Image: Precinct 3 Constable Ryan Gable asked the Montgomery County Commissioners Court to approve a $30,443.00 pickup truck purchase for his law enforcement department. The Commissioners Court granted the request but without the support of Gable’s own Commissioner, James Noack, also of Precinct 3.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe and The Woodlands, March 3 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Constable Ryan Gable received his request for $30,443.00 to purchase a pickup truck at the Tuesday, February 23, 2021, Commissioners Court meeting, but his own Commissioner, James Noack of Precinct 3, opposed the request and questioned Gable’s presentation of facts to support the expenditure.
Gable explained to the Commissioners Court, composed of County Judge Mark Keough and the four County Commissioners, “We secured the cheapest pickup truck we could find originally at the end of December. It was apparently vandalized on the dealership parking lot…They gave us the next vehicle quote. For Constable Precinct 3, from contingency where previous department dollars were transferred out of the budget, please authorize the Budget Office to effectuate any necessary changes [in the budget].”
Judge Keough immediately made a motion to give Gable’s Constable Department the vehicle he requested, while Precinct 4 Commissioner James Metts of East Montgomery County seconded the motion.
Budget Director Amanda Carter challenged Gable’s assertion that funds were available, which the Commissioners Court had “swept” from unused Constable salary funds. “From October through February, their salary lines are under budget $15,000…I think he has a little bit of extra money in his budget, but I’m not comfortable in saying he has the full amount he’s saying.”
Gable sidestepped the budget concern and reiterated, “I need the truck to replace an old vehicle that’s unsafe to drive.” Noack was referring to replacement of a patrol vehicle.
Noack then said, “It’s not going into patrol. Because earlier when we’d talked, I thought the story was a little different, that you had someone driving a patrol vehicle that you would like to put in a truck, so that car could go into patrol.” Noack emphasized that, if an old patrol vehicle was worn out, he expected the Constable to auction off the old vehicle. Gable assured Noack and the Commissioners Court he would do so.
Gable replied, “This gives us the opportunity to move a truck into a position that helps with the maintenance of things, take a patrol vehicle that that deputy is currently driving to replace the Tahoe we need replaced.”
Gable disagreed with Carter, the Budget Director, and asserted, “Currently, we’re sitting with $55,719 in the unused salary bank under district patrol.”
When it came time to the vote, it was a four (4) to one (1) vote in favor of Gable’s requested expenditure for the new truck. Noack, however, was the lone vote against it.
Keough did not provide Noack with an opportunity to discuss his opposition to the purchase of the vehicle. Therefore, this newspaper interviewed Noack yesterday to provide him with the opportunity to explain his “no” vote.
Noack told this newspaper, “We just went through the budget process and the constable received 2 new vehicles during the process. The Budget Director told him we don’t allow salary dollars to go to buy a vehicle. It’s against our budget policy, and that needs to apply to everyone across the board. Constable Gable is always asking for more money for new vehicles. I think at some point he has to work with the budget he’s given.”
Gable did not respond to a request for comment.