Major issues loom in final Commissioners Court meeting before the “Trial of the 21st Century, the TOMA Trial” begins

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark.

Conroe, March 12 – The final Montgomery County Commissioner Court will hold its final meeting on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at 9:30 a.m., before the Texas Open Meetings Act trial, which is set to commence on March 27. County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s proposed “reorganization” of her 6-person Department, County Judge Craig Doyal’s portrait “For Future Generations,” and millions of dollars of continuation of the Commissioners Court’s freewheeling spending highlight the agenda.

The Consent Agenda includes the following:

  • Payment of $608.22 to Commissioner Mike Meador as a vendor of Montgomery County
  • Payment of $105,869.50 to County Judge Craig Doyal’s business partner and best friend Bobby Jack Adams’ engineering firm Halff Associations, Inc., for the $100 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 Decimation of Hope Highway Project at the far southwest edge of Montgomery County
  • Total payments of $15,634,051.21 of invoices
  • Budget Amendments for Fiscal Year 2016 in the amount of approximately $178,000, for reconciliations of accounts and reductions of amounts spent
  • Commissioner Mike Meador, Precinct 1, is paying $1,450 for a desk buildout for Justice of the Peace, Precinct 1, Wayne Mack
  • Constable David Hill, Precinct 5, is presenting the County with $214.50 for 100 children’s identification kits from the Magnolia Bible Church
  • District Attorney Brett Ligon is purchasing a laptop computer for himself for $1,269.63.
  • $25,000 payment of a lawsuit settlement to Jorge Elizalde from the vehicle maintenance fund of the Montgomery County Fire Marshal
  • Transfer of $49,942 in the “secret budget” 7997 account for the Information Technology account to “Professional Services.” It’s called “secret budget” because those funds did not appear in the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget for Montgomery County as they were carryovers from the previous Fiscal Year.
  • Use of $4,108.09 for the Justice of Peace Precinct 3 (Edie Connelly) technology fund for a computer for the bailiff in order to enhance Courthouse security.
  • Cancel Dennis McMahons’ risk management consulting contract.
  • Payroll change requests with no backup provided.
  • The Commissioners Court placed the following secretive amendment to the so-called “Code of Ethics”:
  1. Delay of the beginning of the Ethics Committee
  2. Minor changes to the Gifts and Benefits prohibitions
  • Accept $5,000 gift from jeweler Barry Donoho to Precinct 3 Constable’s Department.

Meador and Noack should recuse themselves from approval of the Consent Agenda.

Agenda Item 10A: CONSIDER AND APPROVE A PORTRAIT OF COMMISSIONERS COURT MEMBERS TO BE TAKEN IN 2017 AND EVERY FOUR YEARS THEREAFTER. A PICTURE OF THE COURT IS TO BE PLACED IN COMMISSIONERS COURTROOM CONTINUING THE GALLERY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. THE FUNDING FOR THE PORTRAIT AND FRAMING WILL COME FROM THE CONTINGENCY FUND.

Placing such an agenda item on the Commissioners Court agenda requires a healthy ego!

Agenda Item 10B: Judge Doyal will update the Commissioners Court and the public for the search for a new Purchasing Director, after Doyal squeezed out Darlou Zenor, a member of Doyal’s “Hit List.”

Agenda Item 11: The Department of Forensic Services is working towards national accreditation and will provide a report, as well as discuss a grant application ot the National Institute of Justice.

County Judge Craig Doyal.

Agenda Item 12A and B: Precinct 3 Constable Ryan Gable will present a strategic vision for the Precinct 3 Constable’s Office and will request that the County not sweep the unused salary and benefit funding, so that such funds stay in the Department from year to year.

Agenda Item 15: County Auditor Phyllis Martin provided several major reports regarding use of budgeted funds. The Golden Hammer will report on this agenda item in greater detail in forthcoming issues.

Agenda Item 16: County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport requested several position changes and intends to return some funds into the general fund. Davenport is obviously very sincere about the reorganization of her 6-person department. Please see “County Treasurer’s Embattled ‘Reorganization’ Highlights March 14 Commissioners Court Agenda,” The Golden Hammer, March 11, 2017, for full coverage.

Royal should recuse himself from this item. He won’t.

Agenda Item 20A: Precinct 1 County Commissioner is requesting a middle of the year salary increase for a park attendant with the funds coming out of his road and asphalt fund. Although the increase is only $306.59, the request is terrible policy. First, even Commissioner Meador has repeated opposed mid-year salary increases. Second, it is inexcusable to take the funds for this inappropriate raise out of the Precinct 1 road and asphalt fund, which the County should spend on…roads and asphalt!

Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack (R-The Woodlands)

Agenda Item 20B: Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark correctly continue to insist that the Comissioners Court return management to the full Court so that the hyperpolitical County Judge Craig Doyal will no longer interfere – mostly politically – with the operation of County Departments.

 

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