Editorial: The sure sign of trouble in government is secrecy

Editorial: The sure sign of trouble in government is secrecy

Image: Whether it’s the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District, the Conroe Independent School District, the San Jacinto River Authority, or a plethora of other governmental entities, secrecy in government is always a sign of trouble.

Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer

As Harold Hill sort of said in “The Music Man,” that’s trouble. It starts with “T” that rhymes with “P” and stands for…secrecy!

When government starts to hide, there’s always a reason. The Conroe Independent School District hides its curriculum, its Board minutes, its contracts, its financial projections, its relationship with PBK Architects, and just about everything else both from the citizens and from the mesmerized Board of Trustees, which acts as a mere rubber stamp for PowerPoint presentations of school district administrators.

In the Montgomery County government, when members of the Commissioners Court don’t want the citizens to observe with vigilance what’s actually happening, they begin the lockouts. Disgraced former County Judge Craig Doyal instructed County employees not to speak to the general public. Three of the four County Commissioners now lock their offices so that the general public can’t even visit them without their permission. The County government hides its financial books and makes public information about as difficult to obtain as possible. Now, of course, Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, who in the past was the ally of the citizens, wants to hide all of his office management decisions from the public entirely. With “consent agendas,” hidden “budget amendments,” Commissioners Court agenda items without the backup material so only the Commissioners Court members can view what they vote to approve, secret meetings with state officials, and backroom deals, Montgomery County rightly deserves its moniker “most corrupt County government in Texas.” Just watch them. They’re moving to hide more and never seek to open government operations up for public view. Just try to visit the room here the $16 million Enterprise Resource Planning project is proceeding. If you try to enter, you’ll get arrested!

Meanwhile, the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District (LSGCD) has shown signs of complete psychosis in its Tuesday, June 11, 2019, Board meeting agenda. They conduct enormous business in illegal executive sessions under the pretense that they’re meeting with their attorney. Actually, the Texas Open Meetings Act only allows executive sessions with attorneys for very limited purposes, but the LSGCD Board is discussing strategy, policy, and planning behind closed doors with no notice to the public. They’ve placed two agenda items to enter into confidentiality agreements with consultants. In other words, they’ll exclude the public from information in direct violation of the statutory provisions and public policy of the Texas Public Information Act. To make matters worse, the Board intends to spend public dollars on a public relations consultant, Taylorized PR. While the LSGCD Board will exclude the public from their deliberations, they’ll whitewash what they want you to know through press releases from a third party consultant rather than from direct observation of the Board itself. That’s government secrecy at its absolute worst.

The San Jacinto River Authority does all of the above to maintain its secrecy plus even more. They keep the gate locked to the entire operation, so citizens can’t even enter their “public” building other than once a month when the SJRA, under armed guards, holds its Board meeting.

It’s all illegal. Worse yet, it’s a sure sign that corruption is rampant in government. There’s a darn good reason they don’t want you to know what they’re doing.

Montgomery County: massive public spending, conflicts of interest, nepotism, kickbacks, and complete vendor control over decisions.

Conroe ISD: massive public spending; curriculum driven by the goal to teach children to crave a “cooperative” society rather than one based upon free market competition which made this nation great; it’s far beyond vendor control over decisions because the vendors actually make the decisions; massive cost overruns in purchasing and construction contracts; and hiding school safety issues.

Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District: massive public spending; completely unnecessary regulation; secret Board decisions; use of false propaganda.

San Jacinto River Authority: monopoly of water sales; massive public spending; complete failure to “provide flood control” as the 1937 enabling statute requires.

Just as Marian the Librarian overran Harold Hill and reforms him from the fraudster he once was, it’s time for the citizens of Montgomery County to overrun the County government, CISD, LSGCD, SJRA, and other secretive government entities (just about all of them) and reform them from the fraudsters they most certainly are.

 

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