Coryell County judge candidate has breakfast with voters
By LYNETTE SOWELL
One of the six candidates for Coryell County judge took the opportunity to meet with voters the morning after the Friday night judges’ forum in Copperas Cove, by holding a breakfast at Lil’ Tex Restaurant.
Roger Miller is a retired first sergeant with 23 years of service and a fifth generation native of Coryell County. In addition to his military service, Miller is also the president of the Gatesville Planning & Zoning Commission, and the vice-president and founding member of Keep Gatesville Beautiful. He also led an effort to save the 1904 Leon River Bridge.
On Saturday morning, he spent time to talk informally with voters, to discuss concerns within the county, whether that be property taxes, county budget and spending, the county jail, or any of the other “hot” topics with voters.
One of his concerns is the way the county’s departments handle technology.
“According to Judge Firth, we’re the largest county per capita that does not have an IT department. We certainly need contracted IT, so not every department is doing its own IT thing,” Miller said. “I just don’t thing that’s acceptable, to not have some type of coordinated IT. Computer user security, website security, life cycle analysis of your computer systems, things like that.”
Miller is known as the self-described “bridge guy” who spearheaded an effort among residents to save the 1904 Leon River Bridge in Gatesville. Although he looks to history for a way forward, he also sees the need for the county’s government and departments to utilize technology to streamline operations, which can help save taxpayers’ money.
He gave the example of every county department purchasing its own office supplies and equipment.
“You walk into one office, and every person has a printer by their computer,” he said, questioning the efficiency of “smaller” purchases that can add up. He also said if every department does its own thing such as where office supplies are concerned, that cuts the county out of money-saving discounts it could receive by ordering items in bulk, instead of by department.
“If I’ve got $1,000 left in my office budget at the end of the year, how do I spend it real quick? Order a laptop, and I don’t have to answer to anybody because it was budgeted. All I have to do is dispose of my old computer correctly. Is that really the best way?”
Another way to trim the budget, Miller said, would be by presenting a challenge to department heads, should he be elected.
“From a departmental standpoint, I’m going to challenge them all. Before you ask for an increase for something, show me where you’ve cut something. Anything. I’m not saying several thousand dollars’ cut. But show me how you’re working to save the people money. because it’s not my money, it’s not that department’s money. Show the people you can cut something.”
Another cost-cutting measure that Miller sees is where county personnel are concerned,
“The most glaring issue I see with our wage structure is that we don’t have a wage structure. If we hire an entry level person, and their job description never changes and they stay employed by the county over 20 years, every time we get a cost of living increase, their wage goes up and up, but they’re doing the same thing we hired them to do 20 years ago.
“If we had a wage structure, that says, if you apply for a job as a Clerk I, and that job description should e pretty consistent throughout any kind of clerk position within the county. We need to bring in department heads to hash that out…If we have a 5- and 10-year plan, that’s where we adjust the overall wage scale.”
Presently, Miller said, county departments all do their own hiring and firing.
“There needs to be consistency. Not to put a burden, but provide commonality,” Miller said.
“If the commissioners court as a body, are unified in taking these small changes, there’s nothing that builds more trust between people when you execute a change and the people see the results. Department heads see the results. ‘Oh wow, we are more efficient, we don’t have to spend as much time, we’ve got a little more money.’ You make that first positive step, and the next step becomes a little easier.”