New Caney, April 22 – Precinct 4 Montgomery County Commissioner James Metts’ use of taxpayer-funded public relations backfired on him last week when his public relations team posted photographs of Metts, his convicted felon foreman Greg Long, and others supervising a road repair without following the Montgomery County Safety Policy Manual for employees. Metts and his public relations employee, Jamie Nash, published photographs of Metts and some of his employees, as a PR stunt to make it appear as though Metts actually works.
The photographs appeared on April 16, 2019, in the “Montgomery County Police Reporter,” which Nash and her husband Scott Engle operate. Nash receives a paycheck as a Montgomery County employee but runs the blog from her County office on County property, as she did for many years when Metts drew a salary as a JP. Nash has run other photographs of rare moments when Metts actually does work within Commissioners Precinct 4. Several employees of Metts’ road and bridge crews have confirmed, under the condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal, that Metts rarely comes into the Commissioner Precinct 4 office and rarely works at all as a County Commissioner.
On Tuesday, April 16, 2019, Metts sent a road crew out to repair and replace a wooden bridge on Rocky Road near F.M. 1485. the problem, however, was that Metts allowed his road crews to work without hard hats, protective eyeware, protective footwear, and other physical protections, which the Montgomery County Safety Manual requires.
After numerous citizens complained to the Montgomery County Risk Management Department, a safety officer appeared at the job site on Wednesday, April 17, and required Metts and his employees to take minimum safety precautions. The Montgomery County Safety Policy Manual provides in part, “This responsibility includes following the appropriate safety rules and regulations and using appropriate risk assessment and sound judgment while planning each work assignment, as well as displaying a serious devotion to work safely.”
Clearly, Metts focused more on the photo opportunity than on utilizing any risk assessment or sound judgment. Publicity trumped worker safety in Metts’ mind.
Neither Metts nor his Chief of Staff, Phyllis Martin, returned telephone calls seeking comment.