Conroe, June 29 – When Montgomery County Auditor Phyllis Martin presented a secretive memorandum to the Board of District Judges on June 26, 2017, in which she requested a raise, Martin left out some pretty critical information about her position and about her department in comparison to the other twelve County Auditors mentioned in her request. Specifically, Martin didn’t mention that she is not a Certified Public Accountant. She also failed to mention that her Auditor’s Department differs markedly from the twelve County Auditor Departments of other counties to whom she made the comparison.
Martin’s June 26 memorandum includes the following request on the first page from the County Auditor who receives a salary of $145,564 per year. Of course, Martin failed to mention in her memorandum that even County Judge Craig Doyal has suggested that elected officials and Department directors in the Montgomery County government should not receive salary increases during the budget considerations for the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget.
Martin, who is also officially the Chief Budget Officer of Montgomery County, told the Board of District Judges,
“Additionally, I request that you consider salary as to the position of the County Auditor. Salaries and population are being provided for 12 select Texas counties. These counties have been used for past comparison at the request of the District Judges.”
The limited information Martin did provide to the Board of District Judges
Martin provided the following information:
County 2015 Population FY 2016 County Auditor Salary
Lubbock 299,453 127,000
Bell 334,941 106,630
Brazoria 346,312 145,638
Nueces 359,715 117,368
Cameron 422,156 120,000
Williamson 508,514 149,414
Fort Bend 716,087 141,337
Denton 780,612 134,545
El Paso 835,593 196,560
Collin 914,127 142,860
Travis 1,176,558 181,175
Bexar 1,897,753 177,828
Average – all 145,030
Montgomery (Phyllis Martin) 145,564
Martin failed to identify in which of the foregoing counties’ County Auditors were Certified Public Accountants and which County Auditor Departments had Certified Public Accountants on their staffs. In actuality, Montgomery County is one of the largest counties, as far as size of budget, without a Certified Public Accountant on the staff of the County Auditor’s Office.
The full information
On June 15, 2017, Governor Greg Abbott signed H.B. 1930 into law, which now requires that County governments must follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Specifically, the County Auditor must ensure such compliance. Section 112.002 of the Texas Local Government Code mandates that the County Auditor must adopt and enforce regulations for the financial accounting of counties with a population of 190,000 or more and that those regulations must comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles promulgated by the United States General Accountability Office.
As a result of the recent changes to the Local Government Code, it’s particularly critical that County Auditors should either be Certified Public Accountants, who may certify compliance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, or that such County Auditors have a Certified Public Accountant on their staff.
Remarkably, Montgomery County’s County Auditor is neither a Certified Public Accountant nor does she have any Certified Public Accountants on her staff.
Therefore, a review of the real qualifications of the foregoing list of County Auditors seems appropriate. Here it is.
County 2015 Population FY 2016 County Auditor Salary County Auditor CPA? CPA on staff?
Lubbock 299,453 127,000 Yes. Yes.
Bell 334,941 106,630 Yes. Yes.
Brazoria 346,312 145,638 No. Yes.
Nueces 359,715 117,368 Yes. Yes.
Cameron 422,156 120,000 Yes. Yes.
Williamson 508,514 149,414 No. (See note below.) Yes.
Fort Bend 716,087 141,337 Yes. Yes.
Denton 780,612 134,545 Yes. Yes.
El Paso 835,593 196,560 Yes. Yes.
Collin 914,127 142,860 No. Yes.
Travis 1,176,558 181,175 Yes. Yes.
Bexar 1,897,753 177,828 Yes. Yes.
Average – all 145,030 Yes – 9 out of 12. Yes – all.
Montgomery (Phyllis Martin) 145,564 No. No.
Note: Williamson County Auditor Jerri Jones is a retired Lieutenant Colonel from the United States Marine Corps where she was involved in financial management throughout most of her distinguished military career.
Despite the recent enactment of House Bill 1930, requiring the County Auditor to enforce rules and regulations following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the Montgomery County Auditor, Phyllis Martin, is not a Certified Public Accountant nor does she have a Certified Public Accountant on her staff.
The Board of District Judges should consider reducing Martin’s salary dramatically, so that the County Auditor’s Office has available funds to hire a staff Certified Public Accountant.