Image: Three years ago (May, 2015) were better times at the height of their community influence for Bobby Jack Adams (left) of Halff Associates and his best friend and business partner Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal.
November 30 – December will be an interesting month for Montgomery County citizens. As the “rest of us” celebrate the holidays, shop, eat, attend special church services, and wear red and green plants on our heads, the politicians will keep doing what they do, primarily spending our money. As long as we pay attending and don’t mesmerize ourselves with too much celebrating, shopping, eating, attend, and wearing, the citizens have a chance to keep the politicians in check.
Montgomery County Republican Party
Montgomery County GOP Chairman Wally Wilkerson’s new method of “leadership” is to ignore than 75% of the citizens and political activists he doesn’t like. He’s engaged in a “bunker mentality” which isn’t particularly helpful for his image, which the 88-year-old has likely completely destroyed.
This past Tuesday, Wilkerson ignored the rules of procedure, the Party Bylaws, the State Republican Party Rules, and the Texas Election Code. In fact, he ignored every person in the room with the exception of three people whom he had previously rehearsed with them what they’d say. When Precinct Chairs asked to be recognized to make a point of parliamentary procedure, Wilkerson broke the Rules and refused to recognize them.
When Wilkerson decided he couldn’t get anything accomplished, he walked out of the meeting like a petulant child. Sadly, the Party had real business left to accomplish.
As a result of Wilkerson’s complete failure to accomplish anything, Vice Chairman Reagan Reed issued a notice to hold another County GOP Executive Committee meeting of all of the Republican Precinct Chairs on December 12. While Reed has included appointment of new Precinct Chairs to fill vacancies, announcement of the Volunteer of the Year Award, and a report from Victory 2018 Steering Committee Chairman Dale Inman on the agenda, there are other rumblings of likely activity at the meeting.
The minority of Precinct Chairs who want to “unify” the Republican Party by demoting all conservatives to the back seat they’ve held under Wilkerson for 30 years, despite the fact that the electorate voted in a solid supermajority of conservatives as Precinct Chairs in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election are planning to try to amend the Republican Party Rules.
One of the Conroe Precinct Chairs with close ties to Wilkerson, Jodi Ruonavar (a Davenport Ring groupie and an East County Precinct Chair who resigned but continues to attend meetings and votes anyway), and the family of convicted felon democrats (also close to the Davenport Ring) who work closely with Wilkerson have drafted some Bylaws changes to try and grab power away from the elected majority of conservatives. The proposed changes include:
- They want to increase Wilkerson’s power to appoint committee members and officers under the Party Bylaws, which Wilkerson refuses to recognize or follow;
- They want to give Wilkerson a vote on the Party Steering Committee, even though he already has such a vote;
- They want to give Wilkerson the power to call County Executive Committee meetings under the Bylaws which Wilkerson refuses to follow;
- They want to order everyone to act “in unity”;
- They want to eliminate several of the current Party committees;
- and other changes.
It’s unclear why changes would be necessary at all at this point. Under the leadership of Vice Chairman Reed and the Steering Committee, the Montgomery County Republican Party ran its strongest General Election campaign in at least three decades. Unlike other suburban counties which suffered losses to democrats, Montgomery County’s Victory 2018 Republican Party Steering Committee ran an active and highly successful campaign, even though Wilkerson and his allies refused to participate and many of them openly campaigned for democrats running on the November 6 ballot.
What is really happening is that the political “establishment” has lost power, because their only argument is “we want power,” while the grassroots conservatives who have run the Party so well during the last five months are focused on issues which attract voters to have an interest in the Republican Party: reduce government spending, ethics reform, lower taxes, support law enforcement.
County Judge Craig Doyal’s final month in office
Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal has been a disaster in office. He’s ignored the will of the citizens and worked on establishing a “deep state” inside the County government of powerful bureaucrats who support him politically and of County vendors with large open wallets who have supported Doyal, his criminal legal defense fund, and his closest political allies, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport, and corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport.
One of the prime beneficiaries of Doyal’s four years as County Judge and his three terms as a Commissioner has been Bobby Jack Adams, Doyal’s best friend and business partner who is also the regional Vice President for Halff Associates, Inc., the Plano-based engineering firm. Adams has worked to bring contracts in for Halff on the tollroads, other road projects, the San Jacinto River Authority, and the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District among other political entities with close ties to Doyal and his money flow.
Doyal has abused citizens from all walks of life in Commissioners Court meetings. He even had one citizen arrested and pulled out of the meeting simply because Doyal felt like he already knew what the citizen was going to say (against Doyal’s beloved tollroad.)
Doyal is smooth, but during the last six months he hasn’t been that smooth. He’s an angry man. He seems angry at all Montgomery County citizens because a Grand Jury indicted him for alleged criminal violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act, charges he continues to face. He’s angry at County employees whom he doesn’t feel were loyal enough to him. He’s angry at conservatives who didn’t follow him on faith. He’s angry at his long-time friend Duane Ham, because Ham wasn’t perfectly loyal to Doyal and to the Davenports.
