Citizens demand Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s resignation, offer suggestions how to fix problems she, County Judge Doyal have caused

Longtime Montgomery County political activist, former Montgomery County Tea Party board member, and current Republican Precinct Chair Ginger Russell (left) of Magnolia, and her colleague Kelli Cook (right) of Montgomery, who is the Regional Chair for the Campaign for Liberty. Cook and Russell were among the five citizens who made written demands upon County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport to resign and who offered other suggestions for measures to mitigate the harm Davenport and County Judge Craig Doyal have done related to Davenport’s improper release of the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of seventy-nine (79) County government employees. Russell and Cook are shown with their friend Jean Mann, also a prominent citizen activist.

Conroe, March 23 – A group of citizens has demanded the immediate resignation of Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport but has also offered several other remedial measures to mitigate the harm to seventy-nine (79) Montgomery County employees whose names, dates of birth, and social security numbers Davenport improperly and illegally released to the public on March 8, 2018, at 4:38 p.m. Both Davenport and her close political ally, County Judge Craig Doyal, have caused the serious problems facing Montgomery County citizens.

The entire resignation demand letter, which the citizens delivered by email on Thursday, March 22, 2018, to Davenport, Doyal, Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright, and Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, follows:

“Ms. Stephanne Davenport

Re:    Resignation

“Dear Ms. Davenport:

“We are private citizens of Montgomery County who each have lived here far longer than six months.

“We have observed the circumstances surrounding:

“(1) the Texas Public Information Act/Open Records Act (the “Act”) request for your County Treasurer’s office procedures manual,

“(2) your refusal to provide that public information,

“(3) your claim that you could not provide the public information without redacting personal County government employee names, dates of birth, and social security numbers contained therein,

“(4) your refusal to follow the legal advice of the County Attorney, the Honorable J.D. Lambright,

“(5) your direction to Assistant County Attorney John McKinney to file suit against the Texas Attorney General,

“(6) your request that the Montgomery County Commissioners Court deem your procedures manual a ‘trade secret,’ ‘proprietary,’ or ‘confidential,’

“(7) your request that the Texas Attorney General determine that your procedures manual falls within exceptions to the release of public information under the Act,

“(8) the Attorney General’s direction to you to release the manual,

“(9) your failure to follow the Attorney General’s direction until after the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election,

“(10) your 4:37 p.m., March 8, 2018, release of the procedures manual without redaction of the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of seventy-nine (79) County government employees,

“(11) your attempt to claim that the Texas Attorney General’s opinion somehow vindicated your original position when, in fact, the Attorney General overruled your claim of exceptions to public release of the document,

“(12) your failure to take any actions to mitigate the damage to the seventy-nine (79) people whom you harmed with your release of their private information,

“and (13) your participation in an illegal and improper executive session, again against the direct advice of the Montgomery County Attorney, on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, during the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting.

“Those names, dates of birth, and social security numbers should never have appeared in an office procedures manual at all. We believe that there was one source for you to obtain that private information, which is your County Treasurer’s Office payroll division of which the supervisor is County Judge Craig Doyal’s daughter. You held that information as a public trust and as a private trust for those employees.

“Without apology but rather with stridence, without contrition but rather with gross incompetency, you have harmed seventy-nine (79) innocent victims who are Montgomery County government employees, placed the taxpayers and their Montgomery County government at great risk, and engulfed at least three other government officials into the scandal which you’ve created.

“Your release of the County government employee names, dates of birth, and social security numbers was a violation both of the Act as well as federal laws protecting such information.

“Your conduct clearly constitutes incompetency. We believe it also rises to the level of official misconduct.

“Therefore, we hereby demand that you resign as Montgomery County Treasurer effective immediately.

“If we have not received written confirmation from you of your resignation as Montgomery County Treasurer by 5 o’clock p.m. on Friday, March 23, 2018, we shall pursue appropriate actions under the law.

“Sincerely,

“/s/kellicook/s/  Kelli Cook

/s/billo’sullivan/s/ Bill O’Sullivan

/s/reaganreed/s/ Reagan W. Reed

/s/gingerrussell/s/ Ginger Russell

/s/ericyollick/s/ Eric Yollick”

Davenport seeks retribution against her own employees

Meanwhile, The Golden Hammer has confirmed, through three County employees who have spoken on the condition of anonymity, that Davenport is conducting an investigation inside of her County Department for the purpose of terminating any employees who have ever spoken with this newspaper about this subject or any others. Davenport did not return telephone calls to her office.

Other suggestions from the group of citizens

The same group of citizens has also sent a demand letter to Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, County Judge Craig Doyal, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador to insist that they schedule a public hearing and meeting for the Tuesday, March 27, 2018, County Commissioners Court meeting so that the public may hear – and ask questions about – public explanations from Davenport and Doyal with respect to the matters that Doyal, Riley, and Meador discussed improperly and illegally in an executive session during the Tuesday, March 20, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting.

The citizens have demanded that Doyal, Riley, and Meador place the public hearing and meeting on the agenda which the County Judge would post on Friday, March 23, 2018, to provide notice for the March 27 meeting.

