Conroe, February 9, – There will no longer be pre-meeting meetings to discuss the County Commissioners Court agenda for fear that those meetings potentially violated the Texas Open Meetings Act. Habitually, County Judge Craig Doyal and his staff had sent out drafts of the Commissioners Court agenda on the Thursday before Tuesday Commissioners Court meetings around 11 a.m. and invite the members of the Commissioners Court or their staffs to attend a 3:00 p.m. meeting at Doyal’s office – behind closed doors – to discuss the agenda and to discuss potential items thereon. Doyal and his staff invited County Department heads to some of the meetings as well. County Commissioners and Judge Doyal would often attend the meetings, even though they had a quorum of the Commissioners Court or had a quorum of representatives of the members of the Commissioners Court.
After intense public complaints about the practice, Doyal and his staff made clear – once again, in secret behind the scenes of the County government – that they would no longer follow the practice. Instead, County Attorney Jerry Don “Ice Man” Lambright will conduct a review of the Commissioners Court meeting agenda after Doyal receives requests for agenda items from the members of the Commissioners Court. As usual, Doyal’s staff will post the formal Commissioners Court meeting agenda late during the Friday afternoon before the Tuesday meetings.
Three of the five Commissioners Court members – Doyal, County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and County Commissioner Jim Clark – are under indictment for allegedly violating the Open Meetings Act, which, if found guilty, would constitute “Official Misconduct” making them subject to removal from office.
The Golden Hammer will provide further coverage of the upcoming Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, February 14, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., as developments occur.