Image: It seems that Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack’s goal is a County government where County Commissioners operate in secret other than the public relations messages, on the taxpayer’s dime, which they choose to disclose.
Conroe, June 9 – Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner has stuck on the June 11, 2019, Commissioners Court meeting agenda one of the most obnoxious and downright terrible proposals ever. Noack has attempted to hide the proposal behind a firewall of the “consent agenda,” a reference that the “Commissioners” have proposed the item, and an effort to cast the blame on Budget Director Amanda Carter.
Noack is in a rage according to numerous sources within the Montgomery County government over the fact