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Jo Clifton is the Politics Editor for the Austin Monitor.
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Garza opposes court collections contract
Monday, October 8, 2018 by Jo Clifton
With City Council Member Delia Garza dissenting and Council Member Ellen Troxclair absent, Council on Thursday approved a five-year contract with GILA LLC, which does business as Municipal Services Bureau and MSB. The company has had a previous contract with the city, and a representative of the Linebarger law firm, which also specializes in collections, told Council they should not give the contract to MSB because of complaints about the company’s debt collection practices over the past 10 years. In response to questions from Council Member Greg Casar, Court Operations Officer Kim Chadwick said the court has to approve any language in collection letters the vendor sends out. James Scarboro, the city’s purchasing officer, said that although the contract is for five years, it contains a provision allowing Council to cancel the contract if they decide there is a problem. Garza said, “Given the discussion that we just recently had about how indigency was being determined, and my experience working in child support (collections) … many times people don’t pay because they really can’t pay.” Those who cannot afford to pay are then charged an additional penalty by the collection agency, she said, making Garza unable to vote for the contract.
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