Elitist Montgomery County Commissioners Court Adds To Disaster At Five Meetings (August 22 (3), September 1, September 5): The Golden Hammer Ratings

Elitist Montgomery County Commissioners Court Adds To Disaster At Five Meetings (August 22 (3), September 1, September 5): The Golden Hammer Ratings

Image: As the nuclear holocaust began at the end of the movie Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, presidential advisor Dr. Strangelove (whom actor Peter Sellers portrayed) recommended that the President gather several thousand of the elite leaders of the nation to live in deep mineshafts where the radiation wouldn’t penetrate. Of course, Dr. Strangelove recommended a 10:1 female to male ratio in order to repopulate the Earth for after the nuclear fallout had dissipated. Sounds like a plan the elitists on the Montgomery County Commissioners Court would appreciate…

Conroe, September 7 – Tropical Storm Harvey walloped Montgomery County, destroyed homes, killed people, destroyed businesses, and destroyed people’s valued possessions. By spending and taxing indiscriminately over five Commissioners Court meetings – three on August 22, 2017, one on September 1, 2017, and the hydrogen bomb of meetings September 5, 2017 – our elected officials walloped Montgomery County, threatened peoples’ homes, threatened peoples’ businesses, and sought to fleece as much money as possible out of the pockets of taxpayers as they possibly could.

While the community of Montgomery County cleaned debris, tore up the remains of their homes, struggled to find a place to sleep, and worried about how they’ll meet their future needs, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador (in black with arms crossed) and County Judge Craig Doyal (looking in the wrong direction) found a nice photo opportunity on Friday, September 1, 2017.

Here are the ratings of The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper. The cumulative ratings began on October 1, 2016, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017, which ends on September 30, 2017.

Points are good.

REGULAR COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING, August 22, 2017, 9:30 a.m.

Agenda Item 7: County Judge Craig Doyal and County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport asked the Commissioners Court to issue a proclamation commending payroll administrators, which would include Davenport and Doyal’s daughter, the recipient of nepotism who works for Davenport. With those conflicts of interest before the Court, Doyal and Davenport should have recused themselves from the proceedings. Instead, the entire Commissioners Court blindly followed them in commended payroll administrators, including Davenport and Doyal-Daughter who are costing the County several hundred thousand dollars per year in unnecessary administrative payroll expenses. 10 Points. A “No” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

The “Consent Agenda” was a complete mess of secretive spending and budget amendments all under Agenda Item 9.

Agenda Item 9A1: As always, the Commissioners Court refused and failed to review the payment of accounts. They will spent more than $6.575 million, including payments to:

  • $40,427.46 to Aguirre & Field engineers for the Tx-249 Tollway. An engineering firm that kindly provides substantial political contributions to Doyal and Riley.
  • $51,514.14 from Riley’s Precinct 2 to LJA Associates, the engineering firm which took several County officials, including Commissioner Mike Meador, on a nice fishing trip at a resort in southwest Louisiana two months ago.
  • $90,430.44 to Binkley & Barfield engineers, some of the largest contributors to Doyal and Riley.
  • $6,876 to John Holzwarth, the large political contributor and engineer who duplicates the work of the Montgomery County Engineer.
  • $363 to Ben Blair, the Wayne Mack assistant known for pornographic Facebook posts during County business hours.
  • $127 to Missy Ringo, the Wayne Mack assistant who receives Blair’s posts during County business hours.
  • Over $40,000 in Citibank charges on the County’s credit card with no oversight.
  • Over $7,400 to a Public Storage facility to store equipment for the Elections Administrator, which seems like a total waste of money given the empty excess building capacity in the Montgomery County government.
  • $314.14 for the County Treasurer’s Marriott Hotel bill. (She did just return from California with her husband Marc Davenport!)
  • Retail price payments to Lowe’s, O’Reilly Auto Parts, Staples, and Planet Ford.

The proper vote was “No.” 25 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9A2: Budget Amendments. Since the Commissioners Court exercises very little oversight or discernment during the budget process, they permit the County Auditor to operate the County as she sees fit and declare “grave public necessities” and “emergencies” through phony budget amendments, including:

  • $394,000 for the Animal Shelter with no allocation.
  • $695 to the Building Maintenance Department for “help desk licenses.”
  • $5,000 for allowances for 60 teenagers.
  • A $678,000 budget amendment for Precinct 2 Charlie Riley’s asphalt fund. Perhaps, he’s finally going to get to work on some of the roads in his precinct since we’re getting closer to the March 2018 Republican Primary Election.
  • $35,000 for Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark to upgrade the Tram Road Park.
  • $525,000 in vehicle purchases out of the contingency fund.
  • $390 in supplies.
  • $2,000 in travel expense for Extension Agents.
  • Spend $3,000 for unbudgeted supplies for JP 1 Wayne Mack.