Doyal is an intelligent person who has all of the talent to have been an excellent County Judge. He became consumed with power and money.
Doyal’s retirement party will be on December 18, 2018, after his last Commissioners Court meeting adjourns. The party will also honor outgoing Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark who was largely unable to campaign during the May 22 Runoff Election, because he faced a major health problem with head-and-neck cancer. Clark lost his Runoff Election by 179 votes to James Metts.
Metts prepares to become a Commissioner, but is East Montgomery County prepared for Metts?
For Montgomery County citizens, the potentially scariest change will be James Metts coming into office as the Precinct 4 County Commissioner on January 1, 2019. Metts has refused to address citizen concerns about his plans when he comes into the office where he’ll oversee a budget ten times the budget he managed so poorly as the Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace.
Metts’ reputation for nepotistic and downright bizarre hiring of County employees seems likely to continue. The Golden Hammer has confirmed that Metts will hire terminated Montgomery County Auditor Phyllis Martin for his Commissioners Precinct Office. This newspaper has also confirmed that Metts will bring his girlfriend, Diane Rogers, to the Commissioner Precinct as well.
Apparently, Metts is taking all of the Justice Court’s furniture, because incoming Justice of the Peace Jason Dunn has asked for a $20,000 budget to furnish his office. It’s unclear whether Metts will bring his cousin to his new office or whether he’ll bring Constable Rowdy Hayden’s mother over there as well.
During his campaign for Commissioner, Metts never discussed any issues. The entirety of his campaign was “Metts 2018” and nothing else.
East Montgomery County citizens should have very low expectations when Metts comes into the office, particularly since he continues to run his logging business full-time and is a 50% business partner with his girlfriend in a flower shop and restaurant.
Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District
The Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) has a newly-elected Board of Directors. Previously, the Board had nine appointed positions. Now, all seven Board members represent the citizens of Montgomery County.
The new Board, composed of five individuals who have never held public office previously, faces antagonism from LSGCD’s General Manager Kathy Jones already who has tried to slow down reforms by crafting the Board’s agenda to suit her anti-citizen purposes rather than theirs.
The Board will have their first evening meeting on Tuesday, December 11, at 6 p.m., in order to accommodate citizens who wish to watch the proceedings. Previously, the Board met during the business day in order to avoid outside scrutiny.
The December 11 meeting could be significant, as Board President Webb Melder, Board Treasurer Jim Spigener, and others indicated at the November 27 meeting that they want to terminate at least two of the numerous law firms billing the taxpayers for antagonistic professional services. Melder has a plodding but tough manner about him that should give a lot of hope to the citizens that change will soon come to LSGCD.
Mr. Toth goes to Austin
Steve Toth, whom the conservative group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility refers to as the “Taxpayers Champion,” is organizing his State Representative, District 15, office for the beginning of the 86th Legislative Session on January 8, 2019. Toth is working on finding his staff and preparing his legislative agenda.
Toth was an early supporter of State Representative Dennis Bonnen, the Angleton Republican, who will be the next Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives. Bonnen seems far more ready to work with conservatives to allow their legislative agenda to move forward than does the current Speaker, Joe Straus, the San Antonio Republican whom the State Republican Party Executive Committee censured earlier this year.
Despite all of his activity and planning for his six-month trip to Austin, Toth has remained active in Montgomery County community affairs and continues to mentor many political activists and elected servants. The man is an amazing community resource and one of the most kindhearted souls you’ll ever meet.
Clearly, the priorities statewide for conservatives in the coming Legislative Session are statewide property tax reform, ending taxpayer-funded lobbying, Constitutional Carry, and privacy legislation.
ERP mess continues
The County’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) spending program is full-speed ahead, despite the fact that the Board of District Judges have not yet hired a new Montgomery County Auditor. Doyal and the Davenports wanted to get the money spent as quickly as possible. While County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport has rarely shown up to her office to do her actual job, she has attended several ERP meetings.
There are essentially no cost controls in the ERP contract whatsoever. With the Commissioners Court providing their own special version of “oversight,” the $15 million spending project is likely to exceed $30 million within a couple of years.
It’s a joke. The County government could easily have spent about 1% of that amount per year to implement a new accounting software program instead.
The Golden Hammer‘s “Top Ten Most Powerful People”
The Golden Hammer will begin to publish its popular “Top Ten Most Powerful People in Montgomery County” on Saturday, December 1, 2018, with the announcement of #10 on the list. The definition of “power” is “the ability of get things done.”
Running back Adrian Peterson may be one of Montgomery County’s most famous residents, but he’s not particularly powerful. This newspaper puts a lot of weight on “potential” rather than “declining power.” An obvious example would be to place incoming Montgomery County Judge-Elect Mark Keough ahead of outgoing lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal.
This newspaper would very much like input from our readers. If you have suggestions for the “Top Ten Most Powerful People in Montgomery County” list, please submit them confidentially to: firstname.lastname@example.org, as soon as possible. We also welcome suggestions for the “Mad Cow Award,” the award at the end of the month of December for the worst elected official in Montgomery County for calendar year 2018.