Have the Montgomery County Commissioners learned anything? First ratings for Fiscal Year 2018 present ugly picture

Have the Montgomery County Commissioners learned anything? First ratings for Fiscal Year 2018 present ugly picture

Image: This young fellow was obviously very eager to learn to drive. Unfortunately for the citizens of Montgomery County, County Judge Craig Doyal and his colleagues on the Commissioners Court have not shown a similar eagerness to improve or learn.

Conroe, October 22 – The Montgomery County Commissioners Court held its first meeting of Fiscal Year 2018 on October 10, 2017. Children are eager to learn to improve their ways. Sadly for the citizens of Montgomery County, County Judge Craig Doyal and and his colleagues on the Commissioners Court have not shown a similar eagerness to improve or learn.

The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, rated the Commissioners Court’s votes during Fiscal Year 2017. The results were ugly. Four of the five Court members received “F” scores for their voting records, while only Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark pulled off the passing grade of “D.”

The ratings consist of an evaluation of each vote based upon 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, October 10, 2017, 9:30 a.m. All Court members present, except for Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador who left the meeting several times to get coffee and go to the bathroom.

Agenda Item 9A1: Consider and approve payment of accounts.

The “payment of accounts” included:

  • $24,068.15 in payments to collection law firm Graves Humphries out of the JP fees and fines funds for their poor collection work with respect to the four out of five Justice Courts for which they collect. By utilizing Graves Humphries, which Marc Davenport, JP James Metts, and Wayne Mack foisted upon the taxpayers, the County is losing millions of dollars in collections. The four JP courts which use Graves Humphries cannot compare to the stellar collections percentage of Judge Edie Connelly’s JP3, which utilizes the County’s in-house collection system.
  • $13,808,370.80 of payments, including almost $1 million in unreviewed credit card charges on the County’s credit cards, in 91 pages of listed charges.
  • Over $160,000 of payments out of the County general funds for the Tx-249 Tollway project that Doyal and Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley continue to lie to taxpayers as claiming that it’s not costing the taxpayers any money. These payments include: $19,514.96 to Halff Associates, Inc., the firm of Bobby Jack Adams, Doyal’s best friend and business partner; $29,006.12 to CDM Smith, Inc., which just paid over $4,000,000 in criminal restitution to the U.S. Department of Justice for bribery and artificially inflating invoices and is under criminal indictments elsewhere; $8,098.75 to Rich Muller, the Sugar Land attorney who will give just about any legal opinion Doyal and Riley want him to give and who also is responsible for the taxation without representation of the Westwood Magnolia Community Improvement District; $103,303.39 to favored political contributor Jones & Carter engineering firm.
  • An additional $16,860 to Halff Associates for other road and bridge projects.
  • $12,300 paid to duplicative engineer John Holzwarth, who regularly contributes large portions of his fees back to Doyal, Riley, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador. Holzwarth’s alleged services duplicate the duties and responsibilities of salaried County employee Mark Mooney, the County Engineer.

Major vote. 25 points. A “no” vote was appropriate. Passed 5 to 0.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9A2: Budget Amendments.

The Commissioners Court was far more focused in excluding public participation and scrutiny than they were in working to pass a good budget in the recent “budget workshops” and “hearings” for Fiscal Year 2018, which began only ten days ago on October 1. Doyal, Riley, Noack, and Meador actively disallowed citizen participation in the budget workshop, hid the budget from public view as long as possible, and ignored detailed citizen comments on September 5 about the numerous technical problems with the proposed budget.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that the dopey and arrogant Commissioners Court would need to approve more than $6.063 million of budget amendments so soon after the Fiscal Year has begun. The budget is a total mess.

County Auditor Phyllis Martin does little more than play politics and hides the budget. She refuses to follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles which, by Texas law, must be applied to the budget process.

The Doyal-Noack “budget office” is a complete joke. With a $287,000 budget, it has no employees, no purpose, and no goals. It was just a shameful method of spending tax dollars, so the Commissioners Court would not have to face the terrible possibility of reducing taxes.

Major vote. 25 points. A “no” vote is the right vote. Passed 5 to 0.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9A3: Consider and approve completed audits.

As County Auditor Martin’s primary role has been to hide financial information from the citizens and to issue propaganda to attempt to justify County spending, she’s become the financial spin doc of the Commissioners Court.

The agenda item, “consider and accept completed audits,” is no exception to Martin’s sleazy methods. None of the audits are even attached to the Commissioners Court Agenda online. It’s not clear whether the Commissioners Court members will even receive those alleged audits before the meeting.

