More of same overspending, corruption at final 2018 Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting

With Montgomery County Judge-Elect Mark Keough looking away in disgust at all of the tax dollars flushed into the sewer at the last Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting on December 18, 2018, Purchasing Director Gilbert Jalomo suggested more spending.

Conroe, December 27 – Corrupt Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal’s final Commissioners Court in office, on December 18, 2018, became a celebration of spending “other people’s money.” One of Doyal’s favorite recipients of County taxpayer largesse, Terri Jaggers, who is responsible for Doyal’s endorsement of transgender adoptions, paid tribute to Doyal at the beginning of the meeting, while Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, a socialist protege of the freespending Doyal, gave Doyal a gun at the end (mostly likely paid for out of campaign contributions which others gave to Riley, since Riley appears not to have a single charitable bone in his body unless it’s with the money of others.)

The December 18 meeting punctuated Doyal’s 4-year term as County Judge wherein he demanded strict secrecy in the County government, so he could spend hundreds of millions of dollars for the benefit of his closest friends, engineer Bobby Jack Adams of Halff Associates, David Hamilton of Binkley Barfield engineers, developer Rick Shelton, and others who shoveled money in Doyal’s direction in order to receive a gigantic return of public dollars for their benefit.

Meanwhile, Montgomery County Judge-Elect Mark Keough sat in the audience in shock at the callousness of the establishment, which never quite understood how badly the voters repudiated Doyal in the March 6 Republican Primary Election where Keough won by a 57% to 43% landslide over the incumbent.

Ratings explained

The Golden Hammer‘s rating system follows the Platform of the Republican Party of Texas.

The Golden Hammer‘s ratings measure Commissioners Court votes that affect spending in comparison to the provisions of the Republican Party of Texas Platform. Points are good. The number of points depends upon the amount of money involved in each vote.

The Commissioners Court, all of whom claim to be Republicans, violated the Republican Party Platform on almost every vote during the December 11 meeting. They violated Plank 144 in particular, which provides:

“144. Government Spending: Government Spending is out of control at the federal, state, and local levels, and action is needed.”

The editorial staff of this newspaper sincerely hopes that Plank 144 is simple enough that even the members of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court might understand it.

Commissioners Court meeting, December 18, 2018, 9:30 a.m. All Court members were physically present.

Payment of Accounts – more than $6.3 million – without any oversight in total darkness and secrecy

Vote #1: The Commissioners Court, without any oversight, spent $6,300,219.06 consisting of 53 single-spaced pages of items which they didn’t review, examine, or question. The charges included:

  • $744 paid to Phonoscope, the fiber optic cable provider which never had a contract with the County government but, through the machinations of Doyal and corrupt local political boss Marc Davenport received access to the entire County government to establish facilities and charge many tens of thousands of dollars for the supposedly “cost-free” services;
  • over $200,000 in unsubstantiated credit card charges;
  • more than $50,000 paid to Lowe’s and other home product providers at full retail prices without any effort to negotiate discounts;
  • $120 for doughnuts;
  • $2,184 for some sort of major home appliance for Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike Meador;
  • $4,880 paid to the engineering firm of Doyal’s best friend and business partner Bobby Jack Adams;
  • $104,616.87 paid to Cobb Fenley, one of the largest political contributors to Doyal, Riley, and Meador;
  • $44,710.31 paid to John Holzwarth, the octogenarian engineer and political contributor, who receives payments to duplicate the work of the highly-paid salaried County Engineer, Mark Mooney.

Major vote. 25 points. “No” vote appropriate. Passed unanimously.

Budget Amendments for last year’s budget (!): intentional obfuscation

Vote #2: In the last Commissioners Court with terminated Montgomery County Auditor Phyllis Martin, the Commissioners Court approved $6,098,836.71 in budget amendments for last year’s budget (!) on an “emergency” basis without discussion or review. The declaration of an emergency permitted the Commissioners Court to skirt the required procedures for passage of a budget under the Texas Local Government Code, which would include a public hearing and providing the citizens the opportunity to be heard on the amendments. Since Doyal and Martin have consistently opposed citizen input or even providing information to citizens, it’s not surprising that they’re concluding their careers with this final insult to Montgomery County taxpayers. 25 points. “No” vote appropriate. Passed unanimously.

Budget Amendments for this year’s budget

Vote #3: The Commissioners Court secretly approved $29.005 million of budget amendments for this year’s budget without discussion or public hearings in violation of the Texas Local Government Code. 25 points. “No” vote appropriate. Passed unanimously.

Purchasing

The Commissioners Court approved contracts for the following road projects:

  • Spring Branch Road in Commissioners Precinct 1;
  • intersection improvements in Precinct 1;
  • a left turn lane for the intersection of Alden Bridge Drive and Branch Crossing in Precinct 2; and
  • $309,000 to Dannenbaum Engineering for services on SH 242 from F.M. 1314 to Highway 59 in Precinct 4.

While the voters approved those expenditures, Doyal and the Commissioners Court provide no oversight whatsoever with respect to the pricing of construction or engineering services. County taxpayers pay approximately 300% of the normal pricing for those services.

On the “consent” agenda, the Commissioners Court took nine (9) votes for contracts and renewals which none of them reviewed. Under the circumstances, Votes #4 through #16 should not have received approvals. 10 points each. “No” vote appropriate. Passed unanimously.

Payroll changes

Vote #17: The Commissioners Court approved some payroll changes which actually had some good aspects to them. Incoming Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jason Dunn is providing some relief to the citizens of Montgomery County. Jerry Hayden, Constable Rowdy Hayden’s mother, is retiring from the JP office. Jane Metts Landers, James Metts’ cousin, is also retiring.

Sadly, however, the Commissioners Court approved a nepotistic hire in County Court at Law Number Two. 5 points. “No” vote appropriate. Passed unanimously.

381 agreements

Vote #18: The County government passed a 381 agreement which favored a private real estate developer. Major vote, 25 points. “No” vote appropriate. Passed unanimously.

There was a silver lining, however. Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack and County Attorney J.D. Lambright urged removing one of the 381 agreements which saved the taxpayers more than $4 million. Noack receives a 100 point bonus.

Scores for the December 18, 2018, meeting follow.

DOYAL 0/235. Grade F.

MEADOR 0/235. Grade F.

RILEY 0/235. Grade F.

NOACK 100/235. Grade F.

CLARK 0/235. Grade F.

The following are the cumulative scores for Fiscal Year 2019, which began October 1, 2018.

DOYAL -465/1,680. Grade F.

MEADOR -515/1,680. Grade F.

RILEY -1,470/1,680. Grade F.

NOACK 230/1,680. Grade F.

CLARK 0/1,095. Grade F.

The citizens must remain vigilant.

 

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