Williamson County Commissioners weren’t happy with Judge Bill Gravell’s spending spree in recent weeks. Apparently he, without consulting them, had eight RVs set up at the Emergency Services Operations Center for a total of over $18,000 for a thirty-day period. Although for “security purposes” he does not want to disclose who is actually using them, he admits that throughout the day they are being used for “private offices”.

Commissioners did not understand the urgency of this expenditure and insisted that any further spending decisions have prior approval of the court.

Gravell’s explanation was “The intent of the travel trailers was and is that as the virus continues to spread, we just wanted to assure (sic) that the eight or nine essential folks for county government operations had a secured area not only to stay but an area that would secure them from potentially getting sick.”

Gravell appeared contrite and subdued, likely due to the recent media outrage over his borrowing bunker gear from the Jarrel Fire Department, using a sworn deputy to drive he and his wife to his daughter’s house for his grandson’s birthday party, and the resulting complaint filed by TMPA attorney Robert McCabe for Abuse of Official Capacity, Official Oppression, and Violation of Emergency Management Plan.

Don’t forget that his buddy Sheriff Robert Chody had this to say:

“The sheriff’s department determines what Law Enforcement services are necessary and when they are necessary,” Chody wrote when asked to specify the purpose of assigning a deputy to escort Gravell.

“I will not respond on matters of security involving anybody as a matter of protocol. I’ll give you one such Example, if a threat is made on a judge, leader of our community, or just anybody in general, I would not relay the information unless it was necessary as a matter of security protection of all involved. That’s not a new concept,” Chody wrote.

The sheriff also criticized the KXAN investigation into Gravell, “Lastly Mr. Barr, let’s be fair, “Chody wrote in an April 13 email, “Please consider your sources more responsibly in the future as each have and have had an agenda for sometime (sic).”

Chody’s been a target of the Buddy Falcon social media pages for more than a year. The account has posted information critical of Chody’s administration of the sheriff’s office.

When asked if Chody found any factual errors or inaccuracies in the reporting, the sheriff could not provide an example. “If you want to know what’s inaccurate in your story. Contact the County Attorney or District Attorney to determine and ask if an actual violation of the order occurred or if any law was broken as your story states,” the sheriff wrote.

In other words, “I got nothing”.

Let’s look at what he spent. $18,340 for one month for eight RVs.

Gravell was cut a little slack because he acted in an emergency situation and possibly didn’t have time to consult with the other commissioners. If so, then how did Woody’s RV know almost two weeks earlier that they were going to need to sub-lease RVs?

Now, we have to wonder, why did he think he needed eight RVs? For people to stay while they worked? What?? Well, what about this? The official, state of the art, Williamson County Emergency Services Operations Center that opened in 2013.

This article, written by Community Impact at the time of its opening, states, “The 30,000-square-foot facility primarily houses the Emergency Communications department, which provides 911 services to county residents. It also provides office space for Emergency Management and Hazardous Materials teams, sheriff’s deputies and Williamson County and Cities Health District’s emergency management division.” The Hill County Country News reported

“Currently, it houses 75 employees and has the capacity to accommodate 150 full time employees in the event of an emergency. The center will help dispatch units faster, send out weather warnings and alert those living in all corners of the county.

It will also allow county officials to better manage shelter operations. Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Sneed said the county sheltered between 12,000 and 15,000 displaced people.

“That’s a major undertaking to take on that many people,” he said.

The EOC was built in a way that will allow it to be expanded to 50,000 square feet. It can withstand up to 150 mph wind, has a backup generator and a 5,000-gallon water tank, in the event that the city lost its ability to provide water and wastewater.”

As you can see from the documents submitted at Commissioner’s Court below, the building cost over $12 million. It was built for EMERGENCIES. This is an emergency. It’s unclear what Gravell thinks that people will be doing in RVs that they can’t do in a 30,000 square foot building complete with a kitchen, sleeping quarters, several restrooms, or from their own home, for that matter. What were you thinking, Gravell?

The green areas serve as office functions, yet Gravell says that there are people in all eight of the RVs throughout the day, using them as “private offices”. WHY? There are also 8 or 9 conference areas that can be used as private offices.