Image: Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough addressed Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley, wagged his finger at Riley as Keough stood for the citizens, and addressed the remainder of the Court as well on February 12, 2019.
Conroe, February 13 – Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, standing for the citizens, and criminally-indicted Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley, who has consistently fought for out-of-county real estate developers and engineering vendors, got into a bit of a verbal tussle of who would represent Montgomery County on the Houston-Galveston Area Council’s Transportation Policy Council (TPC), which establishes regional transportation plans, which include Montgomery County.
The TPC presently lists Keough as the TPC Member and Riley as the Alternate, although Riley attempted to serve in the position as Member during calendar year 2018 before Keough arrived as Montgomery County Judge on January 1, 2019.
The red-faced discussion occurred near the beginning of the Commissioners Court meeting when Keough presented a meeting agenda item to confirm the appointment of Mark Keough, County Judge, as the TPC Board Member and Riley, as the TPC Alternate.
That didn’t set well with Riley, who immediately and heatedly interjected, “I just want to remind the Court that these nominations were voted on by the court and I don’t see a whole lot of reason to change anything in February, 2019, with appointments that have already been made and voted on, and I would like to see that completely flip-flopped where I would stay as the primary voting member and Judge Keough would be the alternate member, and I make that motion.”
Of course, Riley didn’t mention that he was, in fact, proposing to “flip-flop” the current nominations and appointments, as the HGAC’s website confirms.
Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, who has worked with Riley to strip as much power away from the conservative Keough as possible, chimed in, “I second and I agree. I think maybe the Judge needs a little time to get his feet on the ground with what we’re doing here without throwing him into the TPC.”
Keough responded, while wagging his finger at Riley, “The reason I put it on there is I went back to look at the video to make sure I wasn’t overstepping my bounds, and I even checked the minutes…even at the end [of the January 8, 2019, Commissioners Court meeting] this topic came up as the result of an individual coming here that it needed to be that way. Commission Noack made the motion. Charlie you said ‘you can have it. I don’t want it.'”
Riley then denied what is on the January 8, 2019, video of the Commissioners’ Court meeting and denied he agreed to give it up. The Commissioners Court acceded to Riley’s childish demand for a “flip-flop” so he could serve as Montgomery County’s TPC Board member.
There are at least two major problems with Riley serving as the TPC Board member, besides the fact that the HGAC already showed Keough in that position, based upon the Commissioners’ Court’s earlier action.
First, Riley’s attendance at TPC meetings is terrible. The TPC meets once a month. During the February 12 meeting, David Smith, a Republican Precinct Chairman and a retired engineer who attends all of the TPC meetings, told the Commissioners Court that Riley only attended three of the 2018 meetings (out of nine). Clearly, Riley doesn’t represent Montgomery County very well on the TPC, because he’s rarely there.
Second, it’s through the TPC’s 2016 Montgomery County Thoroughfare Plan that Riley has gotten at least three (3) very unpopular projects, including the Woodlands Parkway Extension, the Gosling Road Extension right through the middle of the W.G. Jones State Forest, and the Branch Crossing Extension placed on long-term plans for the region. Riley placed the Woodlands Parkway Extension on the TPC’s Major Thoroughfare Plan after Montgomery County voters had already voted against that project in the May, 2015, road bond referendum.
In addition to the unpopular Woodlands Parkway Extension, Riley has continued to push through the TPC the Gosling Road Extension through the Jones Forest and the Branch Crossing Extension, even though he lied to the voters in 2018 and claimed he didn’t support those projects after 2015.