Image: Two members of the Davenport Ring, left to right, Wayne Mack and Judge James Metts.
Willis, New Caney, and Conroe, July 9 – Wayne Mack (Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1), Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts, and County Judge Craig Doyal have covered up a serious computer database problem involving the NetData system in the Justice of the Peace Courts during the past two years. NetData has been a financial and technological disaster for the four of the five Justice of the Peace Courts which have utilized the software. The Davenport Ring – political consultant Marc Davenport and his cronies and clients who follow his orders which include Mack, Metts, and County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport among others – has vehemently clung to the NetData software, despite the problems and the coverup.
Meanwhile, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Edie Connelly, who utilizes the same network database as the five County Courts at Law and eight District Courts, has outperformed all four of the other Justice of the Peace Courts combined. Please see “Montgomery County Justice Courts Reveal Stark Financial Contrasts,” The Golden Hammer, June 22, 2017.
County decision making on court database systems
During 2012 and 2013, the County formed an employee committee entitled “the Integrated Justice Steering Committee” (IJIS) to research and evaluate integrated software to store, retrieve, and manage court data. Only County employees were to serve on the IJIS Committee, but Metts insisted that Marc Davenport, whom Metts introduced as a “sworn deputy” in his Justice of the Peace Office, be permitted to participate in the meetings as well. Several employees who attended IJIS meetings, but have requested confidentiality of their identities, have described Davenport as “creepy,” “sleazy,” and “demanding.”
A dispute arose between Metts, Davenport, and some of the other justices of the peace on the one hand and all of the other courts – the 8 District Courts, the 5 County Courts at Law, and Precinct 3 JP Edie Connelly – on the other hand. For some reason, Metts and Davenport insisted that the Court should use a database program by the name of “NetData” on which to keep court files, so that an outside law firm, Graves Humphries Stahl, could then conduct collections of fines and fees for the courts. Judge Connelly, the five County Court Judges, and the eight District Judges did not feel comfortable permitting an outside law firm to contact County litigants for a variety of reasons, including due process, privacy concerns, and efficiency.
Eventually, the four Metts-Davenport courts (JP 1, JP 2, JP 4, and JP 5) went with the NetData software which does not permit the public to access court files online. Meanwhile, all of the other courts in Montgomery County utilize Tyler Technologies’ Odyssey database, which does permit public access. The Court collections of Judge Connelly’s JP3 Court are strikingly higher than all of the other four Justice of the Peace courts added together, so it’s very clear that the Odyssey database and the County’s collection efforts are far more efficient than NetData and Graves Humphries Stahl.
The four Metts-Davenport JP courts had trouble integrating the data from the County’s legacy database system into NetData. One of the results of those difficult was the bizarre lawsuit Metts improperly instigated where Montgomery County sued itself in Metts’ court, and where Metts acted as the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, and the judge in the same case. Please see “Picture of Corruption: Judge Metts Files Lawsuit Where Montgomery County Sues Montgomery County, Metts Acts as Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s Attorney, Judge All in Same case (the Davenports, Part 16),” The Golden Hammer, July 7, 2017. Graves Humphries Stahl and NetData eventually taped the NetData system together. The Metts-Davenport JP courts use NetData as their court database, but the poor operation of the system prevents the public from viewing court files, among several other problems.
The Golden Hammer obtained secret documents from sources inside the County government after the Metts story broke on July 7. Those documents show what a total disaster NetData has been for Montgomery County.
Problems in July, 2015
By July 28, 2015, the NetData system was a total disaster for the four Justice of the Peace Courts which utilized the system. The judges and their staffs began to complain about “slowdowns.” The NetData software vendors admitted that the system had a “latency” problem but also tried to blame the terrible reactivity of the database on the County’s internet bandwidth. Later diagnostic testing revealed that there was nothing wrong with the County’s internet bandwidth that caused any problems with NetData. Furthermore, the database system, which the other fourteen Montgomery County courts utilized – Tyler’s Odyssey system – had no problems whatsoever with speed or latency.
On August 7, 2015, the County’s Network and Operations Manager for its Information Technology Department informed the Director of that Department, Marshall Shirley, as follows:
“Good afternoon sir.
