Conroe, May 26 – First, the news came out that Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley declared war on conservative Republican Precinct Chairs in his own Commissioners Precinct when, in his speech he delivered on May 22, 2018, after he won the Republican Runoff Election on a tiny voter turnout, he said, “We got some folks that need to be gone from here in Precinct 2…If you don’t hear nothing else, we got momentum. We got problems in our Precinct Chairs and other places. We need to deal with it and we need to start dealing with it now.” Eleven conservative Republican Precinct Chairs in Commissioners Precinct 2 endorsed Riley’s electoral opponent Greg Parker.
Earlier in the day, on May 22, 2018, at the Commissioners Court meeting, Riley declared war against the law enforcement community, particularly the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office and the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office. Two members of the Commissioners Court – Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark – were absent from the meeting, so they met with a bare 3-person quorum of lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal, Riley, and Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack.
The agenda for the meeting seemed somewhat mundane for the freespending Commissioners Court. Law enforcement agenda items, in particular, would usually call for little reaction from the sleepy members of the Commissioners Court who usually just vote to approve any County tax dollar spending increase placed in front of their noses.
Riley changed that on May 22, 2018.
Riley was already enraged, because the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Association (MCLEA), the largest association of peace officers in this community, endorsed Riley’s electoral opponent former Comal County Commissioner Gregory Parker. It’s pretty clear that MCLEA endorsed Parker over Riley in the Republican Runoff Election, because Riley is in a mess of legal trouble. First, Riley is under criminal indictment for official misconduct for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act in his close cooperation and work with corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport and Doyal to fashion a secret deal to obtain passage of the November, 2015, road bond referendum. Second, Riley has engaged in an enormous pattern and practice of using government resources – both Montgomery County and the Magnolia ISD – for his personal use and for his political campaign. MCLEA’s Board of Directors caught Riley red-handed using his County government email address for his political campaign. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
There were two agenda items – one for Montgomery County Sheriff Rand Henderson and one for Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon – on the May 22 agenda.
Sheriff Henderson’s agenda item: CONSIDER AND APPROVE TRANSFERRING CADET POSITION 56018-5805-15 AND ASSOCIATED SALARY AND BENEFITS TOTALING $76,560.66 FROM THE SHERIFF’S BUDGET TO THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S BUDGET FOR INVESTIGATOR II POSITION NUMBER 4351-7802-17
Sheriff Henderson’s agenda item was a budget and spending-neutral item to transfer a Sheriff’s Office cadet position and associated salary and benefits from the Sheriff’s Office Budget to the District Attorney’s Budget for an investigator II position. The proposal clearly showed work and cooperation between the two Departments, the Sheriff’s Office and the DA, and didn’t seem in the least bit controversial.
Sheriff Henderson came to the podium to read the agenda item in a monotone. Noack moved to adopt the proposal. Doyal asked if there was a second for the motion.
Riley sat silent and red-faced. Doyal announced, “The item dies for lack of a second.”
Sheriff Henderson looked over at Riley, then turned around and returned to his seat.
District Attorney’s agenda item: CONSIDER AND APPROVE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES: CLOSE POSITION 4351-7610-5, COORDINATOR-VICTIM ASSISTANT AND OPEN POSITION 4351-3995-12, COURT CLERK IV AND TRANSFER $39,176.28. REMAINING FUNDS OF $9,986.34 TO BE LEFT UNSPENT IN FUND BALANCE.
District Attorney Brett Ligon’s agenda item was also budget neutral for Montgomery County taxpayers, because Ligon proposed to leave $9,986.34 of unspent funds in the fund balance after moving two positions around in his office to address appropriate needs.
First Assistant District Attorney Mike Holley went to the podium to read the agenda item. Once again, Noack moved to adopt the proposal. Doyal asked if there was a second for the motion. Once again, there was silence. Doyal seconded the motion himself (which is actually inappropriate under parliamentary procedure).
The vote then occurred with Noack and Doyal voting in favor of the District Attorney’s budget-positive proposal, while Riley voted against it! The motion carried on a 2 to 1 vote.
Riley didn’t provide any explanation for his two anti-law enforcement votes. He just voted against the needs of law enforcement.
Republican Platform concerns
Plank 21 of the Republican Party of Texas Platform provides “We proudly support our law enforcement agencies and their personnel.”
During the Republican Runoff Election, District Attorney Ligon commented on April 17, 2018, that he supported Parker in the contest, because, in an obvious negative reference to Riley, “The reason I’m here is that I know that Commissioners shouldn’t threaten the DA. They shouldn’t say that they’ll take the scalp of the DA. County Commissioners shouldn’t threaten me. That’s why I’m here for Greg Parker. Greg never lied to me.”
Apparently, Riley has made remarks in the earshot of Ligon that threatened the District Attorney and suggested that Riley would “take the scalp of the DA.”
Riley’s votes in the May 22 Commissioners Court meeting had no policy or merit basis whatsoever. Riley appeared to take those two actions out of personal anger at the law enforcement community which has expressed legitimate concerns about Riley’s conduct.
Riley did not respond to a request for comment.
Public servants should have the maturity to set aside their personal anger to do what is best for the community.