Conroe, December 7 – 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:
#9 418th District Judge Tracy Gilbert
#10 State Senator Brandon Creighton.
Power Top Ten #8: Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson
Sheriff Henderson came into office on January 1, 2017, and has already brought enormous changes to the Sheriff’s Office in Montgomery County. Some of his changes have been good and some not so.
Henderson was #10 on last year’s Power Top Ten list. He’s moved up, because he’s now the Sheriff rather than merely the Sheriff-Elect. As Sheriff, Henderson is the Department head for approximately 800 fine people providing law enforcement to the Montgomery County community. More than 500 of those individuals are sworn peace officers. As the boss to more than one-third of the employees in the entire County government, Henderson enjoys gravitas.
Before the voters elected Henderson Sheriff in 2016, he worked his way up inside the Sheriff’s Office from an entry-level Deputy to a Captain under former Sheriff Tommy Gage. Henderson was Gage’s hand-picked successor, so it was pretty easy for Henderson to win election, especially since the vast majority of the individuals in the Sheriff’s Office hoped Henderson would not bring as much change as an outsider might.
Henderson has done a good job bringing the concept of community policing to the Sheriff’s Office. There are some excellent individuals Henderson has appointed to serve as Captains on his leadership team. Henderson has such a strong background as a law enforcement officer himself that he’s been able to attract a number of excellent peace officers from outside of Montgomery County to come to work as leaders under Henderson’s command.
There have been visible changes at the Sheriff’s Office since Henderson took over as its leader. The uniforms are blue instead of brown. The appearance of the Sheriff’s vehicles has begun to change with a more modern look. Henderson provided an outstanding strategic plan to the Commissioners Court for consideration and approval. He also did a strong job with his Fiscal Year 2018 Budget and has assured the citizens that he’ll implement zero-based budgeting for the next budget year.
There are some concerns with Henderson already, however, as well. There’s enough unhappiness among many of the peace officers with Henderson’s personal style and with some of the new personnel policies he’s implemented that it has begun to leak to the world outside of the Department. A far more significant concern is Henderson’s slavish adherence to the directions of corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport and Henderson’s willingness to allow Davenport to see and hear the contents of law enforcement investigation files during ongoing investigations. Regardless of how indebted Henderson may feel he is to Davenport for help in winning the 2016 election, Henderson should try to be his own man. He certainly has the personal talent to be an outstanding Sheriff. Henderson showed earlier this year that his office should not be involved in public integrity investigations, because Henderson is far too political.
Henderson can get a lot accomplished and has already done so. The new Sheriff works closely with many other law enforcement agencies to bring a high level of public safety to the Montgomery County community. Many representatives of those agencies appreciate the strong dedication Henderson brings to the job of law enforcement.
If Henderson could eschew the politics (and Davenport), he could be one of the great Sheriffs in Montgomery County’s history. As the leader of more than one-third of the personnel of the Montgomery County government, he most certainly can already accomplish a lot.