ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer
New Caney, May 6 – Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark confirmed that he has placed his Precinct 4 Operations Manager Tracy Willett on suspension with pay pending an investigation concerning the subject of The Golden Hammer‘s May 5, 2017, story “BREAKING NEWS: Precinct 4 Operations Manager Willett uses County dump truck to take materials to his home.” Citizens in Precinct 4 have begun to refer to the scandal as “Dirt-Gate.”
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, received a tip from a confidential source inside the County Attorney’s office this morning that Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin advised Clark to place Willett on administrative leave with pay during the investigation.
Willett directed a County dump truck, which a County employee drove, to go to his home in Grangerland and dump approximately 3 yards of dirt on his driveway on the afternoon of Thursday, May 4. Willett placed a tarp over the dirt in his driveway.
Liberty County Commissioner Mike McCarty was convicted and removed from office for using County employees for personal purposes on April 25, 2017. (Please see “Liberty County Commissioner McCarty’s Conviction and Removal from Office Raises the Spector of Montgomery County’s ‘Goetz-Gate’ Scandal: ‘This Jury sent a Message That They Wanted Change,” The Golden Hammer, April 25, 2017).
Willett had previously worked in Precinct 2 for Commissioner Charlie Riley before he went to work as Clark’s Operations Manager. Part of the Goetz-Gate scandal involved the use of County property and personnel for personal and campaign purposes.
In a County government where nepotism abounds, using County property for personal purposes would seem par for the course. Nepotism is little more than making County jobs available for one’s personal fiefdom. County Judge Craig Doyal’s daughter, Lindsey Doyal, works as a Payroll Supervisor in the County Treasurer’s Office. Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador’s brother Bill Meador works in the Building Maintenance Department, while another family member works for Juvenile Probation. Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley created a new position at $58,000 per year in which his wife Deanne Riley is employed for the Precinct 5 Constable’s Office. Doyal, Meador, and Riley regularly oversee the budgets of the departments in which their family members work. Doyal and his “chief of staff” jim fredricks were directly and deeply involved in the recent “reorganization” of the County Treasurer’s Department.