Conroe, January 20 – In all of the discussions of the numerous problems that the Montgomery County government suffers arising from nepotism, no County department comes close to the Building Maintenance Department. The Building Maintenance Department oversees the maintenance and construction of the County’s physical facilities. While Custodial Services provides housecleaning for County buildings, Building Maintenance provides structural, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, HVAC, and similar services, as well as demolition and remodeling for building interiors.
The Director of the Building Maintenance Department is Paul Case who earns $132,003.44 per year salary, plus benefits. His son, Craig Case, works full-time with the Building Maintenance Department and provides welding and other services under his father’s direct supervision, per several county officials who work closely with the Department. Craig Case, however, officially works for the Montgomery County Engineer’s Office and earns $91,706.77 per year salary, more than at least one of the licensed Professional Engineers in that Office. The website of the County Engineer does not list Craig Case as one of its employees at its office on the first floor of the Sadler Building, 501 North Thompson Street in Conroe. Craig Case’s business card shows his title as “HVAC/Controls Manager.” Craig Case does not have a college degree. The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation does not show him as a licensee for HVAC, air conditioning, or any field. Furthermore, Craig Case’s business card shows 19665 Airport Parkway, Conroe, as his office address. That address is the office of the Building Maintenance Department. The assignment of Craig Case to the Engineering Department appears as a disturbing example of an effort to hide the nepotistic relationship between Paul Case and his son.
Commissioner Mike Meador’s brother, Bill Meador, works for the Building Maintenance Department as well and earns $68,958.50 in annual salary. Several county officials, both within the Building Maintenance Department and outside of it, are unable to ascertain what work Bill Meador does for the County. Commissioner Mike Meador regularly votes for the budget of the Building Maintenance Department, to set the salary of Bill Meador’s boss, Paul Case, and to approve Bill Meador’s salary as well.
The Building Maintenance Department has at least one other circumstance suggesting that hiring inside that group springs from bloodlines. Rob Wright is the deputy director of the Department and earns $93,980.93, only a few hundred dollars above the unskilled Craig Case. Wright regularly supervises crews in the field. His wife, Leslie Wright, is an administrative assistant earning $54,979.07 per year, inside the Building Maintenance office. The Wrights’ son, Adam, is an unlicensed Tech in the Department and earns $50,135.37 salary per year.
One of the most controversial people in the Building Maintenance Department is Angela Ford, the so-called “energy manager” for Montgomery County whose primary duty is to determine what light bulbs should go into County light fixtures. Ms. Ford, earning $100,478.56 per year, is the daughter of Jule Puckett, the secretary in Commissioner Mike Meador’s Precinct 1 office who earns a record $132,000, plus, for her work.
Are these individuals the most qualified, so that their blood relationships are a mere coincidence? How does the County justify their extraordinarily high salaries? Do these relationships contribute to the fact that the Building Maintenance Department is easily the most troubled county department of all, even making the Animal Shelter during the Clark-Hayden Cruelty Era look better?