Conroe, August 18 – Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner candidate Gregory Parker called for “punitive” ethics reforms concerned nepotism and conflicts of interest for the entire County government. Nepotism has been a particularly strong issue in the Precinct of County Commissioner Charlie Riley, whom Parker and local businessman Brian Dawson are challenging, after Riley created a new County position for his wife, Deanne, and then filled her with the job. Riley recused himself on the vote to give his wife the job but he actually sponsored the proposal to create the job for her in the first place.
Parker told The Golden Hammer, “As I have traveled Precinct Two, I have found that the citizens are truly concerned by the current commissioner Charlie Riley’s conflict of interest and nepotism problems. To address these issues I believe the County government must take two actions immediately.”
First, Parker has called for the County to pass a strict ethics rule that “No immediate relatives of any Commissioner or the County Judge should work for the County government in any capacity.” That rule would eliminate jobs for Commissioner Riley’s wife, County Judge Craig Doyal’s daughter, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador’s brother.
There is quite a lot of other nepotism in the Montgomery County government. The Building Maintenance Department, in particular, resembles a scene from the movie “Deliverance.”
Second, Parker called for “the reduction of the perception of conflicts of interest and pay-for-play schemes with road contracts. Owners, partners, or political action committees of construction companies or engineering firms that donate to any member of the Commissioners Court should be restricted from doing business with the County for one year.”
Parker’s anti-conflicts-of-interest proposal would wipe out a slew of businesses in this community. Russell and Amy Miller own Fairweather Construction, which has relied almost entirely on County contracts from Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador. The Millers and Fairweather constructed almost all of the County buildings in Commissioners Precinct 1. The Millers regularly donate substantial contributions to Meador and have done some for years.
While the Meador-Miller relationship is particularly troubling, the pay-for-play practices of dozens of engineering firms and contractors actually involves a lot more money. Bobby Adams, John Holzwarth, Halff Associates engineers, Jones & Carter engineers, Rob Maxwell, Dannenbaum Engineering, LJA Associates and its president Jeff Cannon, Shou Ting Hu, and many others are regular contributors to the County Judge and Commissioners and regular recipients of lucrative road contracts with pricing substantial above market pricing.
Parker added, “While I have previously called for the Commissioners’ Court ethics policy to be more punitive, any and all policy proposals from candidates, while well intentioned, will still leave a significant question in the minds of voters. The question of whether or not the person they’ve elected will fulfill the campaign rhetoric and act with independence and objectivity when rubber meets the road is the critical issue. It’s clear the voters believe it’s about the actions elected officials take when confronted with ethical situations.”
Parked noted emphatically “While County Commissioner, I took on a corrupt government agency director, and won! While City Manager, I refused to commit nepotism or favoritism for city leaders and their cronies. Even when it meant the loss of my job, I did not succumb to the temptation of the ‘go-a-long’ to ‘get-a-long’ mindset. Actions speak louder than policy proposals and campaign rhetoric. I have proven that I will act with the citizens’ best interest in mind and not for the special interests. It’s time for real change!”