EDITORIAL: ETHICS REFORM PRIORITY FOR COUNTY GOVERNMENT

EDITORIAL: ETHICS REFORM PRIORITY FOR COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Montgomery County’s government desperately needs ethics reform during 2017. The “Axis of Evil” (Doyal – Riley – Clark – Meador) have created a cesspool of nepotism, conflicts of interest, and opacity. County Attorney J.D. Lambright has acted as an enabler and clearly has no conception whatsoever of his professional responsibility to the citizens of Montgomery County who elected him. The county government needs ethics reform, which the County Commissioners Court should mandate, as soon as possible:

1.Nepotism. The recent hiring of Commissioner Charlie’s Riley’s wife, Deanne, for a new position created for her as a receptionist at $58,000 per year in a constable’s office reveals the dangers of nepotism. Nepotism is rampant in the County government. Two department heads are sisters. One assistant department head supervises his wife and son. One department head supervises his son. Other examples abound. There should be a bright line prohibition of nepotism in the Montgomery County government. Two people related within two degrees of relationship should not both be employees.

Nepotism places public officials in terrible positions. The Rileys and Noack were actually getting along quite well until last week. Charlie Riley and James Noack even worked together recently on a plan to reform the Animal Shelter. Commissioner Riley now hates Noack for voting against nepotism for Riley’s wife. Nepotism engenders mistrust and even hatred among public official colleagues and mistrust for the work of county government among the citizens. How could the bosses of Deanne Riley (wife of Commissioner), Lindsey Doyal (daughter of County Judge), and Bill Meador (brother of Commissioner) ever give them a fair performance review when the bosses know that funding for their department and their own jobs are on the line if they don’t treat the family members as the “political royalty” that they are?

2. Conflicts of Interest. County Judge Craig Doyal is a business partner of and best friends with Halff Associates’ Bobby Adams. Doyal should never even be in the room when the Commissioners Court votes on whether to give contracts to Halff. It reeks of a conflict of interest. Doyal has voted several times for contracts and projects for people who are funding his legal defense, according to an email The Courier newspaper obtained.

Citizens should feel comfortable that our tax dollars are spent on County contractors who merit the contracts, not the politicians’ buddy. Doyal should fully disclose his entire financial relationship with Adams, as should all County elected officials who do business with any vendor or officer or representative of a vendor.

When a Commissioners Court member faces an issue with which he has a personal interest in the outcome, he should leave the room, not take part in any deliberation, and not vote on the matter. That applies to Doyal and all of his engineering buddies’ contracts, Riley, Clark, and Meador for the same, and all of them when they vote to create or fund positions where their family members will work. It’s nothing short of disgusting that Craig Doyal continuously sponsors and votes for the budget of the County Treasurer, who employs his daughter Lindsey as a payroll supervisor. Doyal should recuse himself.

3. Open Government. Doyal and Lambright have made it difficult, if not impossible for the public to obtain information about our County government. When a citizen seeks information, the requirement to submit a formal Open Records Act/Public Information Act request should be the exception, not the rule. County offices and their documents should be open to the public during normal business hours. The locked doors are inappropriate. The policy should be one of open files (except under extraordinary circumstances). The county attorney should be the central location where citizens may submit Open Records Act requests rather than having to search from department-to-department to find where Doyal/Lambright/Riley/Meador/Clark are hiding information.

Lift the Dark Hood of Doyal’s Dark Regime!

Bring full ethics reform to OUR government right away.

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