Taxpayers living between Tomball and Humble probably don’t know who Andrew McKinney is. They should. The law firm he works for has been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep secrets about who is benefiting from tax money being spent on 911 service.
Andrew McKinney is the long time lawyer for Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services (CCEMS), the charity with the exclusive government contract from ESD #11 to provide 911 emergency ambulance service for 600,000 Harris County residents.
In some places across Texas, taxpayers don’t have to kick in much tax money to help pay for 911 service. That is because the 911 ambulance bills insurance companies. For instance, CCEMS collects millions, and they are allowed to keep all that money. Taxpayers are then asked to make up the rest of the ESD budget.
In an Austin courtroom Monday, Andrew McKinney admitted CCEMS doesn’t aggressively collect the medical bills because they get all those millions from taxpayers.
In just a few words, he may have provided taxpayers with the evidence to say enough is enough.
Why in the world should taxpayers pay a penny for 911 service without having the right to audit the millions of dollars CCEMS already make from the 911 medical bills? It is not complicated.
Why are elected ESD Commissioners sitting on their hand? Hundreds of thousands of dollars that could pay for ambulance equipment, medical supplies, even bonuses for underpaid paramedics are being used instead to wage legal battles with the Harris County District Attorney and Texas Attorney General to keep records a secret.
Why did some of the ESD Commissioners do nothing when they found out the medical billing money is being used to fund the entertainment habits of the CCEMS Boss Brad England?
Monday in Austin, Dolcefino Consulting asked District Judge Karin Krump to order CCEMS to release payroll records of the employees paid with tax dollars. 87 percent of CCEMS employees, including all the paramedics and dispatchers are paid with tax money.
CCEMS lawyer Andrew McKinney wants the Judge to rule CCEMS isn’t covered by the Texas Public Information Act and doesn’t have to show taxpayers their payroll records.
The Judge will rule in the next few days, but taxpayers have already been the clear losers. They are being asked to pay taxes to subsidize a lifesaving government service without any ability to oversee how the rest of the money collected in their name is being spent.
And thanks to Mr. McKinney, taxpayers now know they are paying more than they have to.
And the money which could have been spent on reducing ambulance service cost went to a lawyer instead.