Image: Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack legitimately complained about the fact that Budget Director Amanda Carter wanted the Commissioners Court to approve the “Salary Schedule” for the entire Montgomery County government without seeing it prior to the meeting. The Commissioners Court voted 4 to 1 to approve the “Salary Schedule” blindly, since they’re used to approving such matters without any meaningful review.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, November 15 – Once again the super-secret “consent agenda” bit the taxpayers of Montgomery County quite hard during the Tuesday, November 12, 2019, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court. Budget Director Amanda Carter had placed an item on the agenda, “Please consider, accept, and approve salary schedule as of 11/02/19,” but failed to make the “Salary Schedule” showing each and every salary of each and every Montgomery County government employee in advance of the meeting.
Not only did Carter prevent the public from viewing the “Salary Schedule” prior to the meeting but also Carter didn’t even make the voluminous document, comprising approximately two-thirds of the County government’s $344 Million Budget, available even for the members of the Commissioners Court to review beforehand.
Noack reacted quite fiercely on behalf of Montgomery County taxpayers during the meeting. First, he asked Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough to remove the agenda item from the super-secret “consent agenda” so that the Commissioners Court could discuss it in the open.
Noack then confronted Carter, “Amanda, you have asked us to consider and approve this, however, it was not loaded in the backup. The last time we approved this, how many errors were in it?”
Carter attempted to deflect Noack’s pointed remark by explaining in a drone, and non-responsively, that this salary schedule was as previously approved with payroll change requests in the past through November 2.
Noack countered, “How many errors were in it last time?”
Carter responded, “There were quite a few clerical errors, sir.”
Noack retorted, “Over 200, safe to say?”
Carter reluctantly answered, “Yes.”
Noack rejoined, “Before I approve it, I’d like to have the time to review it and the first time I’ve seen it was this morning when I sat down at 9:21. So I’m going to ask that we defer this until the next court, so all of us have the time to go through it, check our individual report if we want to do so, and any other departments can do the same.”
Carter objected, because she had incorporated the recent payroll change requests into the new salary schedule. In other words, even recent payroll change requests were not made available to the public for review prior to the Commissioners Court meeting.
Meador asked, “how many PCRs does that affect?” Carter responded, “Quite a few, Commissioner.”
Noack concluded, “My concern is that we don’t approve another incorrect salary schedule, because we don’t have time to review it…Everyone should have the opportunity to look at that. You’re affecting people’s salaries here…You’re also impacting the Budget.”
Not surprising, the Commissioners Court voted blindly to approve the Salary Survey 4 to 1 (with Noack dissenting) since they’re used to approving almost all expenditure items without any meaningful review.