Image: Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley salutes some of his constituents.
Magnolia, May 15 – Charlie Riley, Precinct 2 County Commissioner of Montgomery County, has terribly managed the road and bridge maintenance and construction in the southwest part of this community which he is supposed to represent. Riley is out of touch mainly because he purposefully avoids any public scrutiny. The criminal charges against him for allegedly violating the Texas Open Meetings Act which are now before the Beaumont Court of Appeals seem to have caused a certain “bunker syndrome” in Riley.
Expenditure data The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, recently obtained under a Texas Open Records Act request, reveal that Riley has poorly managed his Precinct and its budget. This article is the second of a four-part series covering the budget and management of each of the Commissioners Precincts. James Noack’s Precinct 3 will appear tomorrow, Tuesday, May 16.
Riley’s Road Mess
The one thing you’d expect Riley to be good at is project managing road and bridge operations. Remember, Riley has worked almost his entire adult life as a government employee. Even private entities, such as the Magnolia Education Foundation, which he and Melissa Goetz founded together, exist to serve the government.
Even Riley has tacitly acknowledged failure with roads and bridges in Precinct 2. On May 1, 2017, Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley issued a press release entitled “Personnel Records Reflect Conservative Leadership from Commissioner Riley.” Riley claimed that he is “operating the most conservative personnel budget” of all of the Montgomery County Commissioners. Riley bragged that his personnel budget has shown the least growth of all four County Commissioners, including Riley, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark. Sadly, his claims were not correct. Riley is more akin to a 1920s socialist. (See “Is County Commissioner Charlie Riley Really ‘Conservative’?” The Golden Hammer, May 3, 2017, and “Is County Commissioner Charlie Riley Really “Conservative”? No. He’s A 1920s “Socialist.” The Golden Hammer, May 4, 2017.)
Roads and bridges in Precinct 2 are a mess primarily because Riley has invested most of his energy into a project, the $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 Extension, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway, that would do little more than create more traffic congestion inside of Precinct 2. While Riley has spent most of his time trying to build the failed-Woodlands Parkway Extension to carry traffic to his precious Decimation of Hope Highway, to build the “little-WPX” also known as Mansions Way to carry traffic to his precious Decimation of Hope Highway, and even to build the super-secretive Branch Crossing Extension, which would help to channel traffic towards Riley’s precision Tx-249 project ultimately, Riley has largely ignored the November 2015 Bond Referendum projects inside of Precinct 2 and he’s also ignored the single greatest mobility problem inside of all of Montgomery County: the failure to widen F.M. 1488 more than a 2-lane road from the Waller County line to Mostyn Manor. Even Riley admits that’s the highest priority, but he’s ignored it.
Riley’s Budget Mess
Riley’s budget doesn’t look much better than the Precinct 2 roads. It’s not surprising that he tried to brag about his personnel budget in his May 1 press release, because everything else in Precinct 2 is financially under water.
Riley started Fiscal Year 2017 with an $8,096,175 budget for Precinct 2. Through super-secret Budget Amendments, Riley’s Precinct Budget has not exploded to $9,002,202. His personnel spending is okay and actually a little bit under budget for this point in the Fiscal Year. In chronological days, the Fiscal Year was 61% over on May 11, 2017, the date when The Golden Hammer received the expenditure data.
Riley has spent 91% of his Professional Services budget, not a surprising number since Riley’s legal defense and campaign expense fund depends upon money from outside-of-the county vendors, engineers, and contractors. Riley has spent 94% of his telephone budget, 64% of his mobile phone budget, 76% of his sign budget, 75% of his equipment rental budget, 356% of his machinery budget, 100% of his vehicles budget, and 99% of his repairs-non insured budget. In total, with 39% of the Fiscal Year left, Riley only as 25% remaining in his budget.
Riley will probably use some more of those secretive budget amendments to transfer “slush fund” money into his Precinct, since he seems unable to control the Commissioner Precinct finances.
It’s a genuine shame. Riley knows better. He’s too focused on the “inside of the bunker.”
Meanwhile, as you’re caught in traffic in the mess that is F.M. 1488 around the City of Magnolia or in the mess that is Research Forest west of Alden Bridge, just think of the name on those signs your Commissioner loves to throw up along the roads: Charlie Riley. He’s enjoying his palatial office with its giant fountain-filled pond, while you’re stuck in your car listening to liberals spew fake news and social commentary.