Image: Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack has worked directly against citizen interests for approximately one year with the goal of giving himself a substantial salary increase. Noack struct successfully at the Friday, July 27, 2018, meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court.
Conroe, July 28 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, who has made clear that he would do just about anything as far as voting with the liberal-leading members of the Commissioners Court during the past year so that they would join with him to give themselves pay raises, did just that on Friday, July 27, 2018, when they voted themselves a 3% across-the board salary increase as part of the pretext of an across-the-board pay increase for all County employees. The self-awarded salary increase will bring the salary of Noack and the other County Commissioners to $173,872 per year, a $5,064 pay raise over their current salaries. With County employee benefits, Noack and the other County Commissioners will receive a whopping $243,942 in taxpayer-funded compensation.
The taxpayers had no say in Noack’s and the County Commissioners’ decision, because Noack, the County Commissioners, and Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal disallowed citizens from speaking or participating in the so-called “budget workshop.”
The decision was unanimous among Noack, Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador. Precinct 4 County Commissioner has been ill, while recovering from radiation treatments and chemotherapy for head and neck cancer from which he suffers.
Noack’s voting records has shifted markedly to the left, as it has become apparent since July 28, 2017, that Noack was focused like a laser on giving himself a pay raise during the Fiscal Year 2019 budget deliberations this year.
The Citizens Budget Committee presented a Salary Survey, based upon County Commissioner compensation in other counties, to the Commissioners Court on May 8, 2018. The Committee recommended that County Commissioner salaries in Montgomery County should be no higher than $121,772.
The new salaries that Noack and the other County Commissioners awarded themselves will bring their salaries to $23,872 higher than the $150,000 salary of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and the same salary that Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, receives. Abbott, of course, receives some benefits, however, such as use of the Governor’s Mansion in Austin.
The Golden Hammer has repeatedly warned readers that Noack would pull a stunt precisely like the one he pulled at the end of the Commissioners Court’s budget workshop on Friday in order to give himself a pay raise.
Here’s how Noack and Doyal completed the stunt to give themselves raises.
Several County Department directors, who have requested anonymity, confirmed that Noack and Doyal instructed them not to include salary increases as part of their budget requests submitted to the Montgomery County Budget Office, so that the Commissioners Court could deal with the issue at the very end of the four-day budget workshop and make it almost appear as an afterthought. During the early discussions on Tuesday, July 24, however, Budget Office Director Amanda Carter made a recommendation to increase the salaries only of the County government employees who received lower rates of compensation, particularly since upper level mangers and elected servants’ compensation was far higher than it should be.
Knowing the clear intention of Noack and Doyal, the following colloquy which occurred during the last five minutes of the budget workshop on Friday, July 27, should come as no surprise. Basically, Noack and his colleagues made clear that they intended to spend every penny of projected taxes, so that they would not give the taxpayers any tax rate reduction relief.
With a few minutes left in the meeting, and his looming golf tee time, Doyal said to Budget Office Director Carter, “Amanda, you want to take a minutes and tally up everything where we are.”
Carter responded, “You allocated an additional $1.7 million this morning.” Carter meant that they Commissioners Court, primarily under Noack’s pro-spending leadership, had given out an additional $1.7 million to County government Departments Directors who begged for more spending for their departments. Carter continued, “You already did a million dollars in ‘yeses’ over the past 3 days. So don’t include that. So coming in this morning, you had $5.7 million in new money. You’ve already allocated $1.7 million this morning. So that basically leaves you $4 million additional right now.”
What Carter meant by “new money” was money that Montgomery County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae projected for tax collections. In reality, of course, the Commissioners Court referred to tax collections taken from beleaguered taxpayers as “new money” in their greedy eyes.
Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador then chimed in on cue from Noack who looked squarely at his Precinct 1 colleague as though he was directing a play, “We’ve still not discussed raises.”
Carter responded, “Correct. So currently you have the 1% for grades 1 through 10 as long as they’re not above the maximum.”
Meador answered, “If we do away with the 1% and give every employee in Montgomery 3%, what is that?” Noack at that point began a broad smile.
Carter explained, “So 1% of your current payroll just in the general fund is $1,375,318 with salary and benefits.”
Meador retorted, “So we can add that to the $4 million if we take that 1% out. That gives us $5 million, three seventy-five.”
Carter said, “So in theory taking out the 1% we’ve already given, you’d still have left over $407,000.”
Doyal asked, “For contingency?”
Carter explained, “For contingency or capital improvements or whatever you guys wanted to establish.”
Doyal asked Carter, “We have $100,000 already in contingency?” Carter answered, “Yes, that is correct.”
The always confused Meador asked, “So, what are you telling me? If we do the 3%, we’ve still got $4 million left?” Carter reiterated, “If you do the 3%, then you have $407,000 left. About $400,000.”
Meador quickly said, “OK. I move” at which point Noack obviously breathed a sigh of relief and let out a big smile and laugh.
Carter tried to instill some fiscal preservation, “Are we in consensus? Do you guys want to give the 3% across the board? Do you want the Budget Office to limit people who are in the maximum of their grade or do you want to give them, give it to everybody?”
Meador greedily responded, “Everybody.”
Riley agreed, “Across the board.”
Noack instinctively grunted, “Heh, yeh.”
Amazingly, the lame duck County Judge Doyal asked the conservative question, “Even if they’re above their maximum?”
Meador answered, “The max moves.”
Noack couldn’t control his greed and interjected, “Yes, this is a COLA basis.”
Doyal accepted, “Yes, the maximum is going to move.”
Carter observed, “The maximum is going to move, but you already have people over the current maximum.”
Meador responded, “The maximum would fix itself.”
Noack, licked his lips and said, “Heh. The grades move with it. Everything.”
Doyal said, “Everything would have to move with it. That’s where we get in a bind if we don’t.”
Noack responded, “Correct. Alright.”
Carter turned to the law enforcement officers in the audience who were grossly underpaid and explained, “Just to clarify that law enforcement, you are included, when we’re talking about those 3%. The STEP plan is included in that.”
Noack then quickly moved the subject to giving Riley an extra traffic signal for his precinct.
But a County employee stood and asked, “So the salary deal is a done deal?”
Noack quickly responded as the leader for the money-grabbers, “Yes.”
That’s how greed wolves pretending to be “public servants” take money from the citizens.
Even those elected servants and top-level managers in the Montgomery County government who are already grossly overpaid will receive the 3% salary increase, because Noack wanted a raise and the cost-of-living adjustment was the pretext for him to get it.
Sadly, the citizens of Montgomery County won’t receive a raise, but instead will, thanks to Noack and his cohorts, pay more money to the County government in taxes.