Editorial: Stephanne Davenport is a good person, but look what nepotism made her do

ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer

Stephanne Davenport is a good person. She’s done some fine things for our community. Nevertheless, her close relationship with the County Judge, Craig Doyal, and the raw nepotism there involving his daughter, Lindsey Doyal, have led to her to some actions for which Davenport should at least reconsider her conduct, explain it, and then probably set it right.

Let’s be clear. Davenport does a good job as County Treasurer. There is room for improvement and she’s look for those improvements. She seems open to many of the ideas of the Citizens Budget Committee that is focusing on the conflicts of interest in the County Auditor’s Department with which Davenport’s Treasurer’s Department inherently has much interaction.

Davenport’s presentation on March 14, 2017, to the Commissioners Court for all to see was inexcusable. The Golden Hammer agrees with former County Human Resources Director Diane Bass’ letter in the Courier blog wherein Ms. Bass stated she was “appalled at Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s comments regarding Dodi Shaw in the open Commissioners Court meeting…”

Davenport’s presentation, as well as the assistance that County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley gave her, was factually misleading, in some instances directly false, and completely defiant towards the policy of “open government” which the Texas Legislature has mandated. While directly criticizing the “integrity” of current Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw and Shaw’s entire County Department, Davenport explained that she refused to disclose who submitted the original documents for the Treasurer’s reorganization which stated they were from Davenport and which proposed to give Doyal’s daughter, Lindsey Doyal, a raise and a promotion to “Assistant County Treasurer.”

Furthermore, the events described in The Golden Hammer‘s article published today (March 18, 2017) depict very troubling mis-statements, nepotism, favorable treatment for Lindsey Doyal, and direct involvement of her father, Craig Doyal, in those decisions under the headline “County Treasurer’s Department: Here’s what the face of nepotism looks like, Doyal and Davenport.”

How can I possibly still say that Stephanne Davenport is a “good person”? Because she is. But here’s where the problem lies. She appreciates her original  appointment as County Treasurer, which Doyal supported. Doyal is a regular campaign contributor to her. Davenport’s husband, the brilliant political consultant Marc Davenport, has worked on retainer for Doyal. Doyal is the father of Lindsey Doyal who, by all appearances, he very much loves as a father would and should love his daughter.

Those relationships clearly backed Davenport into corners. They created strong appearances of impropriety. The September 6, 2016, Position Description Questionnaire (PDQ) which emanated from Davenport’s Treasurer’s office and in which she purported to propose a major raise and promotion for Lindsey Doyal tainted the entire “reorganization” process for her Department. It correctly set Dodi Shaw, Assistant Human Resources Director Kathy Flowers, and the entire Human Resources Department into a collision course against the Treasurer’s Department. Davenport’s refusal to disclose how that PDQ originated, during her March 14, 2017, remarks, raised enormous questions. Craig Doyal’s nicely-rehearsed questioning of Davenport and his decision to vote for the Treasurer Department reorganization, rather than recusing himself, raises even more ethical issues.

In this instance, Davenport did wrong and she needs to admit that and assure the citizens she understands that. Nevertheless, Davenport is also a victim of nepotism and the political problems which it engenders.

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