Conroe, November 26 – Embattled Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal has included an agenda item that would permit him to hire another consulting firm for the Montgomery County to prepare a “strategic plan” for the County. In a November 20, 2017, memorandum, Doyal incorrectly claimed that he is “serving in essence as the county’s CEO.”
Doyal has proposed spending in excess of $50,000 on the “strategic plan.” What he obviously doesn’t understand, since he has worked as government employee almost his entire career, is that chief executive officers are precisely the people who formulate strategic plans with the approval of the board of directors in private companies.
In reality, Doyal is not the “county’s CEO.” Under Article 5 of the Texas Constitution, the County Judge, when he does not hear cases in the constitutional county court (if he’s not a licensed attorney), presides over the Commissioners Court and does little else. Article 5, Section 18, of the Texas Constitution also provides that the entire Commissioners Court “shall exercise such powers and jurisdiction over all county business.” In other words, it’s the Commissioners Court, not the County Judge, which acts as the strategic planning organization under the Texas Constitution.
On January 26, 2015, the Commissioners Court voted 3 (Doyal, Riley, Meador) to 1 (Noack), with Clark absent, to approve a reorganization of the County government to put County Departments under the direction of the County Judge. It’s questionable whether that’s legal, but theoretically, that’s how Montgomery County operates.
As a practical matter, Doyal does not direct County Departments hardly at all other than to threaten them with sanctions if they provide information to the outside world. Doyals’ almost full-time golf schedule means that he is rarely in his office or in County facilities. Doyal has a so-called “chief of staff,” jim fredricks, who supervises Doyal’s two secretaries. fredricks, however, naps most afternoons and also has a real estate company which he operates on the side, despite receiving a County salary in excess of $118,000 per year.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that Doyal wants to hire another outside consulting firm to formulate a “strategic plan” for the County government. Doyal doesn’t have the time or the background to provide such leadership.
Doyal has recommended Partners for Strategic Action, Inc., a consulting firm which charged the Woodlands Township $49,500 for a “strategic plan.” Doyal has suggested that the County Purchasing Department open the process up for bids. That process, and the ultimate winning bidder, will likely become a new source of campaign and criminal legal defense fund contributions for Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley.
There’s a more fundamental problem with the freespending Doyal’s proposal to hire someone to prepare a “strategic plan” for Montgomery County. There’s simply no need. Running a County government is not a version of the computer game “Sim City.” In fact, the County government has limited functions: public safety, providing a jail, and providing roads.
What’s particularly troubling, in light of the fact that the County has made such minimal progress on the November 2015 road bond referendum projects, is that Montgomery County has failed to prepare and adopt a Countywide mobility plan. That’s what Montgomery County needs; not a “strategic plan.” Conservative Republican political activist Bill O’Sullivan who is truly a mobility expert, Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark, and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack have all called for a Countywide mobility plan, but their calls have fallen on the “deaf ears” of Doyal, Riley, and wild-spending Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador.
There’s also a strong likelihood that Doyal will not even be the County Judge of Montgomery County after January 1, 2019. He already faces one criminal indictment. A Montgomery County Grand Jury is investigating other charges against him. Citizens have grown increasingly frustrated with Doyal’s wasteful spending, failure to manage the County Budget, crass nepotism, conflicts of interest, and special interests who clearly control him.
Beginning a “strategic plan,” which is entirely unnecessary, is also premature until after the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, which will determine the direction of Montgomery County for the near future.