13 Undercover

Commissioner Eversole's office time investigated

Friday, September 05, 2008
Eversoles use of your campaign donations is prompting a new call for an independent investigation.

Eversole's use of your campaign donations is prompting a new call for an independent investigation.

We have a rare look at some of the ways a powerful public official spends his day while his government employees are at the office.

It's the result of weeks of surveillance over two separate months of someone you've elected more than once.

Elected officials don't punch time clocks. They don't even have to tell us how much vacation they take or how much they work. But remember -- Channel 13 is watching.

Maybe you don't sing on the way to the office like the seven dwarfs do... and they work in a mine. But you still have to go to work or get fired. "Any public official that's paid $140,000 a year owes the taxpayer 40 hours a week," said taxpayer advocate Bob Lemer.

But are you also paying Harris County commissioner Jerry Eversole $144,000 a year to go shopping?

Fixing his golf club? Working out? Or just staying home?

We showed Lemer Eversole's official schedule.

"In the private sector, he'd be canned," said Lemer.

"You're being paid," we asked Eversole's paid spokesperson Bill Miller.

"Yes, I'm being paid for this, yes," he said.

Austin Lobbyist Bill Miller is being paid for to answer our questions because Commissioner Eversole refused to.

"I'm not an observer of his work day, no I'm not," he told us. "Based on my knowledge of Eversole and how he conducts his business, he puts in well over 40 hours of work towards what he does as commissioner, if not sitting in his office. If he sat in his office all day, in my opinion, he wouldn't be doing his job."

It was the day before the controversial vote to hike toll road prices back in July and we have a surprise for Commissioner Eversole.

"Channel 13 is watching," said Lemer.

After his routine morning stop at Starbuck's, the commissioner heads to Blackeyed Pea for a staff briefing over lunch. He hasn't been to his office yet. It's one o'clock.

"He needs to be out of his office. He needs to be on the move," said Miller.

The commissioner instead heads to a shopping center on 1960. We call his office for an interview and are told he's in a meeting... if you consider a visit with your trainer a meeting. There's the commish doing a bench press. The workout will last longer than his staff briefing did.

Eversole's official calendar for nine months shows 90 scheduled workouts. On 11 county work days, the workout is the only event you'll find.

On January 2, the day he was sworn in for another term, the only other event on Eversole's calendar is his workout.

"The healthy workplace is a good workplace," said Miller.

"So the residents of Precinct 4 should actually thank Commissioner Eversole for his workout schedule," we said.

"I think they should be grateful that he's in good health and can respond to what they need," replied Miller.

When his workout was over that day in July, Jerry Eversole could have gone to the office. But instead, he made his third trip of the day to Starbuck's, then went home to take in his garbage cans. He was home for the rest of the work day.

"And probably thought long and hard about the vote, be my guess," said Miller.

"While he was home?" we asked.

"Sometimes it's good to reflect on big votes before they happen," said Miller.

The Precinct 4 commissioner is on hand to deliver his vote for the toll hike the next day. The increased cost for you won't affect him because he has a county car and has racked up 58 free tolls this year, some on days his schedule shows no county business at all.

After the big vote, it's lunchtime. By 1:15, most folks are back at work.

"Figure he goes to the office then to maybe garner constituent response?" we asked Miller.

Let our camera show you. Eversole is shopping at a men's clothing store. Bags in hand, it's back to the car, of course a stop at Starbucks. By 1:50 in the afternoon, Jerry Eversole is home again for the rest of the afternoon.

"There's a certain flex that they all enjoy and need to have to carry out the duties of an elected official," said Miller.

That leaves time for working out and shopping because on many days in nine months, Jerry Eversole didn't have one single Precinct 4 meeting on his schedule day or night.

"It's evidence of meetings, yes, correct," said Miller. "It's not evidence of interaction, but it's evidence of meetings."

"That work schedule is ridiculously low," said Lemer.

Of course, we can't tell you what Jerry Eversole does or thinks 24 hours a day or how much he works. Maybe he works better at home.

You can see the commissioner's schedule for yourselves by clicking here.

(Copyright ©2014 KTRK-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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