Conroe, February 26 – The Montgomery County Commissioners Court unanimously fired Information Technology Director Marshall Shirley, who had suffered from performance problems, such as excessive absences for several years, during an executive session in the January 29, 2019, Commissioners Court meeting. Montgomery County Clerk Mark Turnbull, however, immediately rehired Shirley secretly to take the political slot within Turnbull’s office.
Turnbull placed Shirley into the same position Melisa Miller held while she ran for Montgomery County District Clerk after former District Clerk Barbara Adamick had forced Miller to look for a new job. Shirley took a substantial pay cut from his previous salary of $144,724.58 to his new salary of $44,437.64, but, with both positions, he enjoys the liberal County government benefits available to employees.
The Golden Hammer asked Turnbull “why did you hire Marshall Shirley and what position is he performing for the County Clerk’s Office?”
The County Clerk responded, “As you are already aware, unlike many other departments, this office strives for increased efficiency by doing more with less. For example, I don’t waste taxpayers’ money on a public information officer to respond to requests like this as others do. I take being an elected servant personally and do it myself.”
Turnbull continued, “As to your inquiry, there are departmental needs in terms of Odyssey reports, data extraction and business intelligence analysis to be identified and enhanced. With all new hires, we evaluate the skills they possess as well as those that can be enhanced to meet our specific needs. This hire has experience and knowledge geared to a unique skill set that should help us further our efficiency goals.”
Terminating an employee in freespending Montgomery County is apparently an impossible task. Terminated Montgomery County Auditor Phyllis Martin now works for Precinct 4 Montgomery County Commissioner James Metts. Terminated IT Director Shirley now works for the County Clerk. Stephanne Davenport, the disgraced former County Treasurer whom the voters terminated in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election, is up for an appointment to the Montgomery County Airport Advisory Board.
The IT Department has come under intense criticism for a number of reasons. First, poor performance has overwhelmed the IT Department. Development of the County government’s website has been tortured at best. During many periods the website has experienced grave operational difficulties. Second, the IT Department has suffered enormous difficult in budgeting and maintaining control of the costs of IT services and equipment. There was a strong perception among the members of the Commissioners Court that there was poor interaction and communication between the County IT Department and the County Purchasing Department. Third, the IT Department Director, Shirley, did not garner the respect of other County Department Directors who regularly worked with him.
In fact, just yesterday, Montgomery County Library Director Jerilynne Williams complained that the fiber optic cable system of the County government was down, so she was not able to gain access to the County’s network. The County government’s website regularly experiences failures and slowdowns.