Montgomery County’s useless “Code of Ethics”: Contention false that Reed shouldn’t have spoken about Hayden suspension, because case could come before “ethics committee”

Cover page of Code of Ethics, which is actually anything but a code of ethics.

Conroe, June 25 – One of the arguments among the group of individuals, who consider themselves elected elites, for why Republican Party Vice Chairman Reagan Reed deserves removal from the Montgomery County government’s “ethics committee” is that his writing a blog post in Texas Scorecard about the likely suspension of Precinct 4 Constable Rowdy Hayden for submitted a false government record to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) is a matter, which could come before the very same “ethics committee” on which Reed sits as a member. That contention is completely false.

Two individuals close to the Hayden TCOLE investigation, on condition of anonymity, have told The Golden Hammer that Hayden admitted to the alleged misconduct during a recorded TCOLE interview. Specifically, the allegation is that Hayden and four of his Constable’s Deputies falsified records showing that they had taken the required hours for a civil law course when they had not taken the hours.

It’s important to note, however, that the Montgomery County Code of Ethics, which the Commissioners Court adopted on January 24, 2017, is really anything but a real code of ethics.  As the Commissioners Court members made clear when they adopted the Code in 2017, its entire purpose was to ensure that the County government could continue to receive states funds for road and bridge projects through the Texas Department of Transportation, which required the County government to have a code of ethics in place.

In response to that requirement, Precinct 2 Montgomery County Commissioner Charlie Riley, disgraced former County Judge Craig Doyal, and Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador made certain that the Code of Ethics was unenforceable and covered almost no conduct whatsoever. They succeeded in their goals. No one has ever filed a complaint under the Code of Ethics. Even if some had filed a complaint, there would have been no point to such a filing, because the “ethics committee” of which Reed is one of five members has absolutely no enforcement power whatsoever, even if they found that a County employee or elected servant violated the Code.

The Code of Ethics, which the Commissioners Court adopted, simply wouldn’t cover the conduct which is the subject of the likely Hayden suspension. It covers:

  • Lobbyist registration and activities, which have nothing to do with allegations of Hayden and his four deputies falsifying government records they submitted to TCOLE;
  • Procurement and purchasing practices, which have nothing to do with allegations of Hayden and his four deputies falsifying government records they submitted to TCOLE;
  • Employment practices, which have nothing to do with allegations of Hayden and his four deputies falsifying government records they submitted to TCOLE;
  • Outside employment and post-employment restrictions, which have nothing to do with allegations of Hayden and his four deputies falsifying government records they submitted to TCOLE;
  • Gifts, which have nothing to do with allegations of Hayden and his four deputies falsifying government records they submitted to TCOLE;
  • Disclosure of financial interests in matters pertaining to County government vendor relationships, which have nothing to do with allegations of Hayden and his four deputies falsifying government records they submitted to TCOLE; and
  • Political activites by County employees on County government time or using County government property, which have nothing to do with allegations of Hayden and his four deputies falsifying government records they submitted to TCOLE.

Submitting false government documents, tampering with government records, engaging in unethical activity, or violating the law are not violations of the toothless Montgomery County government’s Code of Ethics. There is no scenario under which a complaint against Hayden arising from the underlying factual basis of Reed’s article in Texas Scorecard could ever come before the Montgomery County government’s “ethics committee.”

In reality, the so-called “Code of Ethics” doesn’t cover much in the way of ethics. Conflicts of interest, allowing County employees to run a private business during County hours as long as that private business issues favorable news articles about the County Commissioner in question, allowing an employee who co-owns a business with the Department Director  to leave her job for several hours each business day, hiring girlfriends as County employees, hiring convicted felons who were political supporters as County employees, hiring previously terminated employees for lucrative jobs, sexually harassing County employees by demanding that they have sex with the County Department Director, failing to perform job duties, hiring cousins for County jobs, causing the taxpayers to have to pay $45,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit against a County Department Director, filing fake lawsuits where a judge acts as the plaintiff and judge in the same case and claims he has filed the lawsuit on behalf of “Montgomery County,” and receiving massive TxDOT contracts for work on the unpopular TX 249 Tollroad through County government connections are all precisely the types of activities which any County Ethics Code should prohibit.

The Montgomery County Code of Ethics prohibits none of those types of ethical misconduct. Wonder why?

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