The letter from the citizens to Riley, Doyal, and Meador follows:

“Mr. Craig Doyal

“Mr. Charlie Riley

Mr. Mike Meador

“Re:    Public Hearing and Meeting on County Treasurer’s Release of County Employee Names, Social Security Numbers, and Dates of Birth and with Respect to Illegal and Improper Executive Session Which You Held on Tuesday, March 20, 2018

“Gentlemen:

“We are private citizens of Montgomery County who each have lived here far longer than six months. We have observed the circumstances surrounding:

“(1) you noticed an agenda item for the Tuesday, March 20, 2018, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court as “Consult with County Attorney about Release of Employee Information in Relation to Open Records Requests,”

“(2) at that point in the meeting, you were about to proceed into a private meeting when Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack stated that he believed the meeting concerning County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s improper release of names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of County government employees should occur in an open meeting before the general public attending the meeting,

“(3) County Attorney J.D. Lambright then stated that he believed it would be appropriate for the Commissioners Court to consult with counsel in private but that there should then be an open meeting before the general public attending the meeting,

“(4) you conducted a secret and closed meeting to review the performance of the Director of the Forensics Department, which you failed to notice properly under the Texas Open Meetings Act, because there was no statement of which employee was the subject of the Commissioners Court action,

“(5) after the foregoing secret and closed meeting ended, you (Doyal) instructed Jim Fredricks (sic) to get Davenport to invite her into the secret and closed meeting,

“(6) Fredricks (sic) came out into the Commissioners Courtroom and said to Davenport and her assistant, ‘we’re ready for you,’

“(7) Davenport and her assistant then met with the Commissioners Court in a closed and secret meeting to discuss Davenport’s improper and illegal release of the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of seventy-nine (79) County government employees,

“(8) upon information and belief, Noack objected to the closed and secret meeting, because you had not properly noticed such a meeting, and he asked for the advice of the County Attorney,

“(9) upon information and belief, the County Attorney, J.D. Lambright, advised you that he concurred with Noack’s objection,

“(10) you (Doyal) announced that you intended to meet secretly and in closed session with Davenport and her assistant regardless,

“(11) Noack left the meeting, went into the Commissioners Courtroom, sat in his chair, and announced, ‘I left because I don’t think it’s appropriate for them to have the County Treasurer in there during the conversation with the attorney,’

“and (12) against the direct advice of the Montgomery County Attorney, you proceeded to conduct a closed and secret meeting in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act where you discussed with Davenport and her assistant the facts and circumstances surrounding her illegal and improper release of the aforementioned County government employee information.

“Your meeting in a secret and closed meeting with a quorum of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court violated the provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act and it was a knowing and intentional violation, because you so acted against the direct advice of the Montgomery County Attorney, the Honorable J.D. Lambright.

“Your conduct clearly constitutes incompetency. We believe it also rises to the level of official misconduct.

“There is a remedy to your illegal and improper actions short of resignation. We believe that your conducting a public hearing and meeting during the Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting with respect to the ‘Release of Employee Information in Relation to Open Records Requests’ by County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport would be an appropriate remedy to mitigate the harm from your actions.

“Therefore, we hereby demand that include such a public hearing and meeting during the Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Commissioners Court which should include forthright answers to questions by members of the public directed to Davenport and to you regarding the conduct in question.

“We are well aware of numerous instances in which you have placed items on the Commissioners Court meeting agenda after your artificially imposed deadline of Wednesday at 10 a.m. Therefore, we shall not countenance that as an appropriate excuse.

“If we have not received written confirmation by the time you post the notice for the Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting, that you shall proceed with the proposed mitigation of harm outlined above, we shall pursue appropriate actions under the law.

“Sincerely,

“/s/kellicook/s/  Kelli Cook

/s/billo’sullivan/s/ Bill O’Sullivan

/s/reaganreed/s/ Reagan W. Reed

/s/gingerrussell/s/ Ginger Russell

/s/ericyollick/s/ Eric Yollick”

Doyal has focused on retribution rather than his own wrongdoing

Meanwhile, The Golden Hammer has confirmed through seven different County employees, who spoke with this newspaper on the condition of anonymity, that Doyal is completely enraged that this newspaper has obtained information about the workings of his illegal and improper executive session on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Since there was not proper notice for the secret meeting Doyal, Riley, and Meador conducted with Davenport, and since they went directly against the legal advice of Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright in so proceeding in a secret meeting with a full quorum of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, their conduct would appear to be a violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Rather than focusing on his own rage, Doyal should focus on mitigation of the harm from Davenport’s improper release of information of seventy-nine (79) County government employees and of the harm from the illegal and improper secret meeting Doyal conduct of the Commissioners Court.

The citizens offer a solution that may partially mitigate some of the harm Davenport (and Doyal) have caused

At a minimum, and perhaps taken out of Davenport’s and Doyal’s salaries, the Montgomery County government might consider offering LifeLock, or a similar identity theft protection package, to each of the seventy-nine (79) County government employees whose names, dates of birth, and social security numbers Davenport improperly released on March 8. LifeLock, the company name for a subsidiary of Symantec, certainly does not have a flawless history. That company has actually paid the largest settlement in the history of the Federal Trade Commission for deceptive consumer advertising.

 

 

 

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