“Decimation of Hope Highway” spending boondoggle dominates April 11 Commissioners Court, The Golden Hammer releases ratings; all five Court members receive the “Jethro Bodine Award”!

Conroe, April 14 – The Montgomery County Commissioners held a meeting on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., in which County Judge Craig Doyal’s and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley’s pet project, the $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 “Decimation of Hope Highway” project at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County, dominated the agenda.

Points are good.

Incredibly, all five members of the Commissioners Court – Doyal, Riley, Meador, Clark, and Noack – blindly voted for Agenda Item 9D1. There was no backup documentation attached to the Agenda. Since the Employee Benefit Plan governs a $30 million per year expenditure for the County, you’d think that the Commissioners Court might have some curiosity about what revisions to the Plan document they were considering and approving. No discussion, no consideration, no knowledge, no disclosure. Therefore, all five members of the Commissioners Court hereby receive the “Jethro Bodine Award.” Congratulations! (Maybe, they should be brain surgeons when they grow up…)

COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING APRIL 11, 2017, 9:30 a.m. (Judge Doyal and Commissioners Meador, Noack, Riley, and Clark were present.)

Agenda Item 9A1: Consider and approve payment of accounts. Without any review, discussion, or examination, the County Commissioners approved spending $7,949,537.35 in expenditures in a sprawling 82-page, single-spaced report of payments of Montgomery County citizens’ tax dollars, which included payments of $12,000.00 to terminated consultant Dennis McMahon, $9,500 in payments to “Opengov, Inc., for the Elections office, $77,000 to Ford Audio Video, retail payment to Lowe’s, O’Reilly Auto Parts, XL Auto Parts, and Sherwin Williams Paint, an $895 donation to the Historical Commission, $700 for civil indigent defense, $16,713.00 in payments to Fairweather Group out of the road and bridge fund, even though that company has no experience or capability to construct roads or bridge, a payment of $132,183.58 to an unidentified “Texas Department” since the report did not include any further identifying information (but, watch, the County Judge and Commissioners will approve the payment anyway!), $84,297.96 in payments to Halff Associates, Inc., the company of Craig Doyal’s best friend and business partner Bobby Adams (Doyal should, of course, have recused himself from this vote but didn’t), $99,648.22 in payments for the $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 Decimation of Hope Highway (Doyal should, of course, recused himself because of the Halff payments; in actuality, under the new Code of Ethics for the County, all five members of the Commissioners Court should recuse themselves from this vote, because they are board of directors members of the Toll Road Authority which “borrows” these funds from Montgomery County, so they’re both the lender and the borrower in the same transaction, and $328.90 to Hammacher Schlemmer! 25 points. Major vote. A “no” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9A2: Consider and approve Budget Amendment for Fiscal Year 2017. Some of the budget amendments were minor, but others weren’t:

    • an unexplained transfer of $50,000 from Commissioner Meador’s Precinct 1 road and bridge fund to “professional services” with the ENTIRETY of the explanation as follows: “Please transfer $50,000.00 from line item #612-7340 to line item #612-7419.”
    • $30,000 in road and bridge funds of Commissioner Meador transferred so that he may purchase a 2017 1500 Silverado 4×2 Crew Cab truck
    • a transfer of $250,000 from major projects to supplies
    • a $1.3 million transfer from carryover funds to road and bridge funds in Precinct 4. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with this transfer of funds, but Commissioner Clark still should have to explain this very large Budget Amendment in open court to the public.
    • Increasing supply expenditures and reducing capital outlays in the so-called Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management
    • An unexplained $2,000 expenditure for travel expenses for the Mental Health Court
    • The true carryovers of the road and bridge “slush fund” are recognized in a secret budget documents under account 7997. Here are the unspent road and bridge funds for each precinct. Nothing
      “encumbered” here! It’s just straight unspent money.

              Precinct 1 (Meador): $4,896,946.20

              Precinct 2 (Riley): $855,998.26

              Precinct 3 (Noack): $1,982,214.38

              Precinct 4 (Clark): $1,908,845.97

   Another major vote. 25 points. A “no” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Items 9C: Approve over $1 million in contracts and change orders. No discussion, no deliberation, no consideration. A “No” vote is appropriate.10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9D: Consider and approve revisions to the Montgomery County Employee Benefit Plan Document.

This item in its entirety is “Consider and Approve Revisions to the Montgomery County Employee Benefit Plan Document.” There was nothing attached to the Agenda! Therefore, the five (5) members of the Commissioners Court – Doyal, Meador, Riley, Clark, and Noack – voted to amend the Plan document for a Plan that costs the taxpayers more than $30 million per year (!) without having any idea whatsoever what they approved or for what they voted. There was no consideration, no discussion, no debate, no analysis. All five Commissioners Court members receive the “Jethro Bodine Award” (explained under the photograph of the great future brain surgeon above).

