Image: Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal (left) takes his directions from local political boss Marc Davenport (right).
Conroe, October 6 – Montgomery County’s government in 2017 is very much a County government “for sale.” If vendors find the right channel to the corridors of power, they can rest assured they’ll get business from the County government.
In Part 1, “The Prelude to Corruption,” this newspaper discussed the bribery and corruption conviction of two managers working directly underneath former Custodial Maintenance Director Wayne Mack in 2011. Please see “Montgomery County Government for Sale! Part 1: The Prelude to Corruption,” The Golden Hammer, October 1, 2017. Citizens should have seen the corruption coming from a distance, especially after Mack, the Head Janitor for Montgomery County at the time, described Felder after her conviction for bribery and tampering with governmental records, as a “very good employee.” “I trusted her more than anybody in that department,” Head Janitor Mack explained in 2011. He even trusted Felder to pick up his children from school during County business hours.
When rumblings arose that Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Lanny Moriarty would not run for re-election in 2014, Mack became the perfect choice for his replacement in the eyes of political boss Marc Davenport who is always on the prowl for clients who fit his mold for elected office. Mack and Davenport were a perfect fit. Even after Mack became the JP, Davenport has continued to write most of Mack’s claimed speeches and thoughts. Mack has made clear to this newspaper and to many others that he doesn’t do anything with running it past Davenport for approval and massaging the presentation first.
Why is Montgomery County’s government a local government “For Sale”? Controlling the Treasury and Purchasing
Montgomery County’s government is a government for sale primarily as a result of two people who operate very closely together: County Judge Craig Doyal and Davenport. While Davenport has only taken a consulting payment on one occasion from Doyal – $5,000 paid to Davenport in 2015 for Davenport to negotiate the November 2015 bond referendum on Doyal’s behalf with the leaders of the Tea Party movement – Davenport and Doyal work very closely together.
Treasurer’s Department. Just on the surface, the relationship is quite apparent. County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport is Davenport’s wife. Doyal’s daughter is Doyal’s daughter. When Doyal’s daughter needed a new job in the County government, Stephanne Davenport hired her as the Treasurer Department’s payroll assistant in January, 2014. Stephanne Davenport gave Doyal’s daughter a pay raise, then demoted a long-term employee Patricia Reaves from her job as Payroll Coordinator, and then gave that job to Doyal’s daughter, who now continues as the far more experienced Reaves’ boss.
Beginning September 6, 2016, Stephanne Davenport and Marc Davenport, who regularly consults with his wife about Treasurer Department issues, sought to promote Doyal’s daughter to the higher paying job of “Assistant County Treasurer.”
Purchasing. Craig Doyal had consolidated his power as the sole manager of all County government Departments in January, 2015, when he convinced the Commissioners Court to give him their power of oversight and management over the business and operations of the County by a formal resolution which passed by a 3 (Doyal, Meador, Riley) to 1 (Noack) vote.
Two of the most important County Departments which then fell under Doyal’s direction were the Purchasing Department, which controls all County purchasing (and spending!), and the Information Technology Department, which is one of the primary Departments that engages in the purchasing function.
The Golden Agenda Rule: The Agenda Shall Not Include Items Which Marc Davenport Vetoes
As County Judge, Doyal’s office prepares the Commissioners Court Agenda for each Commissioners Court meeting.
According to the County’s Human Resources Department, Davenport is not and has never been a County employee. His sole formal relationship with the County government is that he enjoys the County’s generous employee health insurance plan and benefits as the spouse of the County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport, according to records The Golden Hammer requested and obtained documents under an Open Records Act request.
Nevertheless, Marc Davenport claims to be so much more. He’s introduced himself to the Houston Chronicle and other news outlets as an “employee of Justice of the Peace Precinct 4.” During County employee committee meetings in 2012 and 2013, Precinct 4 JP James Metts insisted that Marc Davenport, whom Metts introduced as a “sworn deputy” in his Justice of the Peace Office, be permitted to participate in the meetings. Several employees who attended those meetings, but have requested confidentiality of their identities, have described Davenport as “creepy,” “sleazy,” and “demanding.”
“The Golden Agenda Rule” began to develop after Doyal became the County Judge and controlled the preparation of the Commissioners Court’s formal Agenda. Doyal prepares a draft agenda which his secretary distributes to County Department Directors for their review on the Wednesday before the Commissioners Court meeting the following Tuesday. The draft agenda is for the Department Directors to review to ensure that any items they want the Commissioners Court to consider are included.
Every time that Doyal distributes the draft Commissioners Court Agenda, Marc Davenport, who is most certainly not a Department Director, obtains a copy of the draft and reviews it.
On several occasions during 2016 and 2017, Marc Davenport has instructed Doyal or his “chief of staff” jim fredricks to remove Commissioners Court Agenda items that the political boss does not approve for the Court’s consideration. The Golden Hammer has confirmed that since August, 2016, there have been at least three occasions when Marc Davenport instructed Doyal to remove Agenda items. Doyal followed Marc Davenport’s instruction on each occasion.
Readers may recall the fiery speech County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport gave before the Commissioners Court on March 14, 2014, when she accused Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw and her entire Department of “a huge lack of integrity there.” The specific bee in the County Treasurer’s bonnet arose because Shaw and her Assistant Director Kathy Flowers had opposed the nepotism involved in Stephanne Davenport’s proposed promotion of Doyal’s daughter to the position of “Assistant County Treasurer.” As this newspaper reported, the Davenports had delayed the Commissioners Court’s consideration of the Treasurer Department “reorganization” as they attempted to lobby the Commissioners Court to approve Doyal’s daughter’s promotion and the other promotions involved in the so-called department restructuring. Please see “County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport Lied About Not Wanting to Promote County Judge’s Daughter in Department Reorganization (The Davenports, Part 5),” June 5, 2017.
Stephanne Davenport’s agenda item to reorganize her County Treasurer’s Department appeared on draft Commissioners Court Agendas several times during late 2016 and the first two months of 2017, as the County Treasurer herself and a source inside the County Attorney’s Office have confirmed to The Golden Hammer. On each of those occasions, however, two different people would issue an instruction to Doyal’s “chief of staff” fredricks to remove the Agenda item: Marc Davenport and Stephanne Davenport. In other words, Marc Davenport became directly involved with that aspect of the Commissioners Court Agenda on several occasions. fredricks and Doyal followed Marc Davenport’s direction every time.
Introducing some of the other cast members
While Doyal exerts formal control over the County’s Purchasing Department, Marc Davenport’s primary interest in the County government seems to be in Purchasing and Information Technology decisions. His elected “clients” – Wayne Mack, Sheriff Rand Henderson, JP James Metts, Stephanne Davenport, and Constable Rowdy Hayden – work closely with Davenport on pursuing some of those opportunities.
Marc Davenport and JP James Metts have been the two primary advocates for the failed Graves Humphries-NetData fees and fine collection system which four of the five JP courts utilize in Montgomery County. Now that Metts is running against incumbent Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark, Davenport and Metts, of course, need to assure that Metts’ JP office will remain within the Graves Humphries-NetData fold.
Welcome to the Davenport team, Jason Dunn. Dunn is Davenport’s newest client and his candidate for JP4 to replace Metts, if Metts moves into Jim Clark’s Commissioner position. Clearly, the primary mission of Dunn would be to maintain JP4’s relationship with Graves Humphries-NetData which has been the singular priority of Davenport and Metts in JP4.
There are many others involved in ensuring that Montgomery County’s government remains “For Sale” to vendors who seek plunder and profit. This newspaper will continue to expose the corruption in this series “Montgomery County Government For Sale!”