Conroe, July 8 – The June 26, 2018, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court was a rough event for the Republican Party Platform. The five-member Commissioners Court, all of whom are Republicans, violated the Platform on almost every vote. They violated two Planks in particular.
One Republican Party Platform Plank is particularly germane to The Golden Hammer‘s ratings, Plank 144, the first sentence of which provides:
“144. Government Spending: Government Spending is out of control at the federal, state, and local levels, and action is needed.”
The editorial staff of this newspaper sincerely hopes that Plank 144 is simple enough that even the members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court might understand it.
Another Plank of the GOP Platform that was particularly important to the June 26 meeting is the anti-tollroad Plank 45:
“45. Toll Projects: We oppose the use of taxpayer money to subsidize, guarantee, prop up, or bail out any toll projects, whether public or private, and we call upon both state and federal lawmakers to adequately fund our highways without hidden taxes, tolls, or raiding emergency funds.
The Golden Hammer‘s rating system follows the Platform of the Republican Party of Texas. The Republican Party just adopted a new Platform on June 17, 2018. If you’re interested in reading the entire Platform, here’s the link to it: https://www.texasgop.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Report2-of-2018-Permanent-Platform-Resolutions-Committee.pdf. In order to assist the members of the Commissioners Court, particularly those three or so who have obviously never read the Platform of the Republican Party of Texas on which they ran for office, this newspaper will begin to refer to the appropriate Platform Plank for each item on the Commissioners Court Agenda which this newspaper rates.
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, June 26, 2018, 9:30 a.m. All Court members were physically present.
Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley scammed millions from the public fisc.
Vote #1: Approved spending $3,424,625 on a project management contract with Doyal and Riley political supporter HDR Engineering, Inc. Remember that those funds come from the taxpayers who will pay the tolls on this highway boondoggle, which, at 3 miles in length, will be the most expensive highway on a per mile basis constructed in the history of the United States. Major vote. 100 points. 3 in favor (County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador, and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley) with 2 against (Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark). No vote appropriate.
Vote #2: Approved spending $430,000 with Associated Testing Laboratories on the tollroad. Political contributions pay off nicely with this bunch. Major vote. 100 points. 3 in favor (Doyal, Meador, Riley) with 2 against (Noack, Clark). No vote appropriate.
Vote #3: Approved spending $430,000 with Terracon Consultants, Inc., on the tollroad. Political contributions pay off nicely with this bunch. Major vote. 100 points. 3 in favor (Doyal, Meador, Riley) with 2 against (Noack, Clark). No vote appropriate.
Vote #4: Approved a $376,000 change order to benefit Halff Associates, Inc., the engineering firm of Doyal’s best friend and business partner Bobby Jack Adams. Doyal hid the identity of Halff from the agenda and from his colleagues on the Court. Somehow, Riley and Meador were ready to vote for the item anyway. Could that have been the subject of Doyal’s and Riley’s lengthy meeting prior to the Commissioners Court meeting that morning?) Amazingly, Halff Associates will continue to receive money for project management even though HDR Engineering is performing the same services! (See Vote #1 above.) Major vote. 100 points. 3 in favor (Doyal, Meador, Riley) with 2 against (Noack, Clark). No vote appropriate.
Vote #5: Pay $48,000 more to tollroad attorney Rich Muller. Why? It seems as though Assistant County Attorney BD Griffin is now doing all the work. Major vote. 100 points. 3 in favor (Doyal, Meador, Riley) with 2 against (Noack, Clark). No vote appropriate.
Vote #6: One of the first actions the Commissioners Court took on Tuesday, June 26, was to approve spending an additional $4,786,959.74. Those expenditures have received no oversight whatsoever. Doyal and Riley don’t care, because they’re spending other people’s money. 25 points. No vote appropriate. Unanimous vote.
Vote #7: 29 budget amendments totaling more than $7.8 million. All of those budget amendments reveal how poorly the Montgomery County government does managing its budget. In the same time period when the County government has passed over 200 budget amendments, the City of Conroe’s government has passed four amendments almost all pertaining to emergency expenditures related to Tropical Storm Harvey. 25 points. No vote appropriate. Unanimous vote.
Vote #8: Approve purchasing agreements and change orders totaling over $1 million without any discussion or oversight. 10 points. No vote appropriate. Unanimous vote in favor.
Vote #9: Approve Rules of Procedure for Commissioners Court. The only reason such rules are necessary is because Doyal is completely out of control as the presiding officer. He acts more like Kim Jong Un than the leader of a representative government. Noack and Clark both made very helpful suggestions to make the Rules more fair to citizens by allowing citizens three minutes to speak rather than the one minute Doyal and his sidekick Riley had preferred. Noack and Clark each get 25 point bonuses.
Vote #10: Approve supporting study of potential Spring Creek Reservoir project and other flood mitigation projects possibly by the San Jacinto River Authority. Doyal wanted the County government to bear the responsibility for flood control, even though the SJRA has the money and the statutory duty to do so. Noack set him straight and moved the Court in the proper direction of asking SJRA, the Harris County Flood Control District, and other governmental entities to bear the cost of this work. Noack receives a 100 point bonus for moving the Court in the right direction on that issue.
- Tim McNutt spoke about a contract for transporting dead bodies.
- Ginger Russell did a brilliant presentation of “The Golden Hammer Award.”
- Bill O’Sullivan suggested some ideas for flood mitigation.
- Walter Boyd talked.
Scores for the June 26, 2018, meeting follow.
DOYAL 0/560. Grade F.
MEADOR 0/560. Grade F.
RILEY 0/560. Grade F.
NOACK 625/560. Grade A+.
CLARK 525/560. Grade A.
The following are the cumulative scores for Fiscal Year 2018, which began October 1, 2017.
DOYAL -1,815/8,649. Grade F.
MEADOR -470/8,649. Grade F.
RILEY -470/8,649. Grade F.
NOACK 7,386/8,649. Grade B.
CLARK 7,920/8,649. Grade A-.
The citizens must remain vigilant.