County Auditor Martin left out important facts in request for salary increase to Board of District Judges

County Auditor and Chief Budget Officer Phyllis Martin.

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 request

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.

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