The Inflicted Tragedy of the Montgomery County Animal Shelter

Montgomery County Animal Shelter looking great on April 4, 2017. Are troubled times ahead?

Conroe, April 5 – On March 24, 2017, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and his “chief of staff” jim fredricks decided to inflict a new tragedy on the Montgomery County Animal Shelter (“MCAS”). The hyper political Doyal determined to chase away Charles W. Jackson, MCAS’ Director, by summoning him to a secret meeting in Doyal’s Conroe office, accusing Jackson, without any evidence whatsoever, of being a “bigot,” a “homophone,” and a “racist,” and reflecting Doyal’s additional paranoia to the accusations by accusing Jackson of permitting Doyal’s political nemesis, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, to “make all your [Jackson’s] hiring and firing decisions.

Jackson resigned as MCAS Director four (4) days later and accepted an outstanding job offer elsewhere that’s been available to him for several years. Jackson’s last day with Montgomery County will be Friday, April 14, 2017. He’ll have served as MCAS Director 134 days.

Noack confirmed the entire story publicly on Monday, April 3, 2017, before a large group. “Charles Jackson is a chain-of-command kind of guy with a military background. Once his boss, Doyal, showed a complete lack of confidence in him, Jackson took another job elsewhere that he’d been holding in his back pocket for a long time,” Noack said.

The tragedy of the Animal Shelter continues.

After former Constable Tim Holifield sold the private contractor, Care Corporation, to an unpopular pair of veterinarians, the County government took the Shelter’s operations back and turned them over to rookie Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark, who had been a commissioner for less than a month at the time. Under Clark’s oversight, the Animal Shelter was a disaster. Clark is on a steep learning curve as a public servant. The MCAS disaster has taught him the importance of listening to citizens who knew a lot more about how to run an animal shelter than did he or his chosen “director,” Todd “Boss” Hayden.

Under Hayden’s watch, the Animal Shelter became a sight for several animal abuse, filth, mis-treatment of volunteers, and wholesale chasing of volunteers away. Since animal shelters depend upon volunteers for their operations and for successful adoptions, the miserable animal population under Hayden swelled to over 700 animals on average, although Hayden satisfied some bizarre need for “lebensraum” (space) by euthanizing animals, even puppies and kittens, by the dozens daily. It was sick.

After both animal activists and political conservatives joined forces, under the leadership of Laurie Elliott, Bill O’Sullivan, Jacqueline Beaton, Geoff Litke, Minda Harris, Robbie Benson, and several others, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack finally stepped in and led the insurgency to force the County government finally to hire a new Director.

On December 12, 2016, Jackson began as the latest Animal Shelter Director. It was like the parting of the Red Sea in the change of attitude, scenery, and animal care at the facility. Jackson cleaned the place. He improved the morale of the employees almost instantly. He got rid of the employees with sour attitudes. He raised money to support an aggressive adoption program for the Christmas holidays. He brought into the Animal Shelter the customer service ideas of Chick-Fil-A, a fast food restaurant known nationwide for outstanding customer service. By the end of 2016, the average population of MCAS plunged to approximately 300 animals!

Jackson and MCAS still had a long way to go in many respects at the Shelter. Nevertheless, the great improvements there were stark. Just yesterday, the condition of the entire facility was terrific. The animals were clear and generally looked healthy. A new surgical area in the back has served as a superb success for animal treatment and care. Employees seem focused and happy.

Jackson, however, made a terrible “mistake.” As a newcomer to Montgomery County and the hyper politics imposed by the power-starved County Judge Craig Doyal, and the willingness of Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley and Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador to ignore major problems, Jackson worked closely with one person who was a political pariah in the eyes of the “Establishment” which political consultant Marc Davenport and Doyal seem to lead and represent together: Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack from The Woodlands.

Noack doesn’t fit in the County government. He listens to his constituents. He’s open. He’s honest. He’s forthright. He dares to dissent when he believes the majority is wrong. He also supported the Animal Shelter and became a giant advocate for Jackson, the Shelter, and the animals.

Doyal, the progenitor of the “Hit List,” on which Noack is one of the names, found the relationship between Jackson and Noack unacceptable. Since Riley and Meador have continued to permit Doyal to concentrate power as County Judge, in violation of the Texas Constitution which gives management and oversight of the County government to the entire County Commissioners Court, Doyal took it upon himself on March 24, 2017, to violate Section 2.10 of the County Employee Policy Manual and investigate some baseless garbage which some of Noack’s and Jackson’s political opponents decided to throw. If there were actually some sort of problem with Jackson, then an investigation should have occurred through the Human Resources Department and the professional Dodi Shaw, its Director, and her wonderful assistant Kathy Flowers. But Shaw and Flowers wouldn’t bring such charges against Jackson, because there simply was no basis whatsoever for the allegations. Doyal and fredricks cornered Jackson in a secret meeting in Doyal’s office.

Doyal and fredricks inflicted the latest tragedy upon the animals of the Shelter and upon the taxpayers and citizens who care about the animals and about the money spent in the County government.

The one thing that is as clear as a bell: Doyal and fredricks should be nowhere near the process to select the next Director in the tragic line of Directors of the Montgomery County Animal Shelter. Neither the animals nor the citizens can bear this abuse any longer.

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