Conroe, June 6 – The Citizens Budget Committee has invited the Montgomery County Department heads of sixteen County Departments to come before the Committee’s meeting on Wednesday, June 6, 2018, at 5:30 p.m., at 112 Academy Drive, in Conroe, to explain their budget proposals. One interesting Department Director, Lorena Garcia, the Wayne Mack protege who is the Head Janitor for the Building Custodial Services Department, has snubbed the Committee’s request, even though in 2017 she severely criticized the Committee for not meeting with her.
In response to an invitation to meet with the Citizens Budget Committee today, Garcia responded, “Good Afternoon Mr. Yollick…As a Montgomery County Department Head of the Building Custodial Services Department, I report directly to the County Judge’s office. If you or the committee have any questions regarding this department’s budget matters, please refer them to the County Judge’s office…Sincerely, Lorena Garcia, Director.”
On July 25, 2017, however, Garcia who is a political follower of the pro-spending, pro-establishment Wayne Mack, made a public comment to the Commissioners Court after the Citizens Budget Committee presented its full report (which we more detailed than the Commissioners Court’s later work on the Fiscal Year 2018 Budget). Garcia told the Commissioners Court that she did not understand how the Committee could make its recommendations to reduce her salary and the total salaries budget for the Custodial Department without meeting with her.
Apparently, Garcia’s words were just hollow Mackspeak.
Montgomery County Custodial Maintenance Department Director Lorena Garcia proclaimed that adoption of the Citizens Budget Committee Report’s recommendation to reduce her Department’s salaries would lead to “catastrophic” impacts on Montgomery County, even announcing her fear of “sick building syndrome” and mass layoffs of custodial staff. Garcia, of course, failed to consider the possibility that she might examine reducing the top-heavy management and administrative portions of her Departmental salaries and that the County might reduce the enormous inefficiency in its pattern of building use.
The Custodial Maintenance Department generally spends more than $100,000 per year less than their adopted budget, so there is at least that amount of fluff in the Custodial Budget. Comparing the amount which Montgomery County spends on comparable counties, such as Fort Bend County and Collin County, this County spends approximately three times what those counties spend on custodial services.
The Building Custodial Maintenance Department’s current year budget is $3,277,623. The Citizens Budget Committee proposed a budget of $2,495,520 for the Custodial Department. More specifically, the Committee recommended reducing the salaries of $2,034,644 to $1,504,042 with a contemporaneous reduction of approximately $230,000 in County benefits.
In response Garcia suggested that she would need to eliminate her entire part-time custodial staff. The Citizens Budget Committee foresaw the likelihood that a manager trying to protect her job and the management jobs of her top-heavy department would make such a suggestion. Nevertheless, the Committee Report specifically makes clear that the Committee’s recommendation regarding salaries should come from reduction of the “grossly top heavy” management staff.
Sick building syndrome threat
In an attempt to manipulate the public into fearing budget cuts, Garcia also suggested that reduction of her workforce would also lead to “sick building syndrome” and a harm to the public which visits certain County buildings.
Garcia’s attempted manipulation, however, revealed little more than her misunderstanding of “sick building syndrome” which was the subject of much litigation approximately 30 years ago.
A 1984 World Health Organization study as well as numerous medical reports from the Centers for Disease Control since then have supported that “sick building syndrome” results primarily from poor air circulation in commercial buildings as a result of problems with air conditioning systems.
Scientific studies reveal that HVAC systems, not poor custodial maintenace, causes illness likened as “sick building syndrome.” Therefore, it’s quite clear that Garcia does not understand the concept and merely attempted to scare the public with respect to proposed budget reductions.