Image: Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts, February 27, 2017.
New Caney, July 19 – In the United States Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) formal Determination, dated, February 3, 2009, involving the sexual harassment Charge which former Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace employee Delonna Snow filed against Montgomery County arising out of the conduct of Judge James Metts, the EEOC referred to a bizarre set of facts: “Charging Party [Snow] alleges, on an occasion that she rejected his [Metts’] advances and refused his offer of money, he threatened to hit her.”
“Charging Party [Snow] alleges, on an occasion that she rejected his [Metts’] advances and refused his offer of money, he threatened to hit her.”
Snow made a similar allegation in her lawsuit filed in federal court against Montgomery County that “Judge Metts became agitated and threatened to strike” Snow.
How does someone go from making romantic advances towards a lady to threatening to strike her? It’s difficult to imagine what those circumstances could even be.
There seems to be a prevailing attitude among many elected officials in the County government “establishment,” that is best described as “entitlement.” “Entitlement” is a social term referring to a belief that, because a person is in a position of authority, he or she is entitled to certain favors or rights that ordinary people do not otherwise have.
Noted author Jon Krakauer published his book Missoula, a national bestseller, last year and examined how sexual harassment and rape cases are often handled poorly on college campuses, particularly the University of Montana. In the book and in subsequent presentations he made about it, Krakauer discussed that entitlement is often the cause of workplace harassment, both sexual and non-sexual. People in authority positions mistake their authority as much broader than it actually is.
Let’s be fair to Judge Metts
It’s important to note that the EEOC made specific factual findings in their formal Determination against Montgomery County as a result of Judge Metts’ conduct. The EEOC did find that Metts subjected Snow to sexual harassment and to a sexual hostile work environment. They also found that he asked her for dates, offered her gifts and money and created the impression among other staff that he and Snow were romantically involved. Under the EEOC Determination, Metts also created a sexually hostile environment by discussing his sex life in Snow’s presence. The EEOC found that Metts and thereby Montgomery County violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as a result.
The EEOC did not, however, find that Metts actually threatened to hit or strike Snow after his amorous advances; instead, they only noted in their Determination that Snow made that allegation.
Entitlement in JP4
Based upon the factual determination of EEOC, Metts conducted himself with an attitude that showed he felt he was entitled to discuss intimate details in front of a staff person, even though he had nothing close to an intimate relationship with her. Fundamentally, that’s the problem with Metts’ behavior the EEOC found. It’s the feeling that he’s entitled to favors and other things beyond the limited authority of his job.
Entitlement seems to be a common attitude among elected officials who are members of the political “establishment.” Here are some examples of displays of entitlement:
- On April 10, 2013, Metts abused his power as a judge by filing a lawsuit in his own court on behalf of “Montgomery County” where he sued Montgomery County Information Technology Department Director Marshall Shirley. Metts acted as the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s lawyer, and the judge in the same case in which he issued an illegal injunction order where he ordered Shirley to turn over government files, records, data and information to a private law firm. JP courts do not have jurisdiction or power to issue injunctions. Please see “Picture of Corruption: Judge Metts Files Lawsuit Where Montgomery County Sues Montgomery, Metts Acts as Plaintiff, Plaintiff’s Attorney, Judge All in Same Case (The Davenports, Part 16),” The Golden Hammer, July 7, 2017.
- On June 28, 2016, Metts appeared before the Commissioners Court to discuss the NetData software and related collections contract, which is costing Montgomery County taxpayers at least $3.5 million per year. Metts made clear that he was entitled to his high salary and that people should appreciate him for what he does for them. The video is disturbing, to say the least. In the context of Metts’ feelings of entitlement, his comments are much easier to understand. The full video is below.
- The reaction of Metts and some of his supporters to serious issues concerning the waste of tax dollars in his Court has been bizarre, to say the very least. It’s been even more bizarre regarding the $45,000 Montgomery County taxpayers paid to settle Snow’s lawsuit against Montgomery County arising from Metts’ behavior. Some of Metts’ supporters first came to the defense of their friend in pointing out what a good man they think he is. That’s fine, and no one can fault them for being loyal to a friend. Even friends, however, can make mistakes, which, when they’re in public office, do not deserve to be swept under the rug. When the declarations of friendship with Metts seemed to fall on deaf ears because they lacked substantive discussion of the serious EEOC fact findings, Metts’ supporters, including one person in his immediate family, began to attack Snow as acting out of retaliation. (Nowhere did the EEOC make any negative findings against Snow in their Determination.)
- Metts’ reaction on July 8, 2017, to the article in this newspaper about the lawsuit where he acted as the plaintiff, the plaintiff’s attorney, and the judge all on the same case, also revealed an attitude of entitlement. Metts essentially admitted all of the wrongdoing but claimed the he also acted on behalf of Justices of the Peace Lanny Moriarty (then-Precinct 1), Trey Spikes (Precinct 2), and Matt Masden (Precinct 5). Metts’ response follows:
On June 21, 2017, Metts, through his so-called “Communications Coordinator,” lied and claimed the file where he, on behalf of Montgomery County sued the County, did not exist. The Golden Hammer obtained the file through two confidential sources. The County’s legacy computer system shows the lawsuit file number.
The most common example of entitlement
There are numerous examples where people who should be “public servants” act with a feeling of entitlement. In fact, there’s a very common one that citizens must watch all the time: when elected officials recognize each other at public meetings but fail to recognize their real superiors on the organizational chart.
In the real world, the citizens are supposed to be the boss. Elected officials are public servants. They serve the public. In fact, the organizational chart in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget of Montgomery County reflects precisely that relationship:
It might make sense for a meeting of the Montgomery County Republican Party Executive Committee to recognize the Republican elected officials and candidates attending the meeting. Nevertheless, at a regular social function, doesn’t it seem strange that the introductions by elected officials are always only of other elected officials? The voters are at the top of the organizational chart, but they’re never introduced. Are elected officials entitled to some sort of special treatment?
Elected officials are our servants. We’re just regular citizens, but the elected officials who take the oath of office become public servants. Servants should mean that they serve us, not that we must bow to them.
Metts and his supporters, especially his political consultant, have made clear that Metts will run for Precinct 4 County Commissioner against incumbent Jim Clark and Bob Bagley in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. Therefore, this newspaper decided to try to speak to all three of those candidates for the Precinct 4 Commissioner’s job about “entitlement.” Metts wouldn’t return telephone calls. Incumbent County Commissioner Jim Clark and Montgomery County Hospital District Board member Bob Bagley did, however, speak to The Golden Hammer.
Both Bagley and Clark told The Golden Hammer that they do not believe that have ever been in a circumstance where they were “entitled” to a romantic relationship. In fact, both Bagley and Clark stated that they don’t believe they’ve ever been “entitled” to anything as a result of their position. Both also had interesting answers to this newspaper’s final question, “Do you believe elected officials are a special class of people over and above the rest?” Their answers follow:
Bagley: “As an elected official, I’m more answerable for my actions than private citizens. I’m not special at all.”
Clark: “As the Commissioner, I answer to the citizens. They don’t answer to me. That’s my definition of a public servant.”
The video of Metts’ June 28, 2016 rant which every citizen should watch