Image: His Royal Highness King Tupou VI, Sovereign of the Kingdom of Tonga. King Tupou probably wishes he was as much of an out-of-touch elitist as Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal. His motto is, of course, “Ko e ʻOtua mo Tonga ko hoku tofiʻa” (“God and Tonga are my Inheritance”), while Doyal’s is “Ko e ʻOtua mo Conroe ko hoku tofiʻa” (“God and Conroe are my Inheritance”).
Conroe, June 23 – Lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal appears on the verge of taking another in his series of punches knocking against the citizens of Montgomery County who cast him out of office in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. This time, Doyal has proposed a series of “Rules of Procedure, Conduct and Decorum at Meetings of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court.” Of course, Doyal is leaving office in less than seven months, so there’s no real purpose to his shoving these procedures down the throats of the citizens at this point other than revenge.
This set of “Rules” comes from Doyal, who has falsely arrested a citizen, disallowed others from speaking when their topics were antagonistic to Doyal’s political allies, allowed the upper caste of officials to disrupt court meetings and deride citizens with childish names, and encouraged County government bureaucrats to drone on and on and on about matters that are boring, obvious, and propagandistic. The only person involved in Commissioners Court meetings who obviously needs to learn some manners and gain some guidance with respect to his conduct happens to be the presiding officer, Doyal, whose behavior has been worse than a petulant child.
The only person involved in Commissioners Court meetings who obviously needs to learn some manners and gain some guidance on his conduct happens to be the presiding officer, Doyal, whose behavior has been worse than a petulant child.
The worst aspect of Doyal’s dictatorial set of rules is that he obviously has no conception how government works in the United States of America. The fundamental principle of American government is that all government power derives from, and depends upon, the citizens.
The Texas Legislature has made the foregoing principle the law of the State of Texas in the Texas Public Information/Open Records Act, which provides as follows:
Under the fundamental philosophy of the American constitutional form of representative government that adheres to the principle that government is the servant and not the master of the people, it is the policy of this state that each person is entitled, unless otherwise expressly provided by law, at all times to complete information about the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.
Section 552.001, Texas Government Code.
Dictator Doyal’s Edict
Nevertheless, in the arrogant power world of the elitist Doyal, he has turned the fundamental precept on its ear. Rather than working for the citizens and rather than recognizing that citizens are at the top of the governmental organization chart, Doyal has removed the citizens altogether. Here is Doyal’s anti-citizen, pro-bureaucracy version of Texas government which he hopes to institutionalize in his proposed “Rules of Procedure…”:
The business of Montgomery County is conducted by and between the members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court and by those members of the county staff, elected officials, appointed officials, department heads, consultants, experts and/or members of the public requested to be present and participate. While the public is invited to attend all meetings of the Commissioners Court (except Executive Sessions) the public’s participation therein is limited to that of observers unless a member (or members) of the public is requested to address the Commissioners Court on a particular issue (or issues) or unless the member (or members) of the public either signs up on a Public Comment list just prior to the Commissioners Court meeting, or completes a Public Comment Form and submits same to the County Judge by 9:15 a.m. or at least 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the meeting at which the agenda item will be discussed.
(Whoever wrote the foregoing sentence obviously failed middle school grammar.)
In fact, the petulant lame duck Doyal’s rules get even worse as their details go further:
Each member of the public who appears before the Commissioners Court on a specific agenda item or items shall be limited to a cumulative maximum of three (3) minutes to make his/her remarks. Time for each speaker shall be maintained by the County Judge or such other designated representative of the Commissioners Court. No speaker is permitted to accumulate speaking time from another person. Each member of the public who appears before the Commissioners Court for the general Public Comment portion of the agenda for an item or items not on the agenda shall be limited to a cumulative maximum of one (1) minute to make his/her remarks.
In other words, now Doyal wants to reduce the speaking time for citizens who want to discuss items not on the agenda to one (1) minute! Doyal must be in a great hurry to leave the Commissioners Court each Tuesday in order to eat a nice full lunch before his afternoon tee time.
Doyal must be in a great hurry to leave the Commissioners Court each Tuesday in order to eat a nice full lunch before his afternoon tee time.
Doyal’s proposed rule makes clear that his proposed time limits only apply to members of the public. There are no time limits for Doyal’s elite class of “county staff, elected officials, appointed officials, department heads, consultants, experts…” Therefore, when the County government’s Emergency Management Director Darren Hess chose to show a 17 minute video with almost no words and dramatic music reviewing the flooding and suffering during Tropical Storm Harvey that the vast majority of the people sitting in the Commissioners Court meeting had suffered through as personal experience, Hess had no time limit. But citizens, who sit at the top of the government’s organizational chart, must:
(a) report to Doyal’s locked office by 9:15 a.m. to fill out his special paperwork;
(b) conform to his tight rules for time limits; and
(c) follow Doyal’s timing of their “cumulative” remarks.
Given the clear facts that the misconduct during Commissioners Court meetings since Doyal lost the March 6 GOP Primary has emanated from Doyal himself, there clearly is no rational basis for Doyal’s restrictions on the free speech of citizens during Commissioners Court meetings other than an overwhelming need for Doyal to get a full round of golf in during the afternoons of Commissioners Court meetings.
During 2018, who has abused Commissioners Court meetings?
- Doyal himself in interrupting speakers, arresting a speaker, stopping speakers, and rudely arguing with speakers;
- County government bureaucrats and vendors who have chosen the Commissioners Court venue as a place to justify massive spending projects;
- Doyal’s political buddies whom he has allowed to interrupt meetings and make bizarre remarks about citizens.
What will the ultimate impact of Doyal’s proposed Rules of Procedure be? Citizens who oppose County spending and County taxation will never have a fair opportunity to express their thoughts, while Doyal’s allies who favor the massive spending and taxation growth Doyal has overseen will continue to do whatever they wish.