The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, May 27 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack pinned the $16 million Infor Enterprise Resource Planning software “disaster” squarely on Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley, the only Court member who voted for the disastrously-useless and complex software in 2018 over Noack’s objection at the time. The matter came up during Riley’s proposal precipitously to spend $9 million on new voting machines for the County government without allowing the County Purchasing Department or other members of the Commissioners Court, besides Riley and his croney Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts, to examine the machines.
Elections Administrator Suzie Harvey, a close ally of Riley’s and of Metts and whose sister and terminated County Auditor Phyllis Martin, who now works for Metts, had asked the Commissioners Court to purchase 1900 new voting machines at the Tuesday, May 25, 2021, Commissioners Court meeting. Harvey admitted she had not asked the County Purchasing Department to review the vendor or other options. She also admitted she hasn’t followed recent election law changes, which the ongoing 87th Texas Legislature has passed, as well as pending legislation which might require the use of certain types of voting machines in future elections.
On questioning by Noack, Harvey also had to admit that Montgomery County has never used more than 1500 voting machines at any one time in an election. The Austin-based vendor met with Harvey, Riley, and Metts, but other members of the Commissioners Court did not have any information about the machines until less than one hour prior to the start of the Commissioners Court meeting.
Noack objected to Harvey’s and Riley’s willingness to rely solely upon information from the proposed vendor of the machines without looking at alternatives and without seeking outside information to review the machines’ efficiency and accuracy.
Precinct 1 County Commissioner Robert Walker asked, “Where does the money come from?”
Riley then interrupted and said, “I would like the court to consider what she’s saying. She’s done her homework…I would think we need to figure out how to come up with this money and move forward and purchase these machines as soon as possible.”
Noack then reminded his colleagues, “The last time that recommendation was made we ended up purchasing a system called Infor which has been a complete disaster. I suggest we take some time and do this the right way and look at all possible vendors out there and not just rush into this. This needs to be a decision made more than just by Suzie Harvey. ”
Riley responded, “I knew that was coming sooner or later.”
Noack retorted, “You’re the only person who voted for Infor who is sitting on the Court now.”
Walker then joined with Noack and County Judge Mark Keough in deciding to defer the decision until they could obtain additional information.
Harvey admitted at the conclusion “We’ve only had two demos with the other system. We need to review that further.”
The Infor ERP system remains unusable due to its complexity and the inability of its vendor to provide sufficient training to County government employees to use the system. County taxpayers lost $16 million on Riley’s insistence that the Court squander money on that program for an accounting system, even though County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae noted at the time that an advanced version of Quickbooks would have sufficed and only cost approximately $200,000.