The proper vote was “No.” 10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9C Purchasing:

  • Several hundred thousand dollars of change orders and contracts.
  • Approve advertising to widen Woodlands Parkway from I-45 to Grogans Mill Road.

The proper vote was “No.” 5 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9M2: Amend Code of Ethics to require Human Resources Director to take positive steps to prevent future violations and non-compliance after the Ethics Committee found a violation. Since the Commissioners Court has no interest in ethics other than maintaining the flow of money from the Texas Department of Transportation into County coffers – and Tx-DOT requires minimum ethics standards – the Commissioners Court voted to add this amendment to the Code of Ethics, as Tx-DOT required. 1 point. A “Yes” vote is appropriate. While the rationale for this slight improvement in the Code of Ethics is “follow the money,” any slight improvement is an improvement nonetheless.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 10: Citizen Comments.

Todd Galbreath stated the Animal Shelter is a “magical place” at which he works as a volunteer.

Troy Ita, husband of a management employee at the Animal Shelter, said the “Clear the Shelter Day” had fantastic results.

Lynn O’Sullivan spoke in favor of increasing the Animal Shelter’s budget.

Ginger Russell said Egypt Lane required some repair work. Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley looked in the opposite direction while Russell spoke.

Eric Yollick presented “The Golden Hammer.”

Bill O’Sullivan spoke against the Tx-249 Tollway in Montgomery County, because the entire road north of Todd Mission in Grimes County and further north will be a free road. Only Montgomery County will have to pay tolls north of Harris County on this financial debacle of a road.

John Wertz spoke against the Tx-249 Tollway and pointed out that the road will never reap the return on investment in the form of revenue from the road. Wertz also criticized the more than $20 million per mile cost of construction.

Reagan Reed, a Republican Precinct Chairman, noted that the Montgomery County Republican Party Executive Committee “spoke loudly and clearly” against the proposed Tollway.

Agenda Item 19A: Tax Assessor-Collector. Without any notice to anyone of the identity or terms of the proposed tax abatement, Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae and Assistant County Attorney B.D. Griffin presented their secretive proposal to give a $4.4 million abatement to a company already in Montgomery County. The company, Bauer Manufacturing, a German company, will add 25 minimum wage jobs to their payroll, costing them $410,000 per year. Does that mean that if each citizen hires a minimum wage employee at $16,000 per year, the County will give us a $160,000 tax abatement in return. Sawwwweeeeet! Minimum wage jobs tend to detract rather than add to local economies. The proper vote was “No.” 25 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 22: Spend $701,000 on the Animal Shelter with no budget, plan, or accounting. The proper vote was “No.” 10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 26B: Request Sheriff Rand Henderson to prepare a proposal for a non-consent towing policy at a future date. Sheriff Henderson explained that he intended to preserve free market rights as much as possible while establishing an orderly and fair system for this proposed ordinance. A “Yes” vote is appropriate. 5 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 27: Citizen Comments.

James Nelson, a retired Army officer, said that he observed that the County government is run in a “dishonest” way countywide. He said that “honesty and integrity are very important to me.” Nelson said he believes the open meetings issue now pending will be a major issue in the Precinct 2 Commissioners race.

Bill O’Sullivan said the Commissioners Court should not create a Budget Office but should instead move the budget function under the County Treasurer.

COMMISSIONERS COURT TOLLROAD MEETING, August 22, 2017, approximately 10:45 a.m.

The Commissioners Court voted only on the proposal to pay the legally-troubled firm CDM Smith $405,500 to conduct a study to support the construction of Doyal’s and Riley’s beloved $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 Tollway, which they intend to build whether the citizens want that road or not, so that they can funnel funds to their favored political contributors, especially Halff Associates, the engineering firm of Bobby Adams, Doyal’s best friend and business parter. Major vote. 25 points. A proper vote would be “No.”

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack NO

Clark NO

BUDGET HEARING, August 22, 2017, approximately 10:55 a.m.

Since there was no budget proposal actually before the Court or provided to the citizens, the hearing was rather pointless.

SPECIAL COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING, September 1, 2017, 6 p.m.

The Commissioners voted to enter into contracts to clear debris from Montgomery County neighborhoods which flooded in Hurricane Harvey. Of course, voting for those contracts was appropriate. 10 points. A “Yes” vote was proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

The Commissioners Court voted to pay overtime to exempt employees (i.e., salaried) and to permit them to get paid that overtime even if they were performing duties outside of their job duties. There was no limit to how much the County government would pay those individuals for doing their jobs. 25 points. A “No” vote was proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

BUDGET HEARING, September 5, 2017, 9 a.m.

