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Denton County selects firm for collections

Profile image for By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer
By Bj Lewis / Staff Writer

It took a couple weeks, but Denton County commissioners Tuesday decided on the firm that will handle the collection of delinquent court fines in the county.

After hearing from Judge Becky Kerbow, who is the majority user of the collection services, commissioners voted 3-2 to have a one-year contract with an option for three years drawn up for the firm she has been using the past few years — McCreary, Veselka, Bragg & Allen PC.

The county staff will have the contract ready for next week’s meeting.

Initially, county officials sought bids for the collection services by forming a committee that would look over proposals and then rank their recommendations for the commissioners. That list was brought before the court last week.

At that time, County Judge Mary Horn said that since Kerbow used the service the most, she should have been on the committee.

“She should have been on the selection committee, too,” Horn said.

Commissioners agreed to let her make a presentation to the court Tuesday morning to get her feedback on which firm she wanted to use.

Kerbow said she has been using the same firm since 2008, volunteering to be among the first justices of the peace in the county to use it. Kerbow used another firm from 2004-08 but found it not to be up to her standards and encouraged the county to see what else is out there.

“From the day we started, it was very different. The process has been smooth. Tech support we need has been there,” she said.

The firm has collected $221,000 in fines so far.

“I am a very low-volume customer, but they treat me as if I am the most important customer they have,” Kerbow said.

Kerbow said she does not want to see any changes, and while her satisfaction is not 100 percent, she’s very close to it.

Kerbow also noted several potential problems if the collection firm was changed, including needing a year to implement the new process, new standards and practices and having to retrain staff.

Commissioners Hugh Coleman and Ron Marchant cast the dissenting votes.

Coleman said his main issue was going against the staff’s recommendations.

“I think it’s real important we follow through with the processes we choose to follow,” Coleman said. “Beth Fleming and James Wells and [others] did a lot of work and went to a lot of meetings to objectively qualify these people.”

Coleman said MVBA came up third on the recommendation list.

“What [Kerbow] told me today would not make me pick a third,” Coleman said. “If it was a close second, maybe. The person selected was number three.”

Coleman did concede that because Kerbow is a majority user of the service, her words carry weight.

Horn agreed.

“The judge should be able to work with whomever she wants to work with,” Horn said. “It’s taken awhile to get computer software systems up to where they need to be [and] I think now we will see better results. She is very happy with the working relationship and the job they are doing for her.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875 and viaTwitter @BjlewisDRC.