If that’s not a picture of corruption, nothing is: Judge James Metts’ Corruption, continued: only judge to have a PR person on staff (the Davenports, Part 17)

If that’s not a picture of corruption, nothing is: Judge James Metts’ Corruption, continued: only judge to have a PR person on staff (the Davenports, Part 17)

Image: Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace James Metts (left) who intends to run for Precinct 4 County Commissioner against incumbent Jim Clark, County Judge Craig Doyal (right). Metts is a Davenport “client.” Doyal fears Davenport, so he follows Davenport’s orders.

New Caney, July 8 – When one shoe drops, the others fall. So it goes with corruption. Yesterday, The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, reported about the fictitious lawsuit James Metts, Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace, filed with Montgomery County essentially suing itself, where Metts acted as the plaintiff, plaintiff’s attorney, and judge. In that same case, Metts signed an illegal injunction order as the judge which he then instructed Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden’s office to serve on Marshall Shirley, Information Technology Director of Montgomery County.

After this newspaper reported that Metts, through his “Communications Coordinator” Jamie Nash, lied to The Golden Hammer on Wednesday, July 5, saying that there was never such a lawsuit and there was no court file for it, a number of readers asked the question, “Why does a judge have a ‘communications coordinator’ at all?”

That’s an excellent question and the subject of this article. The Golden Hammer appreciates the two employees of Judge Metts’ office who, confidentially, confirmed some of the inner workings of his court’s operations.

No other court in Montgomery County has a “communications coordinator” or public relations person on its staff. The Golden Hammer confirmed that fact with all eight District Courts, the five County Courts at Law, and the other four Justices of the Peace today. In fact, three of the court employees who fielded the question today seemed rather insulted at the suggestion that a court would have such a person on its staff. Obviously, if appropriately run, should not have a communications coordinator. That is not an appropriate expenditure of tax dollars.

In the instance of Metts, however, a Marc Davenport crony and client, such an expenditure may not surprise. For Davenport and most of his clients, control of operations, control of purchasing, and control of elections are the priorities. Government service to the taxpayers seems to be little more than an excuse for political manipulation. (Sheriff Henderson and Constable Hayden do seem to be exceptions for a variety of reasons.)

Metts pays Jamie Nash, his “Communications Coordinator” out of taxpayer dollars from his Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, Budget. Nash is a County employee who receives $30,598.56 per year in salary, plus benefits, which, based upon the average, would be approximately $12,400 per year.

Metts, of course, would not respond to a telephone inquiry, because he claims only to speak through his PR guy, Davenport. Interestingly, Davenport’s May 23 letter to The Golden Hammer‘s Publisher about media inquiries did not mention Nash as a person with whom communication might occur.

Those facts all beg the question: what does Nash do for the taxpayers?

The answer from Metts’ staff is interesting. Nash has an office in the Justice of the Peace, Precinct 4, building. According to Metts’ employees, Nash is there only part-time. When she is in the building, her door is almost always closed. Nash has no involvement whatsoever in the court’s or office’s operations. The two full-time court employees with whom this newspaper spoke had never observed Nash doing any work involving the business of the precinct 4 court over several years.

Metts does send out a quarterly newsletter in the form of a single sheet of tri-folded paper. The newsletter, however, contains campaign announcements, so, hopefully, Nash does not devote any County time to its preparation.

Additionally, Nash performs one very important community service. She and her husband, Scott Engle, publish the “Montgomery County Police Reporter,” which publishes articles and press releases mostly about law enforcement topics. Recently, readers have noticed a pro-Craig Doyal slant to the reporting of the MCPR. Since Doyal seems to act at the direction of Davenport, as does Metts, that would seem to make sense.

Of course, the MCPR is a private, ostensibly for-profit publication, so Nash should not devote any County time to its preparation either. MCPR certainly does provide a lot of free political publicity to Metts. That’s their business, however, as long as they don’t use County time or tax dollars to do it, at which point those activities should be our business.

Metts, obviously, should eliminate the Nash position from his payroll. This newspaper has never heard of a court of any sort having a PR person on its payroll. That may be acceptable in the Montgomery County-Craig Doyal-Marc Davenport world of corruption, but it’s inappropriate in the world of taxpayers who have to pay real dollars to attempt to hold on to their homes and other property despite the stronger and stronger interest of the “tax man” each year.



You must be logged in to post a comment Login