Image: Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal gleefully looked over at incoming County Judge-Elect Mark Keough, who will take office on January 1, 2019, at the Commissioners Court voted unanimously to take all oversight and management powers away from the County Judge and give those powers to the Commissioners Court at the Tuesday, December 11, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting.
Conroe, December 12 – With the entire process taking 31 seconds and no discussion, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court exposed their own hypocrisy and lies by voting unanimously to return oversight of Montgomery County government departments to the Commissioners Court. The comments of lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador in a Commissioners Court meeting on March 27, 2018, reveal the utter deceit with which those two and their sidekick, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, have operated on the Montgomery County Commissioners Court.
A brief history
When Doyal came into office as County Judge on January 1, 2015, his primary goal was vengeance against his political enemies on his “Hit List.” Enemy Number One on that written “Hit List” was, of course, Mark Bosma, the highly-respected and influential Director of Infrastructure who dared to run against Doyal in the Republican Primary Election.
Therefore, on January 26, 2015, the Commissioners Court voted 3 to 1 (with Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark absent and Noack dissenting) to give all oversight and management powers to Doyal. The Texas Constitution is actually very clear that the Commissioners Court has a constitutional duty to oversee and manage all County government business. Constitutional duties are non-delegable duties under Texas law. With Doyal’s lust for revenge, the Texas Constitution didn’t get in his way.
The Golden Hammer has interviewed seventeen current and former County employees about Doyal’s actions after he gained the management authority. All of them concur what happened next. All of them have requested anonymity with the exception of the fearless Marie Moore, former Precinct 4 Administrator, who is now deceased.
Of course, one of Doyal’s first actions after passage of the resolution giving him managerial powers over the County government was to terminate Bosma, a decision which Noack requested he could deliver since Noack and Bosma are friends and Noack didn’t want that termination to come directly from the hateful Doyal.
In the autumn of 2016, Doyal also terminated another “Hit List” member, Darlou Zenor, the Purchasing Director, after Zenor provided a rapid response to the Publisher of this newspaper in response to a request under the Texas Public Information Act/Open Records Act.
Neither of the Bosma nor Zenor terminations occurred with Commissioners Court approval. Rather, Doyal took those actions by his vengeful self.
In February and March, 2017, Noack and Clark attempted four times to return oversight and management of County departments back to the Commissioners Court. On three of the four occasions, the other three members of the Commissioners Court – Doyal, Riley, and Meador – opposed the move. Riley told the Commissioners Court in February, 2017, “This system with the County Judge running things works. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” One time, Noack and Clark agree to defer the discussion until the March 28, 2017 meeting.
Here are the Commissioners Court minutes for the four attempts by Noack and Clark in early 2017 to return management of County departments to the full Commissioners Court:
March 27, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting: Noack and Clark tried again to return oversight of County Department to the Commissioners Court, while Doyal, Meador, and Riley expose crass hypocrisy
At the March 27, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting, Noack placed the following item on the meeting agenda: CONSIDER, DISCUSS, AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION RELATING TO THE RESOLUTION AND ORDER APPROVED ON JANUARY 26, 2015 (MOTION #36)
INVOLVING THE REORGANIZATION OF COUNTY DEPARTMENTS AND TRANSFER OF
AUTHORITY TO THE COUNTY JUDGE.
It’s worth following the entire March 27, 2018, discussion among the Commissioners Court members, although The Golden Hammer has added some emphasis for a couple of the comments.
Noack: “This is obviously a topic that is important to me. I’ve discussed it before. This was originally done so that the Judge would have the ability to reorganize the departments. That was over three years ago. I think we’ve gotten past that point. Each of us up here were elected to perform the duties that are statutorily or constitutionally vested in each of us and entrusted upon us by the voter. And while this court has chosen to delegate those responsibilities to the County Judge, those duties of conducting the County business inherently belong to each of us. If the intent or the desire of the Legislature were to vest those powers with the County Judge, the Texas Constitution would not under Article V, Section 18 read, ‘The County Commissioners Court, which shall exercise such powers and jurisdiction over all County business.’ If the intent were to vest those power under one authority, they would do so. Judge, I enjoy working with you. I have. This is not meant to be an attack on you personally. I hope you can understand that. This is just like my opinion with the tollroads, I just disagree with it fundamentally. I would like for the Court to consider moving that power back underneath all of us and I would hope you’d support it. It’s nothing more than that. So I hope you can understand.”