The Commissioners Court finally released the “Proposed Budget” on Thursday, August 31, 2017, around 10 a.m. The Budget was 365 pages long and contained $328 million of spending. It was clear that none of the Commissioners Court members reviewed the proposed budget. The proposed budget included the highest operational expenditure budget in the history of Montgomery County. While the tax rate stayed the same, the total taxes the County would collect actually increased, because citizens would have to pay in accordance with the property tax appraisal increases foisted upon them through the Montgomery Central Appraisal District. Citizens complained that there was insufficient time to review the budget since the County only made it available right before a holiday weekend when the vast majority of active citizens were involved join hurricane cleanup and volunteerism.

Commissioner Jim Clark argued to delay a vote on the budget, particularly since he had not yet had a chance to review it, as he had been working non-stop on cleanup efforts in East Montgomery County. Clark also noted that citizens had asked a number of questions and raised a number of issues that the Commissioners Court failed to address.

The Commissioners Court created a “Budget Office” that has no purpose, has no goals, and is little more than a new bureaucracy to give the County Auditor a gift increase in her budget of $300,000. Other than Clark, none of the other members of the Commissioners Court cared.

That the Commissioners Court did not conduct a budget hearing with the actual budget in front of citizens until September 5, 2017, and refused to discuss that budget with the citizens during the meeting in the face of numerous questions was nothing short of an insult. It revealed arrogance and elitism by the Court members who voted in favor of it. This vote was the single most important vote of the entire year. The vote reflected the desire by those voting in favor of it to disregard citizens concerns about grossly-inflated government spending. 2,500 points. A “No” vote is proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark NO

Commissioner Noack’s “Yes” vote was inexcusable and very disappointing.

All five members of the Commissioners Court were elected as Republicans. A basic tenet of the Republican Party is to reduce government spending and to manage and operate government efficiently. Fundamentally, a vote in favor of the budget was an anti-Republican vote. A “YES” vote was a “Sheila Jackson Lee” vote. You’d expect that of Doyal, Meador, and Riley. They’re elitists and rather mean-spirited. Under the circumstances of the September 5, 2017, Budget Hearing, Noack should have voted “No” regardless of whether the Proposed Budget reduced some overall spending (almost entirely from reductions in debt service but with increases in operational expenditures). The very people whom the Commissioners Court mistreated throughout the entire budget process – from the budget workshops where citizens were excluded to the ignored Citizens Budget Committee report to the wait-until-the-last-moment approach to making the Proposed Budget available to the rude and discourteous behavior by Doyal, Meador, and Riley during the September 5 meeting – are among the core people who have supported James Noack for elected office. He turned his back on those people.

“All five members of the Commissioners Court were elected as Republicans. A basic tenet of the Republican Party is to reduce government spending and to manage and operate government efficiently. Fundamentally, a vote in favor of the budget was an anti-Republican vote. A “YES” vote was a “Sheila Jackson Lee” vote. You’d expect that of Doyal, Meador, and Riley. They’re elitists and rather mean-spirited. Under the circumstances of the September 5, 2017, Budget Hearing, Noack should have voted “No” regardless of whether the Proposed Budget reduced some overall spending (almost entirely from reductions in debt service but with increases in operational expenditures). The very people whom the Commissioners Court mistreated throughout the entire budget process – from the budget workshops where citizens were excluded to the ignored Citizens Budget Committee report to the wait-until-the-last-moment approach to making the Proposed Budget available, and to the rude and discourteous behavior by Doyal, Meador, and Riley during the September 5 meeting – are among the core people who have supported James Noack for elected office. He turned his back on those people.”

TOTAL SCORES FOR August 22, September 1, and September 5, 2017 MEETINGS.

Doyal 16/2,651. Grade = F.

Meador 16/2,651. Grade = F.

Riley 16/2,651. Grade = F.

Noack 41/2,651. Grade = F.

Clark 2,541/2,651. Grade = A.

CUMULATIVE POSSIBLE SCORES FOR FY 2017 = 6,345.

Doyal = 312/6,345. Grade = F.

Meador = 351/6,345. Grade = F.

Riley = 396/6,345. Grade = F.

Noack = 1,651/6,345. Grade = F.

Clark = 3,786/6,345. Grade = D-.

Our County government requires some serious corrective action and some leadership to move in that direction. There is nothing about which Doyal, Riley, Meador and the rest of their corrupt cabal should brag.

Quite frankly, the people who are primarily at fault for allowing this situation to occur are the Publisher of this newspaper and all of the other private citizens of Montgomery County.

As citizens, we must remain vigilant.

 

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