Image: Jule Puckett, the highest paid secretary in the entire Montgomery County government (in striped shirt, second from right) along with her friends Karen van Buren (far left), Marie Moore (holding plates), and Julie Martineau (far right).
ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer
Conroe, May 19 – Congratulations on a WELL DESERVED retirement! In this instance, who are we congratulating? All of the taxpaying citizens of Montgomery County! You are getting rid of an outrageous salary payment, an abuse of overtime compensation, and even a bit of nepotism.
With the retirement of Jule Puckett, on May 31, 2017, as a secretary in Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador’s office, Montgomery County taxpayers will receive relief from her salary.
Outrageous compensation for a secretary
How much does Jule Puckett, the highest paid secretary in the history of Montgomery County, make?
$54.53 per hour of base wages = $113,422.40
+ 240 hours of overtime (!) per year, the County maximum = $19,630.80
+ at least $30,469.18 in benefits
for a total of… $163,522.38
Puckett is an administrative assistant who receives $54.53 per hour. Even though she should be classified as an exempt employee, Commissioner Meador takes good care of his and his wife’s close friends and has classified her as nonexempt so that she may earn the maximum overtime per year of 240 hours, which she regularly receives from year to year. During FY 2016, Ms. Puckett received over $130,000 in compensation as an administrative assistant. Comparable salaries in other Commissioner’s offices are approximately one-third of that amount.
Ms. Puckett was a close childhood friend of Janie Meador, Commissioner Meador’s wife. They have remained close friends into adulthood.
Puckett is the mother of Angela Ford, a lady who is the “Energy Manager” for Montgomery County and an employee of the Building Maintenance Department. (You may want to sit down for the next part of the story.) The Building Maintenance Department is where many of the nepotism babies are parked within the Montgomery County government. Bill Meador, Mike Meador’s brother, receives $68,958.50 in compensation for a job that most of the confidential sources within the department can’t quite figure out what he does. Rob, Leslie, and Adam Wright are all within the same immediate family.
Angela Ford, as Energy Manager and Puckett’s daughter, receives $100,478.56 in salary. Her job is to determine what light bulbs should go in which sockets. Seriously. Ford doesn’t actually replace the bulbs herself. She merely directs the selection and the screwing.
Tribute to Puckett
Puckett is the 10th highest paid non-law enforcement, non-elected official employee in Montgomery County. Not only did she earn Meador a Golden Hammer Award, but Puckett herself made the “Solid Gold 50” List of the highest paid employees in the County government. Puckett’s base compensation – without the overtime – is $84,000 above the national average in the private sector for her job duties.
In response to numerous Public Information Act/Open Record Act requests, Puckett often sent letters on behalf of Meador filled with numerous typographical errors.
Just by coincidence, we’re sure, Puckett began working for Montgomery County in January 4, 1993, the same day Meador began as a Commissioner. Congratulations to Puckett on her retirement after 24 years.
More significantly, congratulations to the taxpayers of Montgomery County!