Image: Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley began his formal “War Against Conservatives” on May 22, 2018, when he barely won a Republican Runoff Election against conservative Greg Parker, a former Comal County Commissioner, Shown with Riley (left) are Ritzy Fletcher (middle) and her husband Ted (right).
Magnolia and Conroe, March 11 – Much of the behavior, which voters observed during the 2020 Republican Primary Election, emanated from Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley’s “War Against Conservatives.” Riley, who calls himself a “Republican,” formally went to war against conservative Republicans on May 22, 2018.
This 4-part series on Riley’s “War Against Conservatives” examines the beginning, the first steps, the corruption, and the current symptoms of his anti-conservative activity.
The beginning: May 22, 2018
Riley faced popular formal Comal County Commissioner Gregory Parker in the May 22, 2018, Republican Runoff Election. Riley informed the small group of people who attended his victory event that he had received a “mandate” from the people.
In actuality, Riley received 4,960 votes to Parker’s 3,905 votes, or a 55.95 % to 44.05 % outcome. The low turnout permitted the political establishment to have an enormous impact by turning out core establishment supporters who have close relationships with Riley.
During his “victory speech,” Riley seemed focused on retribution against people who didn’t support his re-election more than he wanted to thank people who had helped him win.
Riley declared war on the Republican Precinct Chairs in Commissioners Precinct 2 who didn’t support his candidacy. “We got some folks that need to be gone from here in Precinct 2…If you don’t hear nothing else, we got momentum. We got problems in our Precinct Chairs and other places. We need to deal with it and we need to start dealing with it now.”
Eleven conservative Republican Precinct Chairs in Commissioners Precinct 2 endorsed Riley’s electoral opponent Greg Parker.
Riley continued, “This last year and a half has been rough…and my faith has taken a nose-dive some times…Montgomery County has been moving forward. Tonight we are on our way.” By “on our way,” Riley meant that he intended to spend a fortune of tax dollars on his pet projects which benefited himself, his family, and his closest County government vendor friends.
More than anyone else whom Riley did thank, however, Riley was most gracious towards lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal. “I cannot thank Judge Craig Doyal enough for what he has done for me,” said Riley. “Montgomery County don’t realize what they did when they turned him out.”
Riley asked Doyal to come forward so that Riley could hug his former boss publicly. Doyal lost all four Commissioners Precincts by a decisive margin in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. Riley and Doyal, along with Marc Davenport, faced criminal indictments for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act at the time of the elections.
Earlier in the day, on May 22, 2018, at the Commissioners Court meeting, Riley declared war against the law enforcement community, particularly the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. Two members of the Commissioners Court – Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark – were absent from the meeting, so they met with a bare 3-person quorum of lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal, Riley, and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack.
The agenda for the meeting seemed somewhat mundane for the freespending Commissioners Court. Law enforcement agenda items, in particular, would usually call for little reaction from the sleepy members of the Commissioners Court who usually just vote to approve any County tax dollar spending increase placed in front of their noses.
Riley changed that on May 22.
Riley was already enraged, because the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Association (MCLEA), the largest association of peace officers in this community, endorsed Riley’s electoral opponent former Comal County Commissioner Gregory Parker. It’s pretty clear that MCLEA endorsed Parker over Riley in the Republican Runoff Election, because Riley was in a mess of legal trouble.
There were two agenda items – one for Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson and one for Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon – on the May 22 agenda.
Sheriff Henderson’s agenda item: CONSIDER AND APPROVE TRANSFERRING CADET POSITION 56018-5805-15 AND ASSOCIATED SALARY AND BENEFITS TOTALING $76,560.66 FROM THE SHERIFF’S BUDGET TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S BUDGET FOR INVESTIGATOR II POSITION NUMBER 4351-7802-17
Sheriff Henderson’s agenda item was a budget and spending-neutral item to transfer a Sheriff’s Office cadet position and associated salary and benefits from the Sheriff’s Office Budget to the District Attorney’s Budget for an investigator II position. The proposal clearly showed work and cooperation between the two Departments, the Sheriff’s Office and the DA, and didn’t seem in the least bit controversial.
Sheriff Henderson came to the podium to read the agenda item in a monotone. Noack moved to adopt the proposal. Doyal asked if there was a second for the motion.
Riley sat silent and red-faced. Doyal announced, “The item dies for lack of a second.”
Sheriff Henderson looked over at Riley, then turned around and returned to his seat.
District Attorney’s agenda item: CONSIDER AND APPROVE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES: CLOSE POSITION 4351-7610-5, COORDINATOR-VICTIM ASSISTANT AND OPEN POSITION 4351-3995-12, COURT CLERK IV AND TRANSFER $39,176.28. REMAINING FUNDS OF $9,986.34 TO BE LEFT UNSPENT IN FUND BALANCE.
District Attorney Brett Ligon’s agenda item was also budget neutral for Montgomery County taxpayers, because Ligon proposed to leave $9,986.34 of unspent funds in the fund balance after moving two positions around in his office to address appropriate needs.
First Assistant District Attorney Mike Holley went to the podium to read the agenda item. Once again, Noack moved to adopt the proposal. Doyal asked if there was a second for the motion. Once again, there was silence. Doyal seconded the motion himself (which is actually inappropriate under parliamentary procedure).
The vote then occurred with Noack and Doyal voting in favor of the District Attorney’s budget-positive proposal, while Riley voted against it! The motion carried on a 2 to 1 vote.
Riley didn’t provide any explanation for his two anti-law enforcement votes. He just voted against the needs of law enforcement.
Republican Platform concerns
Plank 21 of the Republican Party of Texas Platform provides “We proudly support our law enforcement agencies and their personnel.”
During the Republican Runoff Election, District Attorney Ligon commented on April 17, 2018, that he supported Parker in the contest, because, in an obvious negative reference to Riley, “The reason I’m here is that I know that Commissioners shouldn’t threaten the DA. They shouldn’t say that they’ll take the scalp of the DA. County Commissioners shouldn’t threaten me. That’s why I’m here for Greg Parker. Greg never lied to me.”
Apparently, Riley has made remarks in the earshot of Ligon that threatened the District Attorney and suggested that Riley would “take the scalp of the DA.”
Riley’s votes in the May 22 Commissioners Court meeting had no policy or merit basis whatsoever. Riley appeared to take those two actions out of personal anger at the law enforcement community which has expressed legitimate concerns about Riley’s conduct.
Riley did not respond to a request for comment.