Conroe, March 25 – Montgomery County’s government website has experienced major problems in the past 24 hours, even before the weather storm hit, and continues to have numerous glitsches, circular links, dead ends, and technical problems. The website, like much of the County government, is a mess. Numerous elected officials have spoken to The Golden Hammer on the condition of anonymity during the past two days about the website and stated a common theme: Montgomery County’s reputation for corruption and inept government operations is terrible without a County government website that has problems that even a very junior programmer could easily resolve.
The County website is www.mctx.org. There are dozens of problems with the website. Three of those problems illustrate and exemplify others.
Montgomery County has an Employee Committee which has a page on the www.mctx.org website. The Employee Committee page doesn’t have much hard information but it’s got some nice “feel good” propaganda. At the bottom of the page, there’s an invitation to sign up for a Montgomery County Employee Committee newsletter. Numerous attempts from both Apple’s Safari operating system and from Microsoft’s Windows operating systems (the three latest versions) to sign up for the newsletter have failed from several different types of computers. Users should be just one short click and insertion of an email address away from joining the newsletter recipients.
That problem might sound benign, and it may be. Hopefully, it’s not another attempt of Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and his County Attorney Jerry Don “Ice Man” Lambright to pull the cloak of secrecy over the County government. Locked doors, employees instructed not to communicate with the public, Department Directors facing termination for responding to Open Records Act requests, and downright bullying have become the modus operandus of Montgomery County’s government administration.
Two far more serious problems arose on March 24, 2017. First, for at least three hours, litigants, attorneys, and other users were unable to access the website of District Clerk Barbara Adamick that should display court case files. The problem arose around 3:45 p.m., CST, well before the storm hit Conroe. That’s a major problem for people attempting to conduct the serious business of criminal, family, or civil litigation in Montgomery County. Several attorneys have reported to The Golden Hammer that, when they called the Office of the District Clerk, that office was unaware that their own computer system was not operating. During the middle of the night on March 24, the District Clerk’s website began to operate again.
Another problem which more than a dozen citizens (including five attorneys) have reported is that they are unable to obtain certain information about inmates inside the Montgomery County Jail. A source inside the Jail confirmed that there is no sort of security lockdown – beyond the usual – at the Jail. Clearly, the problem is merely one involving Montgomery County’s Information Technology Department.
The Information Technology Department, under the direction of Marshall Shirley, County Judge Craig Doyal, and “chief of staff” jim fredricks, the latter two of which have little or no competence whatsoever for directing any sort of technology, is a multi-million dollar overspending debacle that largely operates in secret with its $4,687,168 annual budget and bloat staff of 28.
The Information Technology Department’s “mission statement” sadly reflects upon the County governments embarrassing problems: “To provide technology computing and communications services to County Offices and Departments; allowing them to effectively utilize in performing their individual role and responsibilities.” Perhaps, a used copy of Strunk and White would make a nice introductory gift to the IT Department to begin to get them on a better track.