Image: Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley seemed to experience substantial cognitive difficulties during the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting. He required assistance reading and was unable and unwilling to answer simple questions about his behavior.
Conroe and Magnolia, May 31 – Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley exhibited behavior, which bordered on the bizarre, during the meeting of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court on Tuesday, May 28, 2019. On several votes, individuals in attendance at the meeting could not ascertain whether Riley voted for, against, or at all with respect to measures which the Commissioners Court considered. Riley required assistance from the Montgomery County Attorney’s Office reading simple matters on the Commissioners Court agenda.
Riley has seemed confused in many Commissioners Court meetings. He’s usually gone through the budget hearings in silence and followed his mentor, disgraced former County Judge Craig Doyal, on votes. Doyal lost re-election by a landslide to reformer County Judge Mark Keough, the “People’s Judge.”
Riley has not had Doyal in Commissioners Court meetings since January 1, 2019, and often seems lost.
On Tuesday, Riley sat through a request by Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Matthew Beasley to transfer a lady who served as the County Attorney’s Office Manager to serve as Administrative Manager for Beasley’s Court. Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack stated his opposition to the proposal during the meeting.
Riley then said, “My concern is last court, you were here, and, Judge, you were not going to do certain things. You were going to quit taking something from hospitals and you were going to give that to [Forensics Director] Dr. Paneri, which I think’s already been done. Now, we’re here trying to get another employee. I don’t know what’s going on in your office.”
Judge Beasley attempted to explain the circumstances to Riley who sits next to Precinct 1 Commissioner Mike Meador in Commissioners Court meetings. Meador clearly understood the basis of Beasley’s request. Riley continued to seem rather confused.
When it came for the Commissioners Court to vote, County Judge Keough asked, “All those in favor?” Riley doesn’t appear on the videotape of the meeting, but a noise came from the direction of Meador. Riley didn’t seem to move his mouth or his head at that moment in the meeting.
Keough then asked, “Opposed?” Noack clearly stated his opposition. Immediately after Noack made his comments, Riley made a noise sounding like “Uh-buh-ahhhh,” moved his head upwards, and grunted again.
Keough announced “The motion carries.”
During a later break in the Commissioners Court meeting, the Publisher of this newspaper asked Riley how he had voted on the Beasley hiring request.
Riley responded, “Nuh-uh. You find everything else whether it’s true or not you find it.”
The Publisher then asked Riley’s “chief of staff” Bruce Berger who stood next to Riley and who had a blank stare and shrugged in response.
At that point, the Publisher asked the County Clerk, who was sitting approximately eight feet from Riley, how the Clerk’s Office recorded Riley’s vote. Her response was “We don’t know. We’ll have to look at the videotape.”
In yesterday’s Courier blog, the blog, which used to be a newspaper many years ago, reported that Riley voted in favor of Beasley’s request, but neither the video of the meeting nor the County Clerk could confirm his vote.
Riley’s difficulties during the Commissioners Court meeting continued through to the end of the meeting this past Tuesday.
In order to change plats, the Commissioners Court must hold public hearings. Each Commissioner usually presides over his own hearing and begins the hearing by reading the proposed change aloud during a Commissioners Court meeting.
There were two public hearings during the May 28 Commissioners Court meeting, and both involved Riley’s Commissioner Precinct 2.
Judge Keough announced, “At this time, we’re going to recess our Commissioners Court to convene our public hearing.” Keough then turned to Riley to allow him to read the proposed change.
Riley, however, didn’t want to read the proposed change to the plat, which consisted of a very short sentence. Instead, he turned to County Attorney B.D. Griffin and asked, “BD, would you take, or Amy?” “Amy” is Assistant County Attorney Amy Dunham.
Dunham read for Riley.
After that hearing ended with no one from the public participating, Riley moved to the second hearing and said to Dunham, “You’ll take care of B?” Once again, Dunham had to read the words for Riley.
Here are the words Riley could not read himself: “CONSIDER THE PARTIAL REVISION OF WOODFOREST ESTATES, TO BE KNOWN AS WOODFOREST ESTATES, REPLAT NO. 1.”
Without question, there are some of the English language’s larger words in what Riley needed assistance to read, such as “partial,” “revision,” and “estates.”
Education expert Ginger Russell, who is also a Republican Precinct Chair, former Montgomery County Tea Party Director, and renowned advocate for public education, attended the Commissioners Court meeting. Russell told The Golden Hammer afterwards, “I’m very concerned about Commissioner Riley. He exhibited very low cognitive functions during the Court meeting today. He seemed confused and had a lot of trouble following the discussion among his colleagues. I suspect he suffers from the ‘whole word’ reading methods which became prevalent while he was in his school years.”
Russell added, “I hope that the Commissioner is alright. He clearly was unable to read the agenda for the public hearings towards the end of the meeting. As an educator, I’m very concerned to see an adult with that many problems with cognition and comprehension.”
Russell’s reference to “whole word” reading methods describes the memorization methods of reading which became an emphasis in some public school systems during the 1950s and has even extended into the “Common Core” curriculum, which socialist-leaning American President B. Hussein Obama espoused. Rather than teaching phonetics, so that children are able to ascertain parts of words in order to construct them as a whole and to give them meaning, the “whole word” method involved memory by rote, so that several generations of high school graduates have left their school years unable to read even the most simple sentences.
Riley graduated from Magnolia High School in 1975. He worked as a trucker and in odd jobs. In the late 1990s, Riley and his wife bought a truck stop in the Cleveland area. They ran the truck stop business into the ground and, in 2002, filed for Chapter 7 protection from their creditors, most of whom they never paid. Around that time, Riley went to work for then-Precinct 2 County Commissioner Craig Doyal and later served as Doyal’s Operations Manager.
Riley is still young enough that he could easily attend remedial readings at a local community college.