Hypocrisy, spending explosion mar Commissioners Court agenda

Happier days, celebrating taxation in the form of tolls, left to right: Craig Doyal, Nelda Blair, Jim Clark. Note that Clark is smiling the least because he wasn’t so sure that tolls aren’t taxes when this photograph was taken. He seems more sure now.

Conroe, May 22 – Craig Doyal’s hypocrisy and the County spending explosion over which he has presided have marred the May 23, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting, which the Court has set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Please hold on to your wallets.

Doyal’s hypocrisy in full swing

Four weeks ago, Doyal made a huge issue that the Commissioners Court should not raise salaries in the middle of the budget year when Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark moved to give an automobile technical manager in the Precinct 4 Commissioners Office a mid-year raise. Despite Doyal’s stand against mid-year salary increases, which now obviously looks more like “payback” for Clark’s agreeing to testifying 0n behalf of the State of Texas in the criminal case for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act against Doyal, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, and local political consultant Marc Davenport, now Doyal wants to raise the salary of the Purchasing Department Director by $22,521.21 to an exorbitant $135,000 effective July 1, 2017.

Doyal’s motion seems rather strange. In his press release where he claimed to be a “fiscal conservative,” Doyal took a stand against any salary increases for Montgomery County. Now, however, when politics has gotten involved, he’s willing to bend the rules, which obviously don’t apply to him. Doyal fired the previous Purchasing Director Darlou Zenor, a member of Doyal’s “hit list” of political enemies who dared to support Doyal’s 2014 electoral opponent Mark Bosma for County Judge in the Republican Primary Election. Since Doyal fired Zenor last October, the Purchasing Department has floundered under Jorge Ardines, a nice man but one incapable of running the Purchasing Department.

The Commissioners Court should take a stand against raising the salary of the Purchasing Director in the middle of the Fiscal 2017 Budget Year.

“Consent Agenda”

As always, Doyal’s secretive “consent agenda” dominates the budget. The spending is completely out of control. Since 2000, Doyal and friends have raised County government spending by 428% while the County’s population growth has only been 84%. Since 2010, Doyal has grown the budget by $54 million over the rate of population growth plus the rate of inflation, the ceiling which even Doyal has argued is the definition of a fiscally-conservative budget.

Apocalypse Now: Agenda Item 8A1, Payment of Accounts

86 single-spaced pages of bills and $8,428,672.75 of expenditures will receive precisely no review whatsoever from the Commissioners Court or County Judge. That’s your County government in its most typical action. There simply is no excuse for the members of the County Commissioners Court not to review the proposed payment of bills.

Here’s what they aren’t going to give any review whatsoever:

  • Tens of thousands of Citibank credit card charges will receive no review.
  • $4,000 paid to purchasing “consultant” Gilbert Jalomo.
  • $27,300 paid to Weaver and Tidwell accountants. It’s incredible that they’re not questioning this expenditure. They should at least review the bills to see what the charges represent.
  • Hundreds of dollars for the purchase of donuts (no, it’s not for jurors).
  • Thousands of dollars for welding and energy services for the Elections administrator will receive no review whatsoever, even though energy services fall under the Non-Departmental Budget which should not go under the Elections Department at all.
  • $1,820 for the Tax Assessor to pay Conroe Door, even though we have a Building Maintenance Department highly qualified to provide such labor and materials.
  • $73,315 for the Information Technology Department, which is completely overstaff with technologists and programmers, to pay for outside services from expensive vendors for the same things.
  • $14,000 or more in payments to Staples by the Custodial Maintenance Department.
  • Almost $30,000 in utility bills for the Civic Center Complex even though that should also fall under the utility payments under Non-Departmental.
  • $450 for civil indigent defense.
  • $19,000 for “special account” expenditures by the Memorial Library.
  • $15,801 for Thomson West for the Law Library in monthly charges. What a total waste of taxpayer money!
  • $678.30 for a court reporter to prepare the trial record in the Texas Open Meetings Act criminal case against Doyal, Riley, and Davenport.
  • $7,000 in payments to John Holzwarth, the outside engineer who duplicates what the County Engineer should be doing.
  • A $6,000.00 payment in a nice even amount to a law firm for the $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 extension, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.
  • $22,000 in payments to Brown and Gay engineers and LandTech Surveyors for the Decimation of Hope Highway.

Agenda Item 8A2: Budget Amendments.

The sky is falling! The sky is falling! The Commissioners Court will literally declare all of the following “emergencies” and “grave public necessities.” Here are the “unforeseen circumstances” that “reasonably diligent thought and attention” of your County Judge and Commissioners could not have forseen:

  • $1,600.00 for vehicle maintenance for the Adult Probation Department.
  • $187,000 from Commissioner Mike Meador’s “slush fund” for some unnamed expenditure
  • Spending $955 or Emergency Management to buy supplies from their “slush fund” of unbudgeted money without any explanation or specification.
  • Approximately $78,000 on contracts and change orders for construction.
  • Approval of a number of payroll changes, including the retirement of overpaid secretary Jule Puckett!

Agenda Item 14. County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae reorganized her Department without any sort of political infighting and saved the taxpayers $36,601.26 by eliminating certain positions!!!!!!!

Agenda Item 16A from the County Auditor is an 8-page single-spaced report showing the calculation of 5% of each of the County Department Budgets. They actually needed a written report for that?!

Agenda Item 17B. Meador wants to buy a backhoe for $78,138.34.

There are three executive sessions scheduled. Here’s what we know about them. The first involves the lawsuit of Ricky Gann, a Jail inmate who had some sort of complaint against Sheriff Tommy Gage. The second involves a pre-suit demand of an unidentified nature by an unidentified County employee. The third involves discussion of “Montgomery County Employee Benefit Claim #PY2017-010603-A.” The second and third executive session agenda items do not comply with the notice requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act. Of course, in the world of Doyal and Riley, there is no Texas Open Meetings Act!

 

 

 

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