ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer
Grangerland, May 5 – The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has confirmed that Precinct 4 Operations Manager Tracy Willett instructed a Montgomery County government dump truck to take road materials to his home outside of Grangerland on Thursday, May 4, 2017. The materials appear to be dirt and road fill from visual observation of Willett’s property.
The value of the approximately 3 yards of dirt and dump truck services is approximately $300, according to several sources who provided estimates to The Golden Hammer, including Home Depot. Willett ordered the County dump truck driver, also an employee of the Commissioner Precinct 4, Jim Clark, to deliver the materials under Willett’s supervision during County work time. There is no indication that Clark knew any of these activities were happening at the time. The value estimate does not include the value of Willett’s supervision of the delivery. Willett earns $97,496.97 in salary, plus substantial County benefits.
Willett has worked for Precinct 4 for 2 years. Prior to that, he worked for County Commissioner Charlie Riley and County Commissioner Craig Doyal, now County Judge, in Precinct 2. Willett has worked for Montgomery County approximately 30 years. Former Precinct 2 employee Melissa Goetz wrote a letter to Doyal in April, 2012, in which she listed in lengthy detail accusations that Precinct 2 employees, including Doyal and Riley, allegedly used County government property and employee services for private purposes, including their yards and political campaigns.
The theft of property and services valued at $300 is a Class A misdemeanor if the actor was a public servant at the time of the offense and the property appropriated came into the actor’s custody, possession, or control by virtue of his status as a public servant, under Section 31.03(f)(1) of the Texas Penal Code. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed one year under Section 12.21 of the Penal Code.
Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark spoke with The Golden Hammer this afternoon and said, “This matter has just come to my attention within the past 24 hours. I am investigating the situation and will not tolerate any misconduct, if it occurred, in my office.”
On April 24, 2017, a Liberty County jury convicted Liberty County’s Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike McCarty of misuse of government personnel and misuse of government property, imposed a six month jail sentence, two years probation, and removed him from office for official misconduct. McCarty misused County property when he had County employees grade his private driveway, hauled hay for his farm using a County trailer, used County vehicles to haul equipment to his private birthday function, sent County employees out to his pasture to fee his cows, and utilized County employees to help run his private business interests. The jury convicted McCarty of two Class B misdemeanors but sentenced him to the maximum six months in jail. The conviction resulted in McCarty’s removal from office for both counts.
Bob Bagley, a Board member of the Montgomery County Hospital District who is running against incumbent Jim Clark for County Commissioner, Precinct 4, told The Golden Hammer in an exclusive interview, “We have an ongoing problem in Montgomery County with equipment and personnel being used for unofficial purposes. It comes back to poor management and it’s costing the taxpayers. For some reason, our elected officials tell us we can’t afford to fix our roads and drainage problems, but we’re letting things like this happen.”