Featured Image, left to right: Senator Brandon Creighton, Senator Paul Bettencourt, Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, Maverick Noack, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.
Conroe, February 21 – Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and County Judge Craig Doyal traded lofty accusations arising out of the dispute between County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw and County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport. The Golden Hammer over the weekend obtained the letters, while Doyal has attempted to hide them from public view. Meanwhile, Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, Senator Paul Bettencourt, and Senator Brandon Creighton recognized Noack’s excellent leadership concerning spending and tax reform in a press conference and ceremony in Houston on Monday, February 20, 2017.
The accusations between Noack and Doyal began in a testy executive session held on January 10, 2017, during a regular Commissioners Court meeting in which Doyal presented Davenport’s accusations against Shaw.
Doyal had hoped to keep the matter secret by raising it in executive session. Documents created outside of executive sessions are not exempt under the Texas Open Records Act, even if discussed inside an executive session. Davenport provided her letter complaining about Shaw in secret to Doyal’s “chief of staff” Jim Fredricks (who supervises a staff of two administrative assistants). While Doyal read parts of the letter to the Commissioners Court during the executive session, he didn’t actually provide the letter to Noack until Noack had later requested a copy.
On February 1, 2017, in response to receiving a copy of Davenport’s letter, Noack wrote,
“It seemed as though you felt this letter would somehow justify terminating Mrs. Shaw. Comments you have made, and continue to make, confirm your long-standing desire to terminate her. I believe you have created an environment where it is difficult for Mrs. Shaw to succeed as the Human Resources Director for Montgomery County. I do not believe it is coincidence that the name Dodi Shaw was a name on the ‘hit list’ you denied having in a Commissioners Court meeting in 2015. I am referring to the ‘hit list’ you are rumored to have created during your 2014 campaign. The list is said to include the following county employees: Mark Bosma – terminated, Darlou Zenor – no longer employed by Montgomery County [after Doyal terminated her], Dodi Shaw, Don Carpenter [Convention Center Director].”
In September, 1971, President Richard Nixon compiled an “enemies’ list” with the assistance of George Bell and Charles Colson. The list became public knowledge prior to Nixon’s resignation, Bell’s death, and Colson’s imprisonment. (Please see “Doyal Compiled ‘Hit List’ for Political Enemies After 2014 Election Victory” (January 21, 2014)).
Doyal’s “Hit List” included
1) Mark Bosma, County Purchasing Director, and Doyal’s primary opponent, who lost his county job soon after Doyal became County Judge on January 1, 2015;
2) Precinct 2 Constable Gene DeForest;
3) Precinct 3 Constable Ryan Gable;
4) J.D. Lambright, County Attorney, who began to work closely with Doyal after Doyal became County Judge and has now begun to act as Doyal’s private counselor to enable Doyal to engage in activities in conflict of interest with his duties as County Judge;
5) Brett Ligon, Montgomery County District Attorney;
6) Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, Doyal’s nemesis on the Commissioners Court;
7) Scott Nichols, County Environmental Health Director;
8) Dodi Shaw, County Human Resources Director;
9) Captain Mike White of the Office of Constable, Precinct 2;
10) Bruce Zenor, Lieutenant, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department; and
11) Darlou Zenor, County Purchasing Director, whom Doyal fired in November, 2016.
In his February 1, 2017, letter, Noack further wrote:
“I believe your overzealous desire to terminate Mrs. Shaw not only clouds your judgment and demonstrates your relentless pursuit to subjugate county departments and operations, it creates undue liability for Montgomery County…It is apparent that you are not capable of managing the human resources department. Therefore, I respectfully ask you to move human resources under the court.”
Noack concluded his letter to Doyal with a discussion of the pending indictment of Doyal and the alleged relationship to Davenport and her husband:
“With regards to the letter from Mrs. Davenport, first, before I could possibly make any decisions, I would need Mrs. Shaw to address these accusations…Furthermore, being that you are under indictment, with Mr. Davenport, the timing of this is suspect.”
Doyal responded to Noack’s accusations with a strongly-worded letter on February 3, 2017, which began, “Your email dated Feb. 1, 2017 makes it abundantly clear you are completely unaware of a number of factors my office deals with on a regular basis.”
Doyal is actually quite correct in that assertion. Doyal and County Attorney Jerry Don “Ice Man” Lambright have implemented a strong secrecy policy in the County government that would likely render even County Commissioners unaware of what occurs.
Doyal stressed his need for secrecy further, “By releasing confidential information from executive session, you have exposed this county to unwarranted potential liability and are in violation of any acceptable personnel management procedures.”
Doyal, ungrammatically and discordantly, addressed the “Hit List”:
“Your reference to a rumored ‘hit list’ are concerning.”
Doyal expressed his “grave concern” about “the actions you [Noack] took against the advice of the County Attorney’s Office to release information from executive session. Your questionable action creates potential liability for the county, is a violation of your oath of office, undermines trust and creates an ineffective working relationship with the rest of the court.”
Doyal actually made a good point. If Doyal, Lambright, Fredricks, Meador, and Riley want to operate in secrecy, Noack’s ardent attempts to shine the light of day upon the inner workings of the County government would naturally create “an ineffective working relationship with the rest of the court.”