Airport ignorance, deceit dominate July 11 Commissioners Court meeting: ratings

Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal holds one of his newspaper ads from his unsuccessful campaign for the democrat party nomination for Commissioner, Precinct 2. Doyal lost to fellow democrat Malcolm Purvis for whom he later went to work.

Conroe, July 16 – Voting in favor of a “master plan” for the Montgomery County Airport which supported spending $83 million during the next 20 years at the largely-vacant facility dominated the July 11 Commissioners Court meeting. If you don’t believe the Airport is vacant, you should go sit at Black Walnut Cafe during lunch and observe the void of air traffic there during the hour or so of your meal. As one might expect, County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador voted in favor of more County government spending, even though they never received a copy of the “master plan” for review and Meador admitted, “We don’t know anything about an airport.”

Here are the ratings of The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper. The cumulative ratings began on October 1, 2016, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017, which ends on September 30, 2017.

Points are good.

COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING, July 11, 2017, 9:30 a.m.

There was a Proclamation of Appreciation for Chief Kevin Hosler of the Needham Road Fire Department.

County Attorney’s Office Administrative Manager Natalie Laurent received the Employee of the Month Award.

The “Consent Agenda” was a complete mess of secretive spending and budget amendments all under Agenda Item 9.

Agenda Item 9A1: Consider and approve payment of accounts. Without any review, discussion, or examination, the County Commissioners approved spending over 79 single-spaced pages of bills totaling $8,160,068.85. No one checks them. There’s no oversight.

Halff Associates, engineers, the company of Bobby Adams, who is Doyal’s best friend and business partner, received $61,139.17 for the Tx-249 Taxway and another $23,600 for a different project. The Commissioners Court paid $110,423.73 more for the Tx-249 Taxway, the project which Doyal and Riley claim will cost the taxpayers nothing (perhaps other than the $13.2 million of tax funds already spent!).

The Commissioners Court paid Jones & Carter, the engineering firm of Doyal political supporter Rob Maxwell, more than $30,000, and John Holzwarth, an engineer and political supporter of Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, $1,500 to duplicate the duties and services of the highly-salaried Montgomery County Engineer Mark Mooney. Rich Muller, the lawyer who shows up to support Doyal at political meetings, received a payment of $9,176.25 of your tax dollars.

GEO, the private prison company, received more than $66,000 for jail services. The County paid more than $15,000 for credit card charges that have little or no backup documentation. Additionally, the County paid several tens of thousands of dollars to O’Reilly Auto Parts and XL Auto Parts at full retail prices.

Most amazing of all this time is the $633,800 that Montgomery County paid to the Texas Department of Transportation to build a parallel taxiway at the almost empty Montgomery County Airport. It’s a total waste of money.

Major vote. 25 points. A “No” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9A2: The Commissioners Court paid $190,945.01 by declaring emergencies and grave public necessities without even looking at or discussion these supposedly “grave” matters.

10 points. A “No” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9C: 3 single-spaced pages of purchasing items, which include:

  • miscellaneous auto parts at retail prices
  • advertising for the sale of scrap metal
  • approve secretive awards for mowing rights-of-ways in Precinct 1
  • cancel a contract for mowing rights-of-ways in Precinct 1
  • purchase a new 2017 Chevy 1500 Silverado for Precinct 1 for $31,133; could it be another truck for Gerald?!
  • approve $25,000 of change orders
  • “approve rejecting and re-advertising for installation of aerobic septic system(s) for MCCD” (I hope the approval of the rejection goes smoothly.)

10 points. NO vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 10: Citizen Comments.

Amy Hamrick spoke against the human rights abuses she claimed occurred in the Jail at the hands of GEO.

Gary Yaunt, a board member of the Airport Advisory Board, spoke in favor of spending $83 million at the Airport.

Brian Luther, a pilot and user of the Airport, spoke in favor of spending $83 million at the Airport.

Bill O’Sullivan, a sage and regular citizen, urged the Commissioners Court to defer the “master plan” until a full traffic count study was complete.

Jessica Shorten, the teenage daughter of two convicted felons who collaborate closely with County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport and her husband, gave the Commissioners Court a hammer.

