Conroe, October 7 – At the final Commissioners Court meeting during Fiscal Year 2017, on September 26, 2017, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court hurried to spend the remaining tax dollars they hadn’t yet burned.
Here are the ratings of The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper. The cumulative ratings began on October 1, 2016, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017, which ended on September 30, 2017.
Points are good.
REGULAR COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING, September 26, 2017, 9:30 a.m.
Agenda Item 9A1: Payment of accounts.
Once again, the Commissioners Court approved payment of millions of dollars of accounts without eyes reviewing those accounts first. The payments consist of 90 single-spaced pages totaling $6,612,524.04 of taxpayer funds.
Out of the 90-page, single-spaced, “payment of accounts” agenda item on the secretive “consent agenda,” which none of the Commissioners Court members seem ever to review, the Court will spend $5,755.71 more in general revenue fund tax dollars for the $73 million, 3.6 mile, Tx-249 Extension, which Doyal and Riley are shoving down the throats of the citizens whether they want the Tollway or not.
The spending items included:
The Library’s Director got the Commissioners Court to pay $685.80 for books in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, or Vietnamese from a Houston bookstore named Tsai Fong Books.
The Commissioners Court paid engineer John Holzwarth $17,438.81 to duplicate the services which County Engineer Mark Mooney, a full-time employee of Montgomery County, should be doing. Holzwarth contributes substantial political funds to Doyal, Riley, and Meador. No one is checking his invoices. The County just pays him based upon his hourly rate.
No one has questioned or explained why Montgomery County should pay for duplicate engineering services when they budget millions of dollars for the team of engineers in the County Engineer’s office.
A “no” vote was appropriate. 25 points.
Agenda Item 9A3: Budget amendments. Meador placed on the Court’s agenda an expenditure of $300,000 in the form of a “budget amendment.” His entire explanation for the $300,000 “professional services” expenditure is:
“Transfer $300,000 from line item 612-7997 [carryover funds] to line item 612-7441 [professional services].”
The Commissioners Court will spend $300,000 on an item with no explanation whatsoever. Now, that’s unfettered spending.
A “no” vote was appropriate. 10 points.
Agenda Item 9D. The Commissioners Court spent slightly over $2.1 million on a three-page list of purchasing items which none of them discussed or review. Without deliberation or oversight, the County government can do whatever it wants. A “no” vote was appropriate. 25 points
Agenda Item 9G: The Commissioners Court approved a short list of payroll changes with little financial impact. No rating.
Agenda Item 9L2: The Commissioners Court approved giving forced charity to the following nonprofit organizations. If each member of the Court had to match each gift, there probably wouldn’t be this waste:
- $50,000 to Access Builds Children
- $140,000 to Montgomery County Children’s Advocacy Center
- $219,000 to Crisis Assistance Center
- $15,000 to Heritage Museum
- $30,000 to Historical Commission
- $270,000 to Meals on Wheels
- $50,000 to Veterans Memorial Commission
- $13,000 to Women’s Center
- $408,000 to Youth Services
- $212,000 to Tri-County Behavioral Healthcare.
All of those organizations are absolutely and positively great. They should, therefore, easily be able to raise money from private donations rather than forced charity from their political connections to Commissioners Court members.
A “No” vote was appropriate. 25 points.
The Golden Hammer has previously discussed the very interesting citizen comments during this meeting.
Agenda Item 11A: Consider, discuss, and approve nominees as the County’s candidates for election to the Montgomery Central Appraisal District. Meador announced he wanted to be re-nominated. Riley announced he didn’t want to be re-nominated but urged a revenge nomination (that likely resulted on his sleeping on the couch at home for well over one night).
Noack nominated Peggy Hausmann and Bill O’Sullivan. O’Sullivan would be an excellent choice.
Clark nominated Guy Hancock and Bob Casey.
The Court deferred action until October 10.
Agenda Item 13: The Court approved carryover of unspent salary funds in Constable Ryan Gable’s Office to safety equipment. No rating.
Agenda Item 15: The Court approved carryover of projects underway for the County Airport. No rating.
Agenda Item 16: The Court approved declaring a default on a tax abatement with Forest Ridge Office Condominiums. The taxpayers take it on the chin for these crazed tax abatements usually approved and deliberated in secret. No rating for the declaration of default.
Agenda Item 19: Approved the ridiculously high salaries.
The Commissioners Court approved the Salary Schedule for Fiscal Year 2018 which will include the bloated salaries of the County Judge ($169,687.70) and County Commissioners ($168,808). In this time when many County citizens have no salaries and have lost their homes to the flooding of Tropical Storm Harvey, it’s disgusting that these heartless “public servants” would pay themselves higher salaries than almost every County official in the entire State of Texas.
Amazingly, County Judge Craig Doyal will vote to approve the $60,983.52 salary of his own daughter. Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley will vote to approve the salary of his wife Deanne in the job Riley created for her. Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador will vote to approve the salary of his brother Bill.
In Doyals’ County Judge Office, there are four employees for a total payroll of $400,706.28. Other than the one lady who is a secretary and does a minimal amount of paperwork, the entire Department appears to do nothing. Doyal is almost never there. His “chief of staff” jim fredricks is usually at home taking a nap in the afternoons. Here are the salaries for that Department:
- Doyal, County Judge, $169,687.70, who seems to do nothing but play golf;
- fredricks, $118,178.32, who gets paid for full-time napping;
- Sylvia Olszowy, $57,027.10, a grossly-overpaid secretary who usually stands around glaring and has no other functions or duties; and
- the poor fourth employee who is a lady who appears always to be the only one of the four of them doing any work. She earns the lowest salary, of course!
Major vote. 25 points. A “No” vote was appropriate.
Agenda Item 20: The Commissioners Court voted to approve a carryover of all Animal Shelter funds unspent during Fiscal Year 2017 other than salaries. Neither the Shelter Director nor the County Auditor had any idea how much money they voted to carryover. It was quite pitiful. Noack mentioned, “We don’t need to be doing this blindly.”
They didn’t it anyway. A “No” vote was appropriate. 10 points.
Agenda Item 21: The Commissioners Court voted to carryover unspent roof repair funds. No rating.
Agenda Item 22: Under Purchasing the Commissioners Court voted to approve some changes to the County’s law enforcement software that will cost over $1.1 million. No rating.
TOTAL SCORES FOR September 26, 2017 Meeting.
Doyal 0/120. Grade = F.
Meador 0/120. Grade = F.
Riley 0/120. Grade = F.
Noack 0/120. Grade = F.
Clark 0/120. Grade = F.
CUMULATIVE POSSIBLE SCORES FOR FY 2017 = 6,590.
Doyal = 322/6,590. Grade = F.
Meador = 361/6,590. Grade = F.
Riley = 406/6,590. Grade = F.
Noack = 1,661/6,590. Grade = F.
Clark = 3,796/6,590. Grade = F.
As citizens, we must remain vigilant.
Arriba! Arriba! Andale! Andale!