Victoria sheriff seeks answers on Harvey recovery work 

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Victoria County Sheriff T. Michael O’Connor is worried that the county hasn’t properly spent recovery money for Hurricane Harvey damages.

The Victoria Advocate received a copy of a letter O’Connor wrote to Victoria County Commissioner Kevin Janak on Nov. 7 asking for an itemized list of Harvey recovery work completed at the sheriff’s office and the jail, including work orders and signatures acknowledging the work was completed. He is also asking for documentation showing insurance or Federal Emergency Management Agency claims, among other paperwork showing how money was received and spent.

“Typical protocol is to have services done and then have them paid for, but we have found, when looking into work at the sheriff’s office and jails, that work we’ve been told was paid for has not been completed,” O’Connor told the Advocate.

County Commissioner Gary Burns, who has been a vocal critic of the county’s management of Harvey aid funds, supported the sheriff’s inquiries. 

“I don’t think this issue is going to go away. People still have a lot of questions,” he told the newspaper. “Hell, it’s not just the sheriff; every taxpayer deserves these same answers.”

Janak has been the leader of a group of county employees making sure work performed on county buildings matches the invoices. He told the Advocate he commended O’Connor’s request, although he isn’t sure when he will be able to provide the requested information.

“Hats off to him – he’s a great sheriff, and he’s doing his job,” Janak said. “And we’re still doing our job as well.”

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