Image: Heads turned towards conservative Republican Precinct Chair Ginger Russell as she applauded after her Montgomery County Commissioner, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, announced he was withdrawing from the Court’s agenda an item to terminate County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw at the beginning of the November 13, 2018, meeting.
Conroe, November 14 – After lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal asked his protege Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley to place an item on the Tuesday, November 13, 2018, Commissioners Court agenda to terminate County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw, Riley withdrew the agenda item soon after the meeting began after two major events occurred to cause him to reconsider.
At the beginning of the Commissioners Court meeting when the Court was approving its agenda for the day, Riley babbled, “I need to I want to remove item 21A from the agenda. I had a chance to talk with Dodi and we’re going to discuss this issue in the next couple of days.” The Commissioners Courtroom heard loud applause come from conservative Republican Precinct Chair Ginger Russell, a Precinct 2 constituent of Riley’s, who often attends the meetings but came specifically yesterday to speak in favor of Shaw and against Riley’s and Doyal’s nefarious attempt to fire her. Russell is known as “The Quiet Lady From Magnolia.”
Two major problems arose for Doyal and Riley in their attempt to get rid of Shaw. First, at approximately 8:50 a.m., Shaw submitted a written request that the Commissioners Court deliberate Shaw’s termination in the open. Under the Texas Open Meetings Act, a statute with which Riley and Doyal have found many challenges, an employee has an absolute right to demand that a scheduled executive session concerning her employment status be held in the open before public view.
When Riley found out about Shaw’s demand for open discussion of her employment status, he turned beet red, Riley’s usual coloration when his blood pressure skyrockets.
The second impediment to the Doyal-Riley plan to terminate Shaw, a member of Doyal’s infamous “Hit List” of County employees Doyal believes have not supported him politically, arose when several prominent citizens appeared in the Commissioners Court to speak in favor of Shaw:
- Former County Human Resources Director Diane Bass, one of the most highly respected citizens in Montgomery County, who preceded Shaw as the HR Director;
- Renowned conservative Republican activist Kelli Cook, who was responsible for the Commissioners Court’s adoption of a 20% homestead exemption for County property taxes;
- Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson;
- Incoming Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, who is finishing his term as State Representative;
- Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon;
- The Sage, Bill O’Sullivan, Treasurer of the Texas Patriots PAC;
- Russell; and
- Former Montgomery County Judge Alan B. Sadler, who worked with Shaw for almost a decade.
Why Riley targeted Shaw
As Riley’s discussions with various County officials made clear on Monday and during the early morning of Tuesday, Riley had heard from his close political allies, disgraced Montgomery County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport and terminated County Auditor Phyllis Martin that Shaw participated in a discussion about Riley’s legal troubles during a meeting of the ERP implementation group. As The Golden Hammer has confirmed, Riley misunderstood the reports from Davenport (who seems to be gunning for Shaw’s termination and to replace Shaw) and from Martin, because Shaw was in the room during the conversation but didn’t participate in it, as two confidential sources who were in the meeting have confirmed.
Riley also has suffered from the mistaken belief that Shaw had something to do with the current Montgomery County Grand Jury criminal investigation that is pending against him and arises from Riley’s alleged misuse of County property, employees, and services for personal and political use. As this newspaper has previously reported, Shaw has had nothing whatsoever to do with the ongoing criminal investigation of Riley inside the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Public Integrity Unit and the Grand Jury. It’s likely that Shaw learned about the investigation from The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper.
Why Doyal wants to fire Shaw
After defeating County Purchasing Manager Mark Edward Bosma in the May 27, 2014, Republican Primary Runoff Election, then County Judge-Elect Craig Doyal and some of his top campaign supporters complied a “Hit List” of political enemies, a story confirmed by two county officials and one person from inside Doyal’s campaign.
Doyal narrowly defeated Bosma in the countywide election. Bosma had received endorsements from the major Tea Party organizations, former County Judge Alan B. Sadler, former County Human Resources Department Director Diane Bass, and other prominent citizens within the community. Doyal enjoyed strong support from his home base in the Magnolia area where he had served as a County Commissioner as well as from engineering and contracting firms that regularly do business with the County government. Doyal’s main campaign team included political consultant Joe Williams, Precinct 2 businessman Brian Dawson, and North Spring civil engineer Bobby Jack Adams, a Vice President of Halff Associates, Inc.
The “Hit List” included the following individuals in alphabetical order:
1) Mark Bosma, County Purchasing Director, and Doyal’s primary opponent, who lost his county job soon after Doyal became County Judge on January 1, 2015;
2) Precinct 2 Constable Gene DeForest;
3) Precinct 3 Constable Ryan Gable;
4) J.D. Lambright, County Attorney, who began to work closely with Doyal after Doyal became County Judge;
5) Brett Ligon, Montgomery County District Attorney;
6) Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, Doyal’s nemesis on the Commissioners Court;
7) Scott Nichols, County Environmental Health Director;
8) Dodi Shaw, County Human Resources Director;
9) Captain Mike White of the Office of Constable, Precinct 2;
10) Bruce Zenor, Lieutenant, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department; and
11) Darlou Zenor, County Purchasing Director, whom Doyal fired in November, 2016.
Doyal and his political allies made it known that, to the extent possible, the “Hit List” individuals would lose their county jobs and suffer other retribution.
On November 12, 2018, Ann Carr, former Chief of Staff to Judge Sadler, issued a written statement on social media, where she included the following comment: “I will testify under oath regarding the things that I personally witnessed and that Craig Doyal himself told me directly about the hit list and Dodi was on that list.”