Montgomery Mayor Countryman displays her seriousness, ability as Montgomery County Judge candidate in far-reaching interview

Montgomery County Judge candidate Sara Countryman showed her seriousness and ability during an interview on “It’s Hammer Time” on Friday, October 22, 2021, on MCPLive.TV. Countryman currently serves in her second term as Mayor of the City of Montgomery.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Conroe, October 25 – Montgomery Mayor Sara Countryman showed her vast knowledge of the problems with Montgomery County’s government and her numerous solid ideas to bring those quandaries to an end during her Friday, October 22, 2021, interview on “It’s Hammer Time” on MCPLive.TV. Countryman’s solid background in the information technology industry seems as though it would be particularly important to deal with the software and hardware messes incumbent County Judge Mark Keough has permitted to fester.

Montgomery County’s government spent more than $17.1 million on a now-useless Enterprise Resource Planning software package purchased from Infor. The software is so complex that it’s unusable by almost every County government employee and has created a wall of secrecy, rather than transparency, around County government finances and operations.

Keough has reveled in that secrecy and used it to his advantage to hide County government spending programs as well as debacles from citizen oversight during his disastrous term in office. Countryman didn’t mince words about her criticism of Keough for poor management, long periods of absences (even when he’s healthy), failing to address County government spending problems, and forcing County taxpayers to pay for Keough to enjoy the services of his own County-taxpayer-paid driver to drive him to and from work, after Keough temporarily lost his drivers license as a result of a Driving Under the Influence conviction when he caused a major hit-and-run pair of vehicle collisions when he was doped up on Ambien and methamphetamine on the same morning of September 10, 2020.

Countryman conceded that County taxpayers remain in a quandary, because the County government made the terrible decision to purchase the Infor software and now must live with it. She does, however, have specific proposals to make the ERP software work for the citizens and government employees as intended.

The only current member of the Commissioners Court who has opposed the ERP software purchase all along is Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack, who agreed in 2018 with County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae that purchasing a much less expensive accounting program for approximately $200,000 would have been a better option.

Countryman expressed her disappointment that Keough has failed to get County government spending under control. Rather, she proposes that every County Department engage in zero-based budgeting every Budget Year.

Countryman also made clear that she believes there must be “100% transparency” in County government both for good policy and under Texas law. In the interview, Countryman explained some of her proposals to bring the County government from under the veil of secrecy with which Keough and his Chief of Staff Jason Millsaps have enshrounded it.

The Mayor also made clear that she doesn’t approve of Keough’s allowing Millsaps, who is not elected, to act as the de facto County Judge or county executive.

Countryman’s official campaign biography follows:

For the past 18 years, Sara Countryman worked as a sales executive facilitating the sales of software, hardware, and integration products and services. By building strategic relationships at the executive, developer, and operations level, she assisted key accounts in identifying new levels of software automation from imaging services to data storage centers, including software asset management services.

Before being elected as Mayor of the City of Montgomery, Sara also served two years as the President of the Buffalo Springs HOA.

After graduating high school in Round Rock, Texas, she followed her Dad’s alma mater to Sam Houston State University. She spent two years studying Criminal Justice before transferring back to Austin, Texas, to attend Concordia University where she was recruited into the high-tech industry. 

Having been Mayor for the last four years, Sara has promoted transparency, accountability, and conservative financial policies, skills that directly translate to county government.

As Mayor, she assisted the city council and staff with: 

  • establishing an interest-bearing savings account for the city,
  • the recruitment of a new Police Chief, 
  • facilitation of an operational audit of the Montgomery Police Department, 
  • the recruitment of a replacement City Administrator after the retirement of long-time Administrator Jack Yates, 
  • obtaining the city’s Trademark as the “Birthplace of the Texas Flag,” 
  • promoting the Texas flag by giving a flag to every new resident of Montgomery,
  • starting and approving a Comprehensive Plan for the City of Montgomery,
  • participated in four city budget cycles, and
  • passing the city’s first ever 20% homestead exemption in 2021. 

As a conservative Republican, Sara believes transparency and accountability are key to government by and for the people. She invite the input of not just community leaders, but all citizens into the process, and she plans to bring the same level of service and accountability to the County Judge’s office if elected as the next County Judge. 

Countryman’s interview on “It’s Hammer Time” is at https://www.facebook.com/MCPLive.TV/videos/1099258783945317

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