Major vote. 25 points. A “No” vote is proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9I1: Consider and Approve a Resolution in Support of Mental Health Services in Texas an Montgomery County. Despite attending the meetings allegedly about this resolution one month before this meeting, Doyal and Nelda Blair never provided the resolution, never indicated the cost to the State of Texas for its contents, and never permitted the members of the Commissioners Court to consider the language of the resolution, other than one quick read from her laptop performed by Mrs. Blair. 5 points. A “No” vote is proper under the circumstances, despite the importance of mental health treatment in this community. While mental health issues are important, the Commissioners Court should not fall for the liberal democrat trick of getting the government body to pass anything put before them just because it somehow relates to an important cause.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 9O1. Consider and Accept Roof Assessment Report which cost the County $162,000! The report was not provided until the day of the meeting and that only occurred because Noack insisted on receiving the full report from Building Maintenance Director Paul Case. Without taking competitive bids for a report of this cost, without any inspection by the large staff of the Building Maintenance Department or Case, Doyal and Case wanted the Commissioners Court to accept this report without any consider, review, debate, or inspection. The Commissioners Court fell for the trick. Since the amount of money involved is more than $30 million, this vote is a major one. 25 points. A “No” vote is proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 10: Citizen Comments.

Craig Doyal and Charlie Riley received The Golden Hammer Award for the hundreds of thousands of dollars they cost the County in special prosecutor by failing to conduct open meetings to negotiate the November 2015 road bond referendum.

John Wertz criticized the payment of more than $100,000 to Aguirre and Fields and to Halff Associates, Inc., the firm of Doyal’s friend and business partner Bobby Jack Adams, for the Decimation of Hope Highway toll road.

Tay Gutmerson complained about the Animal Shelter.

Agenda Item 12: Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson provided an excellent Strategic Plan presentation. More coverage to follow.

Agenda Item 13B: The Airport Director deferred consideration of the proposed expenditure of $209,151.00 to clean and repaint the runways.

Agenda Item 14D. Consider and approve Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Packet. More coverage to follow. Thanks to the suggestions of Commissioner Noack, this Budget Packet is much stronger than the one Doyal and County Auditor Phyllis Martin had proposed two weeks earlier. The Golden Hammer will provide more coverage this coming weekend. While the Budget Packet fails to provide any proper means for County Departments to develop their budgets, it does at least ask them to target a 5% reduction in spending. Not enough, but better than nothing. Major vote. 25 points. A “Yes” vote is proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 14E. Consider and approve transferring $3,000 from contingency to covered parking for the Fire Marshal. This expenditure from the contingency fund came about, because the County Auditor Martin failed to include this item in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget. Either she should take the funds from her salary or the Fire Marshal should wait until the next budget period. There’s plenty of other parking available. If the plebeians (we the citizens) can live without covered parking, then so can the high and mighty Fire Marshal. 1 point. A “No” vote is proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 15A. Consider, discuss, and take appropriate action authorizing Director of Risk Management and Purchasing Department to draft specifications and solicit proposal for employee, dependent, and retiree medical coverage through the RFP process. The problem with this proposal is that the Commissioners Court failed to provide any guidance whatsoever for the specifications. Since this issue involves expenditures of many millions of dollars each year by the County government, there should have been some consideration and direction from the Commissioners Court, rather than a lazy grant of “carte blanche” to two bureaucrats inside the County’s Sadler Administration Building. Major vote. 25 points. A “No” vote is proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Items 16A and 16C. Give $136,115.00 contract to Arborleaf Engineering for Old Houston Road from SH 242 to FM 1485/3083. Additionally, give two other road contracts totaling $177,001 for two Precinct 2 road projects. There has been no oversight of the letting of these contracts. The Commissioners Court members have no idea whether the price is fair to the taxpayers. 10 points. A “No” vote is proper without such oversight.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 17A. County Attorney J.D. Lambright raised the issue whether Dale Inman should serve on the Committee on Ethics because he is the son-in-law of Judge Olen Underwood who is in a long-term relationship with District Clerk Barbara Gladden Adamick.

Agenda Item 19A. Precinct 4 County Commissioner made a motion to begin conducting workshop meetings before the Commissioners Court so that the members of the Court and the public could have more lengthy discussions of Commissioners Court Agenda items. Since the majority of the Commissioners Court does not want to conduct business in the open, it’s not too surprising that this proposal failed. Major vote. 25 points. A “Yes” vote is proper.

Doyal NO

Meador NO

Riley NO

Noack YES

Clark YES

Montgomery County Toll Road Authority vote. Doyal and Riley proposed spending $405,000 on a new study with CDM Smith to try to justify the County spending $100 million on the 3.6 mile Tx-249 Decimation of Hope Highway. Gigantic vote. 100 points. A “NO” vote is proper. Commissioner Noack did a superb job during this discussion and gets 100 bonus points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack NO

Clark NO

TOTAL SCORES FOR April 11, 2017 MEETING.

Doyal 25/301. Grade = F.

Meador 25/301. Grade = F.

Riley 25/301. Grade = F.

Noack 250/301. Grade = B.

Clark 150/301. Grade = F.

CUMULATIVE POSSIBLE SCORES FOR FY 2017 = 2,624.

Doyal = 282/2,624. Grade = F.

Meador = 322/2,624. Grade = F.

Riley = 342/2,624. Grade = F.

Noack = 1,347/2,624. Grade = F.

Clark = 787/2,624. Grade = F.

Disappointing (again). The so-called “consent agenda” is a serious problem that Commissioner Noack and Commissioner Clark must address. There simply should never be a consent agenda. The Commissioners Court should conduct open deliberations before the citizens on every issue. Ever heard of the Texas Open Meetings Act?

As citizens, we must remain vigilant.




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