Conroe, December 8 – Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal has made clear that he intends to violate the Texas Open Meetings Act (“TOMA”), a statute he has repeatedly asserted in legal filings he does understand. The violation, which Doyal plans, will occur right before the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, December 12, 2017, when Doyal and Michael Heimer, a County employee, are planning to have a secret meeting in the form of “a light breakfast in the break room of the Judge’s office for” the five members of the Commissioners Court.
Texas Government Code Section 551.002 provides, “Every regular, special, or called meeting of a governmental body shall be open to the public…” While there are some exceptions for executive sessions, having a “light breakfast” together is not one of them.
Doyal has made clear, in multiple court filings in the criminal case pending against him, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and local political boss Marc Davenport, that they claim not to understand what they maintain are very difficult concepts in TOMA. Doyal has now made clear with his posting of the December 12, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting agenda that he does not understand the complexity of the language, “Every regular, special, or called meeting of a governmental body shall be open to the public…”
Perhaps, Doyal is unaware that TOMA includes the following within the definition of the term “meeting” in Section 551.001(4) of the Texas Government Code: “Meeting means…a gathering…at which a quorum of members of the governmental body is present…”
Within Doyal’s agenda for the December 12 Commissioners Court meeting, he has included another one of his hyper political “proclamations” the entire language of which is “2017 Making A Difference Proclamation.” The entire backup material for the “proclamation” is a memorandum from County employee Michael Heimer to Doyal stating that the Extension Agent County Department staff “will be hosting a light breakfast in the break room of the Judge’s office for yourself and the Commissioners prior to court.”
Not even Doyal can be so obtuse not to realize – at this point in his career – that he and Heimer have included a violation of TOMA’s open meetings requirement which would constitute “official misconduct” and a criminal offense.