“I’ve had some time to consider this report from Netdata regarding the continuing performance issues that the JP offices have been having and it is my opinion that the problems and issues were never at Montgomery County but were on the Netdata servers the entire time. We did extensive testing and reconfiguration of our firewalls and performed multiple iterations of bandwidth shaping to improve the overall performance of the Netdata product. None of these things were successful in any way. We eventually increased the overall bandwidth available to the county from 140 Mbps to 490 Mbps. This increase in bandwidth had little or no effect on the performance of the product.
“Also, we communicated with Netdata on multiple occasions regarding the poor performance and they never told us that they had other customers experiencing similar issues. It was never mentioned by Netdata in any communications previous to the report below that they had a known issue of latency and poor performance.
“Hopefully, their upgrades will solve the performance issues.
“Bobby Powell, Montgomery County IT, Network and Operations Manager”
On August 10, 2015, Shirley, the IT Director, provided Wayne Mack all of the information from NetData and from Network and Operations Manager Bobby Powell showing that NetData’s performance problems arose on NetData’s servers and did not arise from any problem inside of Montgomery County.
Mack’s, Metts’, and Doyal’s coverup
Amazingly, even though NetData, Powell, Shirley, and numerous court employees all recognized the “poor performance” of the NetData system, on August 28, 2015, Mack wrote a pointed reply to Shirley and, of course, carefully noted that his name was not “Wayne” as Shirley had addressed him but “Judge Wayne L. Mack.” In Mack’s reply, he stated:
“Your mention of ‘poor performance’ maybe [sic] an industry term. I do however [sic] take exception with your description in your email of the ‘poor performance of the Netdata JP application” we [sic] have had no ‘poor performance’ other than trying to resolve upload and download internet speeds.”
Mack failed to note in his August 28 reply that the NetData software had become a major problem for court personnel and that the fee and fine collections for the four JP courts that utilized NetData and Graves Humphries Stahl lagged substantially behind all other courts in the County but most especially Judge Connelly’s Justice of the Peace Court in Precinct 3.
By September 1, 2015, all of the foregoing correspondence, including the NetData report revealing the problems with its system, came before Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and his “chief of staff” jim fredricks. They received a summary email as well as all of the specific emails described above.
They took no action whatsoever to protect the taxpayers from this ensuing financial disaster.
Metts’ bizarre performance on June 28, 2016, before the Commissioners Court
It’s not entirely clear why, but on June 28, 2016, Metts appeared before the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to present a very strange rant, which included the following comments:
“I got a little bit nervous [about the renewal of NetData’s contract with the County]…
“Let me be clear to anybody that I don’t want anything to do with Tyler Technologies [which is the County’s other court database vendor serving the other fourteen courts]…and I’m not going to use it in the future…
“Would you care to know what NetData cost the taxpayers of Montgomery County? Zero. It’s satisfactory and we’re pleased with it.
“I never faced so much opposition and disregard for trying to do something good for the county I love, and it didn’t cost anything…”
The video of Mett’ strange performance before the Commissioners on June 28, 2016, is one, which every citizen in East Montgomery County and probably the rest of the County as well, should watch. The link to the video is at the bottom of this article.
Meets failed to tell the Commissioners Court or the public during his bizarre speech on June 28:
- NetData costs the taxpayers of Montgomery County enormous amounts in the form of collection fees paid to Graves Humphries Stahl law firm.
- NetData is costing the taxpayers of Montgomery County millions of dollars in the form of the poor collection of fines and fees of the four JP courts – Mack’s #1, Metts’ #4, and the other two – in comparison to the collections in Connelly’s JP #3 court.
- Even Mack acknowledged that NetData was slow with respect to upload and download Internet speeds.
- The four JP courts and their staffs have experienced major system problems with NetData’s performance that required enormous investments of time and County money only to discover that all of the problems arose inside of NetData’s servers that had nothing to do with the County’s IT Department.
The coverup continues
Although it’s not surprising in a County government where Doyal has tried to conceal almost everything going on inside the free-spending wasteful government operations he has failed to manage, Doyal did not respond to Metts that Metts’ statements on June 28, 2016, were completely untrue.
Instead, Doyal has joined with Metts and Mack to cover up and fail to disclose to the other members of the Commissioners Court or to the public the gigantic problems which the NetData system has caused within the Montgomery County government.
The video of Metts’ June 28, 2016 rant which every citizen should watch