Image: Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough’s Lexus SUV after he slammed into a Precinct 5 Deputy Constable’s parked car on Thursday, September 10, 2020, at approximately 7:28 a.m. Keough cannot drive himself since the accident and wants taxpayers to pay for him to have his own driver.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe and The Woodlands, November 10 – Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough has, for the second meeting in a row, included a Commissioners Court agenda item for today’s regular meeting which would provide a position for a deputy constable assigned to his office to serve as Keough’s personal driver. Keough tried to get the measure passed on Tuesday, October 27, 2020, but pulled the agenda item for reasons of political expediency.
Since Keough slammed his car into a Precinct 5 Deputy Constable’s parked car on Thursday, September 10, 2020, in The Woodlands, Keough has not been able to drive himself while investigators determine the specific cause of Keough losing control of his Lexus SUV. Keough slammed his vehicle into Precinct 5 Montgomery County Deputy Constable Bruce Harrison’s official vehicle at approximately 7:28 a.m. that morning near the intersection of Grogans Mill Road and Blue Fox Lane in The Woodlands.
Both Keough and Harrison went to the hospital after the accident. Fortunately, Harrison suffered only minor injuries, but Keough broke his pelvis and suffered severe lacerations.
Keough blacked out in March 2017 during the 85th Texas Legislative Session and his Lexus SUV collided into another vehicle in Austin. Keough went to the hospital after that accident but the other driver did not suffer any injuries.
Keough’s agenda item looks innocent enough: “Consider and approve opening position 55216-5010-1 Deputy, annualized salary $56139.20 effective 11/14/2020. Total needed for remaining FY 2021 is $73,373.92 plus $7,500 for necessary equipment. Please name a funding source.” The Golden Hammer has confirmed, however, that the purpose of the Deputy assigned to Keough’s County Judge Office would be to provide him with a driver to drive him to and from work at the Sadler Administration Building as well as to other locations around the community.
Keough is unable to drive himself. His Chief of Staff, Jason Millsaps, cannot drive Keough, because Millsaps has a leased vehicle and cannot exceed his monthly mileage level or he’d be in breach of the lease, according to three sources within the Montgomery County government who have confirmed the purpose of Keough’s taxpayer-funded spending request. Keough’s wife, Kim, does not want to drive him, according to the sources who have requested anonymity for fear of reprisal.
Keough has adopted many of the bad practices of former Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal. In particular, Keough has resorted to Doyal’s terrible Commissioner Court agenda and citizen comment practices to block citizens from acquiring knowledge of County government operations. Doyal, however, never even suggested the possibility that taxpayers should pay for him to have a private driver, at taxpayer expense.
Only one member of the Commissioners Court, Charlie Riley, the Precinct 2 Commissioner, utilizes a full-time law enforcement officer as his private driver. The three other Commissioners have Deputy Constables assigned to their officers when their road crews require safety assistance when they’re working on public roads. The assigned deputies do not otherwise work for the Commissioners or their staffs, with the exception of Riley’s officer who also acts as a political liaison between Riley and the law enforcement community.
It’s no surprise that County government spending has increased under Keough’s watch as County Judge. If he is so wasteful with taxpayer funds that he believes he should have his own law enforcement officer, it’s no wonder that County government spending has ballooned during the past two years.
The County Judge has no Constitutional responsibilities or statutory responsibilities other than to preside over Commissioners Court meetings, to oversee the emergency management department, which Keough’s Chief of Staff actually oversees for him, and to make arrangement for the burial of paupers who die in Montgomery County. Those duties hardly require the service of a full-time driver but for Keough’s unwillingness to be responsible for his own arrangements to go to and from work.
Keough didn’t respond to a request for comment.