Meador: “I think the reporting process the way we’re doing now is by far better than what we did for years when we had it split up through the courts. The judge, the department heads directly work for the County Judge. He should have some input into their evaluation as we’re doing now. And I think, correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think the Judge can fire anybody without court approval.”
Doyal: “Wouldn’t. I wouldn’t if I could.”
Meador: “That’s what I mean. I don’t know what it would change. He’s not going to fire somebody on his own. That’s never happened. If he has a problem with a department head and it’s something that can’t be worked out, it’s a court decision. It’s not his. I don’t really see what we would gain by doing this.” (Emphasis added.)
Noack: “In the resolution, it states that he has the sole authority to do those very things.”
Doyal: “I’m not going to do anything. I’m not going to change. Did you bring up a motion?” [Publisher’s Note: Obviously, neither Doyal nor Meador discussed Doyal’s termination of Bosma or Zenor.]
Noack: “And that brings up a whole other thing: are we going to allow the new incoming Judge that same authority? We did this for you as an accommodation.” (Nodding to Doyal.)
Meador: “We should. The new County Judge should have some input over department heads. They affect his life a whole lot more than they do ours.” (Emphasis added.)
Commissioner Noack on March 27, 2018: “”And that brings up a whole other thing: are we going to allow the new incoming Judge that same authority? We did this for you as an accommodation.” (Nodding to Doyal.)
Commissioner Meador, responding on March 27, 2018: “”We should. The new County Judge should have some input over department heads. They affect his life a whole lot more than they do ours.”
Doyal: “I can tell you that having the department head meetings here has been very effective, I believe, in communications between departments. There’s not been any one decision that was made by my office that this Court wasn’t fully aware of and fully vetted. Even the situation with Ginger and her restructuring where Dodi even talked with members of the Commissioners Court first.”
Meador: “I talk to them all the time.”
Doyal: “My thought is it’s much easier to have one point of reference for reporting, but any major decisions are going to go through this Court. Period.”
Meador: “I agree.”
Riley: “I agree.”
Meador: “Is that a motion and a second?”
Noack: “Yes, sir.”
Doyal: “All in favor?”
Noack, Clark, Riley: “Aye (in unison.)”
Riley: “Oooh. What? Wait. Of what?” [Publisher’s Note: Riley often gets confused and cannot follow Commissioners Court meetings. With Doyal gone after December 31, 2018, Riley may experience greater problems following the happenings on the Commissioners Court.]
Noack: “Of removing…”
Riley: “Never mind. Sorry.”
Noack: “Charlie, I though you were on my side, for once.”
Riley: “I’ll get on your side one of these days when it feels right.”
Doyal: “The motion is to put all the departments back with the court. All in favor?”
Clark and Noack: “Aye.”
Doyal: “All opposed?”
Riley and Meador: “No.”
Doyal: “The motion fails.”
December 11, 2018: With Doyal leaving and Riley desiring to terrorize County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw directly, the liberals on the Commissioners Court decide to side with Noack for once
Current circumstances present difficult times for Meador and Riley. They’re losing Riley’s mentor and guide Doyal. In Doyal’s place will be the reform-minded Mark Keough.
Noack told The Golden Hammer yesterday afternoon, “The Court had previously made the mistake of giving its authority away to the County Judge. I felt like this Court needed to correct that mistake before the year ended.” Riley and Doyal clearly wanted to remove authority from Keough before he came into office. Riley also wants to have direct oversight over County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw with whom Riley is upset, because he believes Shaw has dared to provide public information to the public, upon request.
With that background, Doyal placed the following agenda item on the December 11, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting agenda: CONSIDER, DISCUSS AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION TO RETURN OVERSIGHT OF COUNTY DEPARTMENTS TO THE COMMISSIONERS COURT.
The discussion, lasting all of 31 seconds and with Clark absent, follows:
Doyal: “You know, Commissioners, that’s something that as the new administration comes in, it’s going to take them awhile to get their feet on the ground. You see, Mr. Keough, you’re going to be pretty busy, so this is a good move at this point. All in favor?”
The vote was unanimous.
Doyal: “Any opposed? The motion carries.”
Noack: “Is that effective immediately?”
Doyal: “January 1st. Either way.” [Publisher’s Note: Doyal’s golf obligations have kept him away from his job about seven-eighths of the time through the four years of his term as County Judge.]
Noack: “I’m just asking.”