Image: Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador partying it up at his secret “camp party” with his financial contributors and political friends.
Willis, May 14 – Montgomery County Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador’s budget and management of his Precinct road and bridge operations are completely haywire. Expenditure data The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, recently obtained under a Texas Open Records Act request, reveal that Meador has poorly managed his Precinct and its budget.
This article is the first of a four-part series covering the budget and management of each of the Commissioners Precincts. Charlie Riley’s Precinct 2 will appear tomorrow, Monday, May 15.
Meador’s focus is the County Airport and its immediate vicinity to the detriment of the remainder of the sprawling Commissioners Precinct 1 that extends westward across Lake Conroe to the northwest corner of this beautiful County. Meador has failed to take care of road needs in his Precinct, even though roads and bridges are the primary responsibility of a county commissioner. (Please see “Willis’ Deer Haven Village: What The H, Commissioner Meador?!”, The Golden Hammer, January 27, 2017). At the same time, Meador has over budgeted and accumulated a massive slush fund that makes his spending without any reasonable accountability. (Please see “Commissioner Meador Transmogrifies Multimillion Dollar Road Fund Into ‘Slush'”, The Golden Hammer, January 27, 2017). In short, Meador fails to follow or stay within a budget. In the Commissioners Court, Meador has hardly ever met a spending proposal he doesn’t like.
The adopted Fiscal Year 2017 County Budget for Meador’s Department, Account 612, was $8,018,577 for the 61 employees of his sprawling “do nothing” operation. Among Meador’s employees is the infamous Jule Puckett, the administrative assistant whom Meador pays more than $130,000 per year, plus County benefits, by mis-classifying her as a non-exempt employee.
Meador is the Master of the Budget Amendment. The Budget process, supposedly involving public hearings, public discussion, and open votes is completely irrelevant to Meador. Despite the $8.018 million budget passed for Meador’s Precinct on September 6, 2016, through secretive Budget Amendments, usually with little or no explanation and never with any discussion in the Commissioners Court, Meador’s Fiscal Year 2017 Budget now stand at $12,988,224.51, a 62% increase!
Even with all of those secretive budget increases, Meador cannot stay within his amended Precinct Budget. As of May 11, 2017, 223 days, or 61.1% into the Fiscal Year, Meador has spent 143% of his Salary/Overtime budget of $71,949.48. The overage is $21,545.48.
Meador has spent 435% of his Employee Insurance budget! (No other Precinct has that problem.) Meador has spent 176% of his Sand/Gravel/Rock budget, even though he’s way behind on road maintenance. Perhaps, that sand, gravel, and rock went to beautify the locations where he’s planted flowers at the Montgomery County Airport, his Precinct Office, and other Precinct 1 buildings. Meador has spent 101% of his Professional Services budget, a reflection of his addiction to giving money to his favorite political contributors.
Meador has spent 106% of his Mobile Telephone budget, even though only 61.1% of the Fiscal Year has passed. Meador has also spent 337% of his Equipment Rental budget for Fiscal Year 2017. He’s spent 133% of his Capital Outlay-Buildings budget.
Remember that Fiscal Year 2017 is 61.1% complete. Therefore, Meador’s expenditures of 90% of his Equipment Operations budget, 92% of his Uniforms budget, and 100% of his Equipment Lease/Purchase budget are rather worrisome.
What’s also worrisome is that Meador has only spent 30% of his $1.564 million asphalt and road materials budget, showing the reason why no roads get done in Precinct 1 (unless they are named the “Mike Meador Parkway.”)
What’s even more worrisome is the fact that County Auditor Phyllis Martin is apparently just as sound asleep in following Meador’s expenditures within his Precinct budget as Meador so obviously is.