County Attorney Lambright calls for creation of Inspector General’s Office in Montgomery County to handle ethics, corruption issues

County Attorney J.D. Lambright.

Conroe, June 25 – Partly as a party of discussions he and District Attorney Brett Ligon have had for a couple of years and partly in response to an article in The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright has called for creation of an Inspector General’s Office within the County Attorney’s Office that would investigate ethical issues and potential corruption problems inside of the Montgomery County government before they reached the stage of formal criminal complaints.

“Brett Ligon, the District Attorney, and I have talked on several occasions over the last year or two about whether there is a way we could have an Inspector General’s Office to try to ward off these things before they get to the point of being a criminal matter,” Lambright told The Golden Hammer, in an exclusive interview. “The idea is that we would investigate matters and then discuss them with the public servant involved. For this process to benefit everyone, it would take people who take seriously and follow our advice before matters become formal criminal cases. When it goes across the street [to the DA’s Office], it’s criminal, but trying to avoid that could be a service to our clients.”

Lambright explained that the Inspector General would investigate ethics and corruption issues involving public servants in the Montgomery County government, a governmental entity which obviously has had significant challenges with such matters during the past several years. While Lambright didn’t address these issues in particular, problems with ethics and corruption have been very severe during the tenure of Craig Doyal as County Judge and Charlie Riley as Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner.

“We need to cut off problems and try to change behaviors and attitudes,” Lambright said. “The Inspector General, who would be somewhat independent from the rest of my Office, would make public servants aware that their behavior was not acceptable and not appropriate.”

On June 20, 2018, The Golden Hammer ran the story, “Montgomery County DA Pursues Discriminatory Investigation Of Sheriff’s Captain Hall For Personal Use Of County Government Property,” which discussed the fact that enforcement of public integrity matters appears selective and acutely political. In another article the following day, this newspaper suggested creation of an independent Special Public Integrity Prosecutor who would be separate from the political process and would have less dependence upon political and budgetary decisions of the Commissioners Court. Please see “After Two And A Half Years Of Savage Ethics Problems, Montgomery County Needs A Special Public Integrity Prosecutor Independent Of Politics,” The Golden Hammer, June 21, 2018.

Lambright acknowledged that with the Inspector General idea, “the problem is the Commissioners Court will still control the purse strings.”

“Something needs to be done,” Lambright concluded about the corruption in the Montgomery County government.

 

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