Editorial: Noack and Riley should feel ashamed for betraying Montgomery County citizens

Conroe’s Mark Frank carries his daughter in a quiet and rare moment when he’s not working one of several jobs to support his family in the midst of the economic devastation the Montgomery County government wrought.

Eric Yollick, Editor-in-Chief, The Golden Hammer

Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack should feel ashamed for his abject betrayal of Montgomery County citizens in the Commissioners Court “budget workshop.” Noack began the “budget workshop” with a carefully-planned proposal to give himself and all County government employees an across-the-board 5% pay raise, which will cost taxpayers more than $7 million.

Noack asked a number of elected officials and department heads to forego increasing spending in their departments to provide services to the citizens, so that they could instead give themselves a hefty pay raise.

It’s so very wrong on many different levels. First and foremost, Noack and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, his partner in this treasonous effort, made it very clear that the pay raise funds are coming directly from necessary road and bridge expenditures. In other words, Noack and Riley are taking tax dollars from the core purpose of the County government under the Texas Constitution and putting those funds in their own pockets instead.

Secondly, they’re the last people in this community who need a pay raise. Private citizens are struggling after a year-and-a-half of government-mandated business closures and church shutdowns. People can’t feed their families, pay their rent, collect their rent (if they’re landlords), or make their mortgage payments. We have suffered a genuine economic disaster with the Montgomery County unemployment still ahead of the national average. One year ago at this time, the unemployment rate in Montgomery County was twenty-five percent (25%)! Incomes have plummeted, because private citizens lost many paychecks during the China Virus shutdown delivered directly at the hands of Noack, Riley, and the remainder of the overreaching County government.

Thirdly, County government employees are already substantially overpaid. The Commissioners Court’s salaries greatly exceed the salaries of County Commissioners in comparable counties. County government employees receive paychecks substantially higher than private citizens working in comparable private sector jobs. The Commissioners Court has caused this government salary inflation during the past two decades. They’re all responsible for the inflation, even though they call themselves “Republicans.”

Fourth, Montgomery County’s government is vastly overstaffed. Look, for example, at the number of political and public relations employees in Noack’s Commissioner Precinct Office. Gone are the days when the extraordinarily competent road construction manager Matt Beasley ran that office. Instead, Noack just gave substantial raises to Andy Dubois, the former editor of The Courier blog, and Cody Grimes, a receptionist who receives just under $90,000 per year in salary alone, not include benefits.

Fifth, the County government – all of them, yes, every single one of them – squandered $17.5 million in employee benefit funds over the past three years through lack of oversight, mismanagement, and overspending. There simply is not one County government employee who deserves a raise. They should all have to pay the taxpayers back for the money they squandered.

This morning, Conroe Republican Precinct Chairman Mark Frank, a genuine conservative, who works multiple jobs in the private sector to support his beautiful young family, reacted to the pay raise as follows, and Frank certainly deserves the last word:

“That is sad. With many still struggling and many still out of work. What hurts the most though is they kept their essential jobs through the pandemic. But now need a pay raise?

“I’ve got an idea. Instead of a pay raise, how about we keep the taxes frozen until the people can recover. That would mean no new debt. Also, they would need to cut silly spending to afford the needs and not their wants. But it is something that would show good faith to the citizens they represent.”

James and Charlie, shame on you. Act like elected representatives of the people rather than the family life-sucking tax collectors you seemingly are.

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