What is clear, however, is that Martin continues to ignore Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in her so-called “audits.” Basically, she audits her own books, which is a clear violation of the anti-conflicts-of-interest principles in GAAP.

Amazingly, the five members of the Commissioners Court approved the audits by a 5 to 0 vote without ever having the opportunity even to view any of the audits.

Major vote. 25 points.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9C: The Commissioners Court approved several million dollars of contracts, change orders, advertising for new contracts, and additional changes to existing contracts without discussion or review. Under the circumstances, a “no” vote is appropriate. 10 points. Passed 5 to 0.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 9I2: Doyal wanted to schedule the County employee Christmas luncheon already, so all County employees will get a 2 hour lunch break on December 5, 2017, so that they can attend the Christmas Luncheon and watch Wayne Mack, Craig Doyal, and Mike Meador fawn all over themselves. 1 point. Passed 5 to 0.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Doyal turned the Citizen Comments into a mess. It’s apparent that he is seeking to prevent citizens from making comments about agenda items before the Commissioners Court votes on matters by establishing confusing and restrictive procedures. When citizens are able to make comments before agenda items, Doyal interrupts them almost every time when he doesn’t like the content of their remarks. Doyal’s conduct of citizens comments deserves a 100 point deduction for him.

Agenda Item 11A: Nominate 2 people to be on the Montgomery Central Appraisal District Board of Directors. These two nominations are very important. Instead of making any real decision, the dysfunctional Commissioners Court nominated five individuals: Mike Meador (nominated by Mike Meador!), an individual (nominated by Charlie Riley), Peggy Hausman (nominated by James Noack), Guy Hancock (nominated by Jim Clark), and Bob Casey (nominated by Craig Doyal). If there was any vote that put the complete unwillingness of all five members of the Commissioners Court to bring real reform to the Montgomery Central Appraisal District, it was this vote. They all voted to nominate five people for two positions. The baby in the car in the above photograph would know better than to try to put five squares into two square holes. A “no” vote was appropriate. Since the MCAD has become the primary means for raising taxes on Montgomery County citizens, this vote was major. 25 points.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 11B: Vote for the $73 million, 3.6 mile Tx-249 Extension Tollway under an advanced funding agreement with TxDOT and to accept a terrible right-of-way agreement from Varde Partners, convicted felon Pete Peters, San Antonio developer Rick Sheldon, and others, which will require the County most likely to construct all of the frontage roads between Pinehurst and Todd Mission along this completely unnecessary tollroad at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County. Riley and Doyal refuse to permit the citizens of Montgomery County vote on this tollroad by referendum. It’s such a major vote that 25 points isn’t enough. 100 points. “No” vote is appropriate. Since Meador made the motion and Noack seconded the motion, each of them receive a 50 point deduction. 3 to 2 vote in favor of passage.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK No (why did he second it?!)

CLARK No.

Agenda Item 12: Vote to ask the federal government to provide $1.25 million for a flood mitigation study in Montgomery County. Meador actually did an excellent job during the meeting on this item, because he insisted that the request keep open which engineering firm would actually do the study rather than already naming a firm without appropriate bids and competition among proposals. A “Yes” vote was appropriate. 25 points. Meador gets a 50 point bonus for his good work on this issue. Passed 5 to 0.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 19A1: Allow Meador to open a new position for a part-time park attendant in the middle of the budget year and fund that position from his Precinct 1 carryover slush fund (account 612-7997). Remember if you see the numbers “7997” referred to in an account for the County government, it’s the slush fund! Since Meador failed to include this position in his budget request, the appropriate vote should have been “No.” It passed 5 to 10. 5 points.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Agenda Item 21A: Cancel the troubled Advocates for Families in Crisis contract as a result of the conflicts of interest and management issues that nonprofit agency has caused itself. Furthermore, AFC seems to cost the County government a lot more money than having the judges appoint attorneys off of a list by a random selection process form a list of previously-qualified attorneys. 10 points. A “Yes” vote was appropriate.

DOYAL Yes

MEADOR Yes

RILEY Yes

NOACK Yes

CLARK Yes.

Commissioners Court ratings for October 10, 2017, meeting:

DOYAL -65/251. Grade F.

MEADOR 35/251. Grade F.

RILEY 35/251. Grade F.

NOACK 85/251. Grade F.

CLARK 110/251. Grade F.

Not a very good start to the new Fiscal Year.

The citizens are getting more active. The citizens must remain vigilant.

 

 

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