Image: Disgraced former Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport (left) and corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport, who is under criminal indictment.
Conroe, February 21 – Precinct 4 Montgomery County Commissioner James Metts, the corrupt, could not find one person among the more than 140,000 citizens who live and vote in Precinct 4 (East Montgomery County) to appoint to the Airport Advisory Board. Instead, Metts has nominated disgraced former Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport, who was easily one of the worst County Treasurers Montgomery County has ever suffered and whose terrible management practices continue to haunt her successor’s efforts to clean up the Treasurer’s Office.
Here are Davenport’s qualifications to serve on an Airport Advisory Board, for a failing airport facility which loses more than $688,278 per year:
- She has never held a pilot’s license or had any involvement whatsoever in managing or overseeing the terminal services or operations of an airport;
- Before she went to work as a County employee, she had worked in a secretarial service;
- She never graduated from college;
- While stating publicly that “nepotism is an abuse of power,” she pushed through a “reorganization” of the tiny County Treasurer’s Office clearly for the sole purpose of giving former County Judge Craig Doyal’s daughter a promotion and raise;
- After two citizens – Melanie Bush and Justin Pulliam – requested a copy of Davenport’s office procedure manual for the County Treasurer’s Office in late 2017, Davenport attempted to claim it was a “trade secret,” and, against the direct advice of Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright, sought a ruling from the Texas Attorney General that Davenport was entitled to withhold her office procedure manual as a secret from the public;
- Attorney General Ken Paxton then ordered Davenport to produce the office procedure manual but redact social security numbers and personal information therein before providing the document as public information;
- Davenport was so completely incompetent as Montgomery County Treasurer that she produced the procedure manual with all of the social security numbers and personal information of eighty-eight current and former County employees in the document she produced, eventually costing Montgomery County enormous funds in trying to provide some sort of privacy protection to the harmed employees.
- Davenport lost re-election as Montgomery County Treasurer in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election when her challenger Melanie Pryor Bush, now the County Treasurer, defeated Davenport’s re-election effort 66% to 33%.
- In Davenport’s attempted re-election, even former County Treasurer Martha Gustavsen, for whom Davenport had worked, endorsed Bush over Davenport.
In fact, the reality is that, at this point, Davenport’s sole claim to any sort of County government appointment is the fact that she is married to the corrupt local political boss who managed Metts’ campaign and that she is a member of the Davenport Ring, the group of corrupt politicians who followed the direction of Marc Davenport.
The Montgomery County Airport continues to struggle. Rather than bringing any sort of economic development to the area around it or to Montgomery County, the Airport has been a gigantic money loser for taxpayers in its 80 year history. The Airport has never even supported its own meager operations.
Putting Davenport, an incompetent former official who has no airport or management skills whatsoever, on the Airport Advisory Board makes a complete mockery of the Airport Department which has already done such work making a mockery of itself.
Furthermore, it’s a direct insult to the citizens of East Montgomery County that Metts wouldn’t nominate someone from Commissioners Precinct 4. Metts, as Commissioner, refuses ever to meet with people who come to his office to see him. Metts only rarely makes public appearances in carefully-controlled events where regular citizens never have an opportunity to get close enough to him to communicate with him. It’s, therefore, no wonder that Metts doesn’t know anyone among the 140,000-plus citizens of Precinct 4 whom Metts could appoint to the Airport Advisory Board position.
The Montgomery County Code of Ethics, the weak and completely unenforceable document the Commissioners Court adopted in February, 2017, in order to continue eligibility for Texas Department of Transportation grant funds contains a provision: “Non-elected department heads should not knowingly hire any person who has served as a Montgomery County elected official in the previous year.” Clearly, Davenport was an elected official in 2018 (although one might argue that she didn’t actually “serve” in that position while still drawing a paycheck). The question, however, is whether the appointment of Davenport to the Airport Advisory Board constitutes “hiring” her by the Airport Department head who is not elected himself.
In his Contract with Montgomery County, County Judge Mark Keough assured voters that “I will end the practice of granting preferential treatment to elected officials and their employees that does not apply to the citizens of this county.”
One of the best ways that Judge Keough and his colleagues can show some seriousness about ethics would be for them to act ethically. That goes way beyond just voting “no” with respect to this crazy nomination. In this instance, Keough and any members of the Commissioners Court who claims to have any sense of ethics should ensure that Metts’ disgusting nomination of his fellow-Davenport Ring member to a Board for which she is wholly unqualified never seen the light of day.
Neither Metts nor Davenport returned calls seeking comment.