Jack Huddleston, a pilot, told the Commissioners Court he supports the Airport.

Terry Jagger said she supports foster care.

Agenda Item 13: Adopt Airport “master plan.” With the agenda was a 2 page summary of the proposed “master plan.” At 8:04 a.m., the day before the Commissioners Court meeting, the Airport staff gave the Commissioners Court a lengthened 6 page summary of the “master plan.” During the presentation in the Commissioners Court, it came to light that the actual proposed “master plan” was over 200 pages and called for spending $83 million at the largely-vacant Airport over the next 20 years.

Noack and Clark moved to table consideration of the “master plan” until they could review it. Major vote. 25 points. A “YES” vote on the motion to table was appropriate. Of course, the motion to table failed 2 to 3, because Doyal, Meador, and Riley couldn’t wait to commit the County to spend more money.

Doyal NO

Meador NO

Riley NO

Noack YES

Clark YES

Then Meador moved to adopt the “master plan.” The vote was 3 to 1 to 1 and passed. 25 points. Clark gets a 100 point bonus for showing the courage to vote “No.”

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack Abstain

Clark NO

Agenda Item 14: Give an 8-year tax abatement to a company already in Montgomery County. The identity of the company and terms of the proposed abatement were kept secret prior to the meeting, so that the County “leaders” could avoid criticism. A “No” vote was appropriate. 10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 15: Approve closing and opening new positions in the District Clerk’s Office to save a total of 2 cents (literally). A “No” vote was appropriate. 1 point.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack NO

Clark YES

Agenda Item 17: Give Brown & Gay engineers a $330,326 contract for engineering services for the Fish Creek Thoroughfare Bridge at FM 2854. There was no bidding and no review of the contract. A “No” vote was appropriate, even though the project itself is an important one. 10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 19: After an executive session, the Commissioners Court paid full overtime to Jennifer Hayden (Constable Hayden’s wife), Rhonda Behnken, and one other lady, who work for the East Montgomery County Senior Center. Behnken began working for the County approximately 4 years ago under Commissioner Ed Rinehart, Clark’s predecessor as Commissioner of Precinct 4. Behnken and the other ladies claimed that they worked through the lunch hour every day. The claim appeared to be a political strike at Clark, because Behnken never complained during Commissioner Rinehart’s tenure. Since the overtime was owed, however. Additionally, the employees’ time cards made clear that they were to take a 30 minute lunch break every day. Therefore, the employees failed to follow direct written instructions. A “No” vote was appropriate. 5 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 21: Citizen comments.

Judge James Metts received “The Golden Hammer Award” for costing the taxpayers $3.5 million for the NetData fines and fees collection debacle. Please see “Judge James Metts Receive The Golden Hammer Award for Costing Montgomery County Millions Each Year with NetData Computer Debacle,” The Golden Hammer, July 12, 2017.

Bill O’Sullivan recommended an interlock agreement between the County and the Woodlands Township to move towards incorporation of The Woodlands.

John Nicks called for widening FM 1488.

Agenda Item 22: Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley made an ignorant comment about the First Amendment. Please see “Commissioner Charlie Riley Sticks His Foot In His Mouth (Again), Makes Clear He Doesn’t Understand ‘The Golden Hammer,'” The Golden Hammer, July 14, 2017.

 

TOTAL SCORES FOR July 11, 2017 MEETING.

Doyal 0/121. Grade = F.

Meador 0/121. Grade = F.

Riley 0/121. Grade = F.

Noack 26/121. Grade = F.

Clark 150/121. Grade = A+!

CUMULATIVE POSSIBLE SCORES FOR FY 2017 = 3,509.

Doyal = 296/3,509. Grade = F.

Meador = 335/3,509. Grade = F.

Riley = 355/3,509. Grade = F.

Noack = 1,610/3,509. Grade = F.

Clark = 1,145/3,509. Grade = F.

Obviously, Commissioner Clark showed some good leadership during the meeting. Commissioner Noack did as well on the Airport issue.

As citizens, we must remain vigilant.

 

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