Image: Conservative Republican leader Ginger Russell, the “Quiet Lady From Magnolia,” has fearlessly criticized Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley and his unpopular running mates, County Judge Mark Keough and Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Magnolia, The Woodlands, Conroe, and New Caney, February 23 – Clearly, there is a serious integrity problem with “Team Keough” composed of Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts. Yesterday, this newspaper broke a major story that Keough and his campaign workers have handed out defaced and fraudulent Texas Patriots PAC voter guides showing that the organization endorsed Keough for re-election. Please see “BREAKING NEWS! Montgomery County Judge Keough, Campaigners Hand Out Defaced, Fraudulent Slate,” The Golden Hammer, February 22, Keough Hands Out Defaced Voter Guides
One lady, Ginger Russell, known as the “Quiet Lady From Magnolia,” has taken on Riley and Team Keough, single-handedly, by distributing several thousand flyers in Commissioner Precinct 2, which disclose to voters ten major matters on which Riley and his allies have cost Montgomery County taxpayers many tens of millions of tax dollars by mismanagement, wasteful spending, and downright corruption.
Russell’s flyer raised ten points. This article discusses the second five of Russell’s criticisms.
Russell’s Criticism #6: Voter to pay $16 million of taxpayer funds on an unusable accounting program, when they could have spent only $250,000 for Quickbooks, which would have worked.
Russell referred to the $16.5 million Enterprise Resource Planning software, which Keough and the County government have been wholly unable to use due to the complexity of the program and the difficulty of training County government employees to use it. Even though Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae offered the Commissioners Court a $250,000 alternative, Quickbooks, to meet all of the County government’s accounting software needs, Riley and two other members of the Commissioners Court voted to spend the $16.5 million instead.
The software still doesn’t work.
Russell’s Criticism #7: Riley is the King of Nepotism giving his wife Deanne and his nephew a job within the County government.
Riley’s wife, Deanne Riley, was the executive assistant to Sheriff Tommy Gage who retired on December 31, 2016. Sheriff-Elect Rand Henderson made clear to all employees that everyone in his management office, with no exceptions, would need to interview for their positions. Deanne Riley opted not to participate in the interviews, so Henderson did not keep Deanne Riley as his executive assistant, despite his commitment to Gage that he would do so.
Since the Rileys have had a shaky financial situation since their 2002 bankruptcy filing, getting his wife Deanne a job in the County government became the Commissioner’s highest priority.
Step Number One. As a result, at the November 22, 2016, Commissioners Court meeting, Commissioner Charlie Riley placed on the agenda and made the motion for creation of a new position for a receptionist to receive $58,000 per year (an exorbitant salary for such a position) within Precinct 5 Constable David Hill’s office. Constable Hill’s office is adjacent to Charlie Riley’s Commissioner’s Precinct office in Magnolia. Hill and Riley are also good friends and political allies.
Step Number Two. As Dodi Shaw, the County’s Human Resources Director, confirmed, Hill never posted or advertised for the new receptionist position. At the next County Commissioners Court meeting, on December 13, 2016, the Consent Agenda included a cryptic item “Approve Payroll Change Request Forms” which provided the public no notice whatsoever what it concerned. The Golden Hammer, however, obtained the payroll change request forms which revealed that Deanne Riley was to receive the job her husband had created only a few weeks previously. At the December 13 meeting, Riley recused himself from the vote for the payroll change requests, but his wife got the new job anyway.
Charlie and Deanne Riley successfully completed the “Charlie Riley Two-Step.” Deanne Riley got the job! Riley used his position as a County Commissioner to create the new position since her employment relationship at the Sheriff’s Department didn’t work out.
On Tuesday, April 27, 2021, at 9:30 a.m., Riley gave a 5.6% raise to his favorite nephew, Brady Copeland whose supervisor in the Montgomery County government is none other than his “Uncle Charlie.” Riley also promoted Copeland to “Senior Foreman.”
Russell’s Criticism #8: While acting as a Director of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District, Riley voted to raise property tax appraisals and property taxes.
As a member of the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District through 2018, Riley voted every time to raise appraisals and property taxes.
Russell’s Criticism #9: Riley, Keough, Metts all voted to spend $11 million for an unnecessary Forensics Center in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.
With no plans, no public information, no details, no drawings of what it would look like, at Riley’s urging, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court shoved construction of a Forensics Center, of questionable necessity, down the throats of Montgomery County taxpayers with only Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack dissenting. At that time, the Commissioners Court approved spending up to $18.1 million, a boon to County government vendors and one of the most expensive facilities construction projects in the history of the County government.
After demanding the plans and ultimately receiving them, Noack was able to keep the costs of the new Forensics Center down to $11 million.
Russell’s Criticism #10: Failed to oversee $17.5 million Internal Service Fund, which completely disappeared as a result.
Please see “$17.5 million fund disappearance reflects Keough, Montgomery County Commissioners Court mismanagement,” The Golden Hammer, February 23, 2022, Riley, Team Keough mismanage $17.5 million fund, which disappears”