Congratulations to Charlie Riley, James Metts; now, can we please reduce spending and bring ethics reform to Montgomery County? (Plus some very sad news at the end of this article)

Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack held a watch party at his home on Tuesday, May 22, 2018, to celebrate the election results. All seemed to have a great time around 7:30 p.m. when this photograph appeared on social media. Left to right: Precinct 3 employee Cody Grimes; Precinct 3 Chief of Staff and former Courier blog editor Andy Dubois; Noack; Lori Noack; Brian Dawson; Precinct 3 Chief of Staff and Republican Nominee for Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Matt Beasley; Billy Smith.

Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer

Congratulations to Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley on his winning the Republican nomination for re-election to his position. Riley should easily win the November General Election as long as Republicans turn out to vote, which seems likely.

Congratulations to Precinct 4 County Commissioner-Elect James Meets on his winning the Republican Runoff Election. Metts will not face a democrat in November, so he will take office for certain on January 1, 2019, to succeed outgoing Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark.

Riley

Riley fought a hard race. This newspaper has been very critical of many of his actions. But Riley at times has shown an interest in taking the conservative approach to certain issues. He eventually voted for the 20% homestead exemption. He was the lone voice, at the beginning, who was willing to criticize the over-bureaucratic approach of the County Auditor to employee expense reimbursements.

I supported Riley in 2014 for County Commissioner and continued as one of his major supporters for a couple of years after that. His record on budget, County spending, and County tax issues has not been as strong as it could or should be. There have been occasions when it has seemed that Riley’s legal issues have distracted him from doing his job. Those are serious issues and that’s understandable.

Hopefully, Riley will figure out a way to bring distractions from doing his job to a swift end. I wouldn’t have supported him in 2014 if I didn’t think that he had the ability to be a very good County Commissioner. Another distraction Riley has had is his mentor Craig Doyal. Doyal is leaving government office in a few months. Doyal’s departure will give Riley the opportunity to rely upon his own judgment. Riley will have four more years to become the Precinct 2 County Commissioner he has the potential to be.

One of the most disturbing aspects of Riley’s campaign was that he seemed to engender an “us versus them” attitude about areas outside of Magnolia in Precinct 2. Riley needs to work with the people of his entire Commissioners Precinct, not just an establishment few with whom he may feel more comfortable. On a personal level, Riley is a nice guy. He needs to use his personal skills to broaden the people who feel he serves them.

Metts

Metts also fought a hard race. Obviously, winning this election has been something Metts has wanted for several years. This newspaper found some of Metts’ past actions very disturbing. That’s not to say, however, that anyone should expect someone running for office to be a perfect person. No one is perfect. We all have mistakes from which we’ve hopefully learned. Metts has the opportunity to show magnanimity and humility towards the citizens of Precinct 4 who had grave doubts about his character.

My interactions with Metts have been quite limited, as I’ve found him to be a very difficult person to approach. If Metts is going to serve all of the citizens of Montgomery County, as he should, he needs to show that he’s willing to listen to ideas even from people whom he may not like personally.

Metts has had all sorts of problems in his career. He’s shown an almost cat-like quality of bouncing back on his feet after every setback. While he hasn’t devoted the attention to his JP court that would be ideal, it’s very apparent that he works hard in general. During this campaign, I spoke with many people in the logging business and in sawmills who have observed how hard a worker Metts has been as a logger. Metts will receive an enormous salary as a County Commissioner. He needs to devote all of his time, attention, and energy to that position.

East Montgomery County needs someone as devoted and energetic as Metts is to his logging business as a devoted and energetic full-time County Commissioner. East Montgomery County is not just the fastest growing part of Montgomery County. It is actually one of the fastest growing areas in the entire United States. There are three major residential developers in East Montgomery County and many commercial developers and businesses that are investing in that thriving area.

If Metts leaves the exigencies of the campaign behind him and approaches his County Commissioner’s job with the humility but also with the focus and energy he’s had in the logging business, Metts might very well be a great County Commissioner.

At the same time, East Montgomery County is beginning to suffer from rising taxes resulting from the wasteful spending of the County government in Conroe more than other areas of Montgomery County. If Metts is going to fight for his constituents, a major part of that fight should be to join the Citizens Budget Committee in its goal of reducing County government spending by $100 million, putting $20 million of those savings into law enforcement, and putting $20 million of those savings into a capital fund (for all capital projects, including roads and bridges), for a net savings of $60 million.

Conclusion

The Runoff voters gave Riley and Metts some exciting opportunities to serve the citizens of Montgomery County and show the world what good someone can do with the sacrifice of public service. I hope they’ll seize those chances and I wish them both the best in those endeavors.

Oh, and, by the way, Judge Keough received a mandate from all four Commissioners Precincts in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election to bring ethics reform to the County government. I hope that Commissioners Riley and Metts will work towards that reform as well.

Very sad news about a dear friend, Jim Clark

Six weeks ago, some very good physicians diagnosed Jim Clark, the Precinct 4 County Commissioner, with head and neck cancer. It’s a very serious situation. (Yes, I have been aware of it since the beginning.)

Clark only shared the news with a close circle, because he has every intention of fighting and beating the disease. Cancer diagnoses are quite different in 2018 than they were even 10 years ago. Clark will begin some serious treatment in the next few days.

Clark has held his head high and fought for the people of East Montgomery County throughout the past six weeks and has not allowed his health situation to deter him from fighting hard for what he believes.

Clark announced this situation to his campaign supporters at the watch party this evening. He intends to make a formal announcement by the end of this week.

All of us should include Jim Clark, his lovely wife Kelly, and their entire family in our thoughts, our prayers, and our best wishes as they fight Jim’s disease.

 

 

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