Image: Left to right, County Attorney J.D. Lambright, Conroe ISD President Melanie Pryor Bush, and Montgomery County Republican Women Director Alice Lantier Melancon, at Montgomery County Republican Women’s June, 2017, Monthly Luncheon.
Conroe, June 25 – While County Attorney J.D. Lambright has submitted a 5% reduction in his proposed Fiscal Year 2018 Budget for the County Attorney Department, totaling $168,660 in reduced spending off of his current $3,373,220 budget, Lambright has requested that the Montgomery County Commissioners Court approve some organizational changes that are budget-neutral at the Tuesday, June 27, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting. The changes come primarily in the County Attorney’s Child Protective Services and Governmental Affairs Divisions.
Lambright explained the reorganization of two divisions, “I like to reward performance, and that’s what I’m doing in the CPS and Governmental Affairs Divisions. Someone who steps up and takes on more and does a good job doing it is what I’m happy to encourage.” When The Golden Hammer asked Lambright if these changes will result in future spending reductions, Lambright was unequivocal, “Yes, these changes will save the cty money in benefits, because we’ll have less people doing the same county functions. While we’re paying the same amount in salaries, the increased efficiency of people in my Office will save a lot. We’re also saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for the County government by avoiding having to pay outside law firms to conduct litigation for us.”
Lambright continued, “We always look for ways to save the County money. That’s what this reorganization is about. That and rewarding excellent performance that’s also saving the County money by increasing efficiency.”
In the CPS Division, Lambright explained, there used to be three attorneys and three legal assistants. One of the attorneys left the employ of the County. Lambright didn’t replace that person. He also moved one of the legal assistants out of there to act as a back to the County’s Hot Check Division and to support the Office’s reception. At the same time, Lambright has trained Natalie Laurent, a rising star in the legal community who is the County Attorney’s Administrative Manager, to provide some legal assistant support to the CPS Division.
At the same time, the Governmental Affairs Division of the County Attorney’s Office has rapidly become one of the busiest operational areas of the County Department. “There are three attorneys including the Division Chief Amy Dunham.” The Governmental Affairs Division advises County Departments and handles the more than 8,000 Open Records Act requests that come through the County Attorney’s Office each year.
Lambright noted the Governmental Affairs Division has only had one legal assistant although she is a highly-trained and highly-qualified paralegal with a certificate from Rice University. Lambright has wanted to add a “top flight legal assistant” to the Division. He posted a job opportunity to through the County’s Human Resources Department and received more than eighty resumes many of which, according to Lambright, were “enormously qualified and skilled.” Lambright and Dunham chose the top candidate and hope that she’ll start to work for the County in July.
County Attorney Lambright noted that the two legal assistants in the CPS Division are both Board Certified in Family Law, so they have gained efficiency and skill by increasing their knowledge. Lambright remarked, “There are only five Board Certified legal assistants in all of Montgomery County: two are in the County Attorney’s Office, one is in the District Attorney’s Office, one works for family law attorney Jimmie Price of Conroe, and one works for an attorney in The Woodlands.”
Lambright will present his proposed reorganization of the two County Attorney’s Office Divisions to the Commissioners Court for their consideration during the open portion of the Tuesday Commissioners Court meeting.