Conroe, June 10 – Montgomery County Treasurer Melanie Pryor Bush released a letter, which she addressed to the Montgomery County Commissioners and County Judge Mark Keough in which Bush asked them either to remove Agenda Item 9F1 or vote it down. Agenda Item 9F1 is the “Commissioners” item which would permit the County Commissioners to make staffing changes without Commissioners Court approval, even though all other elected servants and County Departments must obtain approval from the Commissioners Court.
The agenda item is the subject of yesterday’s article in The Golden Hammer: “Noack Places Worst Agenda Item (Possibly Ever) On June 11 Commissioners Court Agenda, Seeks To Hide Behind Consent Agenda, ‘Commissioners’, Budget Director,” The Golden Hammer, June 9, 2019.
In her first five months in office as County Treasurer, Bush has instituted several reforms in the County Treasurer’s Department which have shown her commitment to the taxpayers and to bringing reform and transparency to local government.
Her letter to the Commissioners Court, which Bush sent at 7:13 a.m. this morning, follows.
“Commissioners and Judge,“I am unable to be in court tomorrow, or I would be requesting to address you. I have such respect for each of you and it is with that respect that I feel deeply compelled to write this letter.“Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it ethical and certainly doesn’t make it the right. Legislation was passed in honor of JD Lambright to give us a real ethics policy in this county. JD was a man who stood for the right thing.“In my short time as a County Treasurer, I have learned that what is often good for the goose is not good for the gander in our county. And ethically that is wrong. But not only that, it causes distrust and a lack of confidence in the court and in our county.“Regarding Item 9 F 1 on the consent agenda of tomorrow’s court, why would it be ethical for you gentlemen to be able to make whatever changes to your office’s staffing that are budget neutral to “this year’s budget” without bringing it to the full court, but your fellow elected officials are not? According to the state structure we are equal, the difference is that you approve our budgets. What is good for the goose should be good for the gander. That is ethical. That is right. Whatever policies your fellow elected officials are held to, ethically should apply to you. That is right.“This policy would be open to massive abuse. A change could be made that is budget neutral this year but that causes massive ramifications for next budget year. You would never allow your fellow elected officials to do this without your approval. Why should you? This policy would be the opposite of transparent and open government.“Gentlemen, our county has a real opportunity to shift the course we have been on for decades – to look at all of our processes and procedures and to do the right thing, the ethical thing and to raise the bar for counties across the state. Please stand tall and proud by making the ethical choice in Court, not just the easy or convenient, legally-allowed choice. Make the right choice and either remove this item or vote it down.“Again, I wish I could be there tomorrow to address you face to face. And please do know this is being sent with the highest level of respect for each of you.“Thank you,
“Melanie BushMontgomery County Treasurer”