Image: Despite promising openness and transparency to the voters, County Judge Mark Keough has done whatever he can to shut them out of Commissioners Court deliberations. The Tuesday, January 11, 2022, Court Agenda is an example.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe and Shenandoah, January 11 – When Mark Keough ran for County Judge in 2018, he promised he would bring openness and transparency to the Montgomery County government, which he called “the most corrupt county government in Texas.” The Tuesday, January 11, 2022, Montgomery County Commissioners Court Agenda is an example of his broken promise and his studied effort to shut out Montgomery County citizens from deliberations on the Court.
On Thursday, January 6, 2022, during the Montgomery County Eagle Forum Candidate Forum with Keough and his challengers, Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman and conservative leader Dr. Billy Graff, Keough claimed – falsely – that he includes backup information for all Commissioners Court agenda items. A review of the January 11 Commissioners Court Agenda reveals the reality that Keough has never included all of the backup information and mostly keeps the citizens in the dark.
Of eleven (11) open agenda items, only two (2) of those items have any backup attached to the agenda at all. Nine (9) do not.
The nine (9) items with no backup are:
- a proposal to spend $250,000 on new medical supplies – lacking any calculation of that amount, lacking any bids or invoices for purchases, lacking any analysis of the need;
- a vague agenda item to respond to the COVID-19 threat – lacks specificity, lacks proposal of any sort, lacks data about COVID-19 cases, lacks amount of monetary cost to taxpayers;
- a proposal to pay for radios for other governmental entities – lacks identification of the governmental entities, lacks bids or invoices for purchases, lacks source of funds (likely more than $4.6 million), lacks explanation why other governmental entities can’t pay for those radios themselves, lacks disclosure that both former County Judges – Sadler and Doyal – oppose this proposal;
- request to replace a vehicle for Constable Precinct 4 “due to mechanical issue” – lacks explanation in writing of mechanical issue, lacks source of funds, lacks proposed budget, bids or quotes for vehicle and addition of law enforcement accoutrements;
- a proposed replat of Deer Trails Estates subdivision – lacks the proposed replay which would be very easy to attach for the public to review;
- proposed extension of sick time to June 30, 2022, for COVID – 19 for county employees – lacks projected cost to taxpayers, lacks source of funds, lacks history of sick time costs in current budget year, lacks history of sick time costs in past budget year, lacks current year’s budget information;
- secret meeting about road construction costs – Keough has completely hidden this agenda item from taxpayers;
- secret meeting about radios – Keough has hidden this agenda item from taxpayers when it clearly should entirely be in the open;
- secret meeting about purchasing real property – Keough has hidden this agenda item entirely from the taxpayers.
Keough promised in his so-called “Contract with Montgomery County,” that he would serve as County Judge with complete openness and transparency. Clearly, he broke that promise.
At a candidate forum of the Hispanic Conservatives last night in Conroe, Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman directly asked Keough to explain why he supported the $4.6 million radio purchase but had failed to include that proposal in the Fiscal Year 2022 Budget, why he failed to consult with former County Judge Craig Doyal who had directly dealt with the radio issue in 2009 as a County Commissioner and now opposes Keough’s proposal, and why Keough failed to consult with former County Judge Alan B. Sadler who also dealt with the radio issue in 2009 but now opposes Keough’s proposal.
Keough’s response to Mayor Countryman’s question was to ignore it entirely. Clearly, Keough has every intention of keeping citizens in the dark.