Image: Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack at the December 12, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting.
Conroe, December 13 – Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack is the 6th most powerful person in Montgomery County.
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, continues the tradition of listing the Power Top Ten, the ten most powerful people in Montgomery County. The Power Top Ten doesn’t commemorate the ten best people in Montgomery County necessarily, but the most powerful people who are actually able to accomplish political or policy goals. In other words, they can get things done.
At the end of this month, we’ll also commemorate the “Person of the Year Award” for the Montgomery County person who was responsible in 2017 for the most positive change for our community and the “Mad Cow Award” for the worst elected official in Montgomery County during 2017. If you have suggestions, please send them to us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We will treat your suggestion in confidence.
To begin the Power Top Ten this year, The Golden Hammer has already named:
#7 Conroe Independent School District Superintendent Don Stockton
#8 Sheriff Rand Henderson
#9 418th District Judge Tracy Gilbert
#10 State Senator Brandon Creighton.
Power Top Ten #6: Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack
James Noack is very a politician caught at the cross-roads of Montgomery County politics. He has been one of the strongest voices for the citizens countywide. While he represents Precinct 3, The Woodlands and south-central Montgomery County, conservative political activists have clearly felt most comfortable with Noack among the members of the Commissioners Court.
For a long time, Noack, who is in his fifth year as a County Commissioner, was a dissenter. Noack successfully led many of the reforms of the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. Noack fought County Judge Craig Doyal for a long time on Doyal’s centralization of County Department management under the County Judge’s Office. Noack rightfully embarrassed Doyal and County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport for their secretive attempt to give Doyal’s daughter a promotion in the guise of a “reorganization” of Davenport’s 6-person County Department.
Noack has consistently opposed the Decimation of Hope Highway, the $73 million, 3.6-mile, Tx-249 Tollway. He also intervened when Doyal and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador tried to terminate County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw earlier this year after Shaw and her staff had put their feet down and refused to condone Davenport’s attempted nepotistic promotion of Doyal’s daughter.
Prior to the County Budget hearings, Noack showed the County Auditor, Phyllis Martin, how to go about defeasing several of the County government’s bond obligations. The resulting reduction in debt service is the sole reason the Commissioners Court did not have to raise the tax rate during the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget process, because, under Doyal’s direction, the government expenditures budget is the highest in the history of Montgomery County.
Where Noack has truly shined the most, however, has been as a project manager within his Commissioner’s Precinct. Precinct 3’s record of road service, taking care of road bond projects, and responding to the Tropical Storm Harvey disaster showed great management and organizational skills on Noack’s part.
For a while during calendar year 2017, it appeared that Noack would move up substantially on the Power Top Ten list. Noack has tried too hard since the beginning of the County Budget hearings to get along with the “establishment” members of the Commissioners Court. They’ve begun to overrun him, because Noack just hasn’t shown a willingness to stand up for his beliefs, as he used to do so. By trying to get along, Noack has carried it too far and has allowed Doyal and Meador to run roughshod over conservative principles of management and budgeting upon which Noack had previously insisted.
Noack is very intelligent and, when he wants to be, very friendly. He needs to figure out how he can stand on his principles – and the principles of his political base – without acting discourteously. Despite those minor problems, Noack can definitely get a lot of things done and has done so.