public meeting Thursday morning, July 16, 2015.
Cypress Creek EMS holds the government contract to provide ambulance service for 500,000 residents from Tomball to Spring, but relies on a check of more than $800,000 in property tax dollars from the ESD #11 every month to do it.
The drastic action of trying to cut off funding comes as CCEMS continues to defy the Harris County District Attorney and Texas Attorney General requests for payroll records. CCEMS has refused repeated requests for key documents detailing how public funds were spent, even from the elected government officials who gave them the contract.
CCEMS continues to spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting a criminal charge and has filed two lawsuits against the Texas Attorney General.
CCEMS even refuses to detail how much they are using three ambulances financed by taxpayers last year ESD commissioners tell Dolcefino Consulting the ambulances were supposed to be staffed and responding to calls 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The ESD provided 1.5 million dollars in public funds.
The ESD# 11 meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 16 at 7111 Five Forks in Spring at 9 am.
The Harris County District Attorney has subpoenaed five years of payroll records from Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services, setting the stage for yet another showdown on a taxpayer funded ambulance service that simply refuses to play by the rules.
The subpoena was served on CCEMS Chief Executive Brad England, who has led the fight for secrecy, ignoring the District Attorney and the Texas Attorney General. England won’t even divulge how much he makes, although 2013 tax returns put the figure then at nearly $180,000 dollars.
The fight began when Dolcefino Consulting sought records detailing the payroll of CCEMS employees paid with more than 7 million tax dollars from homeowners living between Tomball and Spring. The Harris County District Attorney filed criminal charges against CCEMS last December. CCEMS has filed suit twice against the Texas Attorney General trying to keep records secret.
“The subpoena should just be the start,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “The elected safety commissioners in the area have an obligation to either demand transparency or cut off the money. This is absurd.”
The investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has already uncovered questionable spending, and bidding irregularities in the ambulance service. CCEMS also refuses to disclose the weapons some medics are carrying on ambulances, part of a tactical unit that refuses to share with the public how much it is costing.
CCEMS has a budget of more than 20 million dollars to operate 15 ambulances. The money comes from property taxes and the bills for the 911 service. CCEMS is now spending tens of thousands of those dollars, trying to keep secrets.
Waller County Sheriff Glenn Smith is improperly “giving out badges” from the Sheriff’s Department, in violation of his own rules.
An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has found serious violations of the Reserve rules in Waller County, jeopardizing taxpayers.
For instance, half the reserve deputies didn’t lift a finger for taxpayers in more than a year, violating the edict of Smith’s own department they must work 16 hours a month.
In a May 2014 e-mail, Chief Deputy Craig Davis wrote, “I do not think that 16 hours a month is too much to ask for in exchange for the privilege and responsibility of carrying the badge of the Waller County Sheriff’s Office.”
Yet since then, nearly half the 35 reserve officers with badges didn’t log a single hour of work.
The reserve badges have significant economic value and that is why reserve deputies are supposed to get written permission to work other jobs using the law enforcement commission.
And that is why Dolcefino Consulting began investigating.
Both the Chief Executive Officer and Tactical Commander of Cypress Creek EMS have reserve commission from Waller County. Sheriff’s records show neither Brad England nor Wren Nealy have worked at all for Waller County since June of 2014, and neither have submitted paperwork authorizing them to use their commission in their work at Cypress Creek. The Sheriff admits he has never used the Cypress Creek EMS tactical team.
Wren Nealy is the commander of the tactical team and listed as a reserve Lieutenant for the Waller County Sheriff, even though there’s evidence he is doing any work for the badge That raises liability questions for both Waller County and taxpayers of ESD#11 who are paying some CCEMS Medics overtime for this armed medical team.
CCEMS has refused to turn over records detailing how much the tactical unit is getting paid, what they are doing armed on the ambulances and who is armed and with what weapons.
Add it to the list of secrets CCEMS is keeping while they collect millions in tax dollars.
FOX 26 KRIV’s Katie McCall reports that the Cypress Creek EMS is defying open records laws:
At a meeting with Emergency Service District 11, Cypress Creek EMS, refused to turn over its financial records to the public. Investigator Wayne Dolcefino has been fighting for the release of those records for a year. He’s asking Cy Creek EMS to allow the taxpayers to see who they hire, what they pay them, and where those tax dollars are being spent.
Dolcefino says, “The Cypress Creek EMS refuses to tell the public who they’re paying. Is that the silliest thing you’ve ever heard of?” READ THE REST
The meeting will be held at 10 am, Thursday July 2 at 7111 Five Forks in Spring, Texas
The elected members of ESD #11 have scheduled a special meeting Thursday that may affect ambulance service for folks who live in Northwest Harris County, from Tomball to Spring.
The meeting was called as Cypress Creek EMS continues to defy requests for public records, even from the ESD Board, which represents the taxpayers who fund the 911 ambulance service.
In the last several months, Cypress Creek has ignored criminal charges, and legal opinions from the Texas Attorney General and the Emergency Service District. Cypress Creek is even suing the Texas Attorney General to keep payroll records secret.
At the same time Cypress Creek is using public funds made from the 911 service to wage a battle for secrecy, even refusing to tell the ESD the names of the people being paid with taxpayer dollars.
The big question Thursday, will elected commissioners vote to withhold payments to CCEMS until they comply with state transparency laws.
“The ESD must enforce transparency laws,” says Wayne Dolcefino, President of Dolcefino Consulting. “ It is not an excuse that CCEMS has a good response time. This is about accountability and the waste of funds on secrecy should be a deal breaker for the people who pay the bill.”
Dolcefino Consulting, an investigative communications firm led by investigative journalist Wayne Dolcefino has already spent more than $25,000 in a legal effort to force disclosure of Cypress Creek expenditures. The company is asking a Harris County District Judge to compel compliance with provisions of the Texas Public
Information Act and Chapter 22, regulating the disclosure of financial records of a non-profit corporation.
Cypress Creek even refuses to identify how much the Executive Director Brad England currently makes, even though a 2013 tax return put the figure at 180,000 a year, more than the salary for the Harris County Judge.
An investigation by Dolcefino Consulting has exposed questionable entertainment spending, possible violations of Texas election law, and irregularities in bidding on lucrative CCEMS contracts.
The meeting will be held at 10 am, Thursday July 2 at 7111 Five Forks in Spring, Texas.
The ESD # 11 MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 9 AM THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015 AT 7111 FIVE FORKS, SPRING, TX.
Half a million people get emergency ambulance service from Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS).
From Tomball to Spring Harris County taxpayers paid more than 10 million dollars in tax money last year to support 911 ambulance service. Much of the money went to pay salaries.
Yet Cypress Creek EMS refuses to tell you who is on the payroll.
Thursday morning, their secrecy will lead to a showdown.
Elected Commissioners of ESD #11 now want the same public records CCEMS has refused to show for nearly a year, even ignoring the Texas Attorney General and the Harris County District Attorney.
ESD #11 homeowners pay taxes to pay the field staff on the ambulances, but CCEMS has refused to reveal the names of the people on the payroll. 6.3 million dollars and they won’t say who is getting the money. At least four of those field staff report salaries of more than $100,000 a year.
CCEMS also refuses to show exactly how they spend the millions of dollars they took in from the bills you paid for 911 service. All over Texas those funds are used to offset the additional need for property taxes, but not in ESD #11. CCEMS has kept all the money to spend as they want, and they have refused to release the records under non-profit laws.
CCEMS claims they do not have records showing how much they actually use ambulances that are supposed to be working 24 hours a day seven days a week.
Taxpayers need to pay attention. The days of heroic fire and ambulance services running to the sound of the fire bell as underpaid volunteers are nearing an end in Harris County. This is now big money.
The ESD # 11 MEETING IS SCHEDULED FOR 9 AM THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015 AT 7111 FIVE FORKS, SPRING, TX.