Bexar County budget employees slam Calvert, dispute his résumé in audio recordings

Calvert calls attitude of budget employees ‘dangerous, hurtful, harmful’

SAN ANTONIO – Two Bexar County employees, including a senior budget analyst, slammed Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Calvert and questioned the veracity of his résumé in audio recordings provided to the KSAT 12 Defenders.

The employees, identified by multiple sources as senior budget analyst Paul Matye and budget analyst Thomas DeCesare, made the comments in January as a group of budget staffers gathered for a meeting on the ninth floor of the Paul Elizondo Tower.

Memo: Bexar County Manager David Smith directed employees to receive absolution

“If Tommy Calvert is the voice of reason we’re f----d,” Matye is heard saying on the recording, which was provided to the Defenders by a fellow employee who was a party to the conversation and recorded it using a cell phone.

Commissioner Tommy Calvert. (KSAT)

Matye made the comment as he and DeCesare talked about an early December Commissioners Court meeting in which elected officials discussed the jail commissary contract.

Calvert said at the time one vendor was unfairly disqualified from the bidding process, because it had provided services to jails even though county staffers claimed it had not.

Matye and DeCesare were also recorded discussing Calvert’s résumé.

“But no that’s exactly it. He hasn’t been alive long enough to do half the (expletive) he’s claimed to have done. But that’s why I want to like keep a list and be like if I get to 20 items and be like ‘wait, did you have all these jobs for six whole months?’ (Laughter),” said Matye.

“Because he’s only like 30-something,” replied DeCesare.

“Did you work for a temp agency?” replied Matye.

“He doesn’t have enough time. There’s not enough years,” responded DeCesare.

“There’s not enough time for him to have done any of these things to any amount of expertise. Alright? And his fall back when he doesn’t have work experience is ‘well well it’s in my precinct.’ (laughter) Like that makes him a d.b. that knows everything about Precinct 4. Like ‘ah, yes, it’s in my precinct. Clearly I’m the subject matter expert,’” said Matye.

WARNING: SOME LANGUAGE IN THE RECORDINGS MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO LISTENERS

LISTEN TO THE FULL RECORDINGS HERE

Calvert, who has represented east Bexar County since 2014 and had a long history of public service before that, reacted strongly after hearing the recordings.

“There needs to be some cleaning of house. This is not just about the commissioners and myself but this is about an attitude of public servants and respect for the voters who sent me to represent them,” said Calvert.

“To me, Dillon, what it really says is that we have a culture at the top. I think they’ve had supervisors maybe make comments like that as well.”

Prior to being elected to Commissioners Court, Calvert was the chief of external relations for the American Anti-Slavery Group.

Tommy Calvert in the Sudan in the early 2000's. (KSAT)

His work combating human trafficking, including in the Sudan during a civil war, is well documented.

“That attitude has been dangerous, hurtful, harmful to county employees. I can take it, I’m a big boy,” said Calvert.

“It’s part of a larger problem of county employees now on the 9th floor where we have our finance department.”

Matye, Bexar County Budget Director Seth McCabe and County Manager David Smith all declined requests to be interviewed for this story, even after the Defenders allowed a county spokeswoman to listen to the full audio recordings.

The spokeswoman had previously asked the Defenders to provide a copy of the audio to the county.

The Defenders do not hand over work materials to entities it is reporting on.

Smith eventually released the following written statement:

Thank you, Dillon, for bringing this to our attention. We will be looking into this matter.

The Defenders caught up with DeCesare as he left work late last month.

DeCesare, at first, said he could not really remember the conversation before saying, “I mean, I don’t recall saying anything like that. If I did it wasn’t my intention to cause any harm or anything like that.”

DeCesare then said he had somewhere to be as he walked away.

A Defenders investigation late last month revealed that an outside agency, Kelmar Global Investigations, was brought in several months ago to investigate possible inappropriate conduct within the county manager’s office, which oversees budget employees.

Bexar County budget analysts Thomas DeCesare and Paul Matye. (KSAT)

Matye and DeCesare are not the targets of that investigation, according to sources.

A county spokeswoman confirms that commissioners were briefed on Kelmar’s investigation during executive session earlier this month but that its review has not been finalized.

Calvert said the investigation is a clear indication that the county needs to institute a whistleblower protection policy.


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