County Judge Doyal, Commissioner Riley manipulation, exclusion of citizens dominate March 27 Commissioners Court meeting

Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal (foreground).

Conroe, April 16 – The best that one could say about the March 27, 2018, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court is that they eventually adjourned the meeting. Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark made efforts to reform the County government, but Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, County Judge Craig Doyal, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador voted as a bloc to slam the door shut to any positive changes.

The Golden Hammer‘s ratings measure Commissioners Court votes that affect spending in comparison to the provisions of the Republican Party of Texas Platform. Points are good. The number of points depends upon the amount of money involved in each vote.

Commissioners Court meeting, March 27, 2018, 9:30 a.m. All Court members were physically present. (Clark arrived 6 minutes late. Meador left the meeting twice for several minutes at a time.)

Agenda Item 9A1: Payment of Accounts. The Commissioners Court spent  in funds that are totally unaccounted for and have no backup whatsoever. The Commissioners Court paid $143,165.43 of general revenue funds for the TX 249 Tollway, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.

The payments included $14,006.12 to Graves Humphries law firm for doing almost nothing to collect Justice of the Peace court accounts. The collections occur as a result of the OmniBase computer program that has nothing to do with that law firm or its NetData database. The payments included $2,379 paid to the “Carwile Family” who are large contributors to Meador and Doyal. There was no accounting or justification for the payment to the Carwile Family, other than financial friendship. The payments included over $400,000 of unaccounted-for credit card charges on the County’s Citibank credit card. The total payments were $5,531,112.90 of expenditures over 61 pages. There was no discussion, no deliberation, and no investigation. 25 points. A proper vote would be “No.”

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9A2: Budget Amendments to clean up the mess from the poor budgeting practices during the so-called “budget hearings” where the Commissioners Court failed to examine any of the County Department budgets but instead listened to stump speeches from each of the Department heads. The budget amendments exceeded $717,000. Major vote. 25 points. A “no” vote is appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9A3: Allow Wayne Mack to spend $12,038.09 with no explanation or backup. 10 points. A “no” vote is appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9D: The Commissioners Court approved purchasing decisions covering a completely unknown amount of purchases from 16 vendors for unidentified Departments. For all we know, they spent $100,000,000 in one vote. The citizens seem to know just as much as the Commissioners Court, because the four Commissioners and County Judge vote blindly. Major vote. 25 points. “No” vote appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9N: The County is paying an unknown amount of money with no explanation or backup for professional services for Wayne Mack, because he has some sort of medical condition that will prevent him from fulfilling his job duties for an unknown amount of time. Noack asked for open discussion of this item. There was little information he obtained during the discussion, but everyone voted for it anyway, because it involved spending money, rather than saving it. 1 point. If Mack cannot fulfill his job duties, there is no reason that his docket could not go to another one of the JPs. Metts, for example, hasn’t held a full court docket in several months, so obviously he has plenty of time to do some work. “No” vote appropriate. 5 points.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 10: There were no citizen comments, because Doyal and his secretary Sylvia Olszowy have intimidated citizens to a degree that many citizens fear even entering Doyal’s office to sign up to speak. Until recently, Doyal didn’t require people to sign up. Now, Doyal won’t allow people to speak unless they have suffered the signup process. Even then, Doyal often finds a reason not to allow individuals to speak.

Agenda Item 11: Discuss Tropical Storm Harvey.

A citizen, Keith Matthews, from Precinct 2 attempted to speak about flooding and drainage issues in his neighborhood. He was able to talk for less than a minute. Doyal observed that Matthews was criticizing Riley. Doyal cut Matthews off and would not permit Matthews to speak.

Darren Hess, the Emergency Management Director then bored the audience with a lengthy video of Tropical Storm Harvey that showed people suffering through the flood. Since almost everyone in the room had suffered through Harvey, including many audience members who had lost their homes, the video presentation amounted to little more than citizen torture. Neither Hess nor any member of the Commissioners Court had anything of substance to say. Hess and Doyal speculated about whether the federal government would provide funds for the County to buy out families whose properties flooded, but they had nothing to say.

The one person who had something substantive to discuss was Keith Matthews, but Doyal would not permit that to occur.

Agenda Item 12: The Commissioners Court voted to increase the disability exemption from property taxes to $75,000 but refused to provide additional relief to senior citizens. While the “Yes” vote on the disability exemption was the appropriate vote, and would have given every member of the Court 5 points, the refusal to provide any additional relief from taxes to senior citizens wiped that positive action out.

Agenda Item 13A: The Commissioners Court slept through a childish and condescending presentation by County Auditor Phyllis Martin of the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for 2017. The so-called “CAFR” has continued to fail to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, because Martin has continued to audit her own bookkeeping and violated numerous other conflict-of-interest rules. The five members of the Court approved the CAFR anyway. A “no” vote was appropriate. Major vote. 25 points.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 13B: The Commissioners Court allowed Martin to publish a propaganda piece entitled “Popular Annual Financial Report” which is little more than an advertisement to support County government spending. The document provides no concrete information and obviously cost the taxpayers substantial funds to prepare and print. A “no” vote was appropriate with respect to approving this propagandistic garbage. 10 points.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 13C: The Commissioners Court approved the Weaver & Tidwell compliance report to approve the CAFR for Fiscal Year 2017. Since the CAFR failed to comply with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, so did the compliance report. Who cares? Not the Commissioners Court. A “no” vote was appropriate. Major vote. 25 points.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 14: The Risk Management Director Virginia Little sought raises for four of her six employees in the middle of the year. Fortunately for the taxpayers, Little changed the proposal to one that was different from the item on the agenda. Therefore, the Commissioners Court did not approve the proposal.

Agenda Item 18A2: The Commissioners Court did the right thing by providing up to $400 per employee for credit monitoring services for those employees whom County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport victimized by releasing their names, dates of birth, and social security numbers when she finally released her office procedures manual under an order from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. The Commissioners Court did the wrong thing by requiring those employees to sign a full and final release for the harm that Davenport did to them in exchange for the one-year of credit monitoring. Since both decisions were unanimous, they counteract each other for 0 points.

Agenda Item 18A3: Even after losing the March 6 Republican Primary Election by a landslide margin to State Representative Mark Keough, Doyal still refuses to give up his centralized control of all County business. Since Riley and Meador have a Constitutional duty to manage and control all County business, their votes against returning oversight and management of the County government to the full Commissioners Court is total dereliction of their duties as County Commissioners. A “Yes” vote is appropriate. 25 points. The proposal failed by two votes to three.

DOYAL No

MEADOR No

RILEY No

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 18B: Pay $107 to Constable Rowdy Hayden’s wife for a travel requisition even though she turned the expense voucher in late. The lateness of the voucher should not be an issue. Employing an elected official’s wife is a major issue justifying a “No” vote. The proposal passed 4 to 1. 1 point.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK No

CLARK Yes.

Commissioners Court ratings for March 27, 2018, meeting:

DOYAL 0/176. Grade F.

MEADOR 0/176. Grade F.

RILEY 0/176. Grade F.

NOACK 26/176. Grade F.

CLARK 25/176. Grade F.

The following are the cumulative scores for Fiscal Year 2018, which began October 1, 2017.

DOYAL -860/2,269. Grade F.

MEADOR -15/2,269. Grade F.

RILEY -15/2,269. Grade F.

NOACK 1,101/2,269. Grade F.

CLARK 1,610/2,269. Grade C-.

The citizens must remain vigilant, as the Commissioners Court kicks us in the stomach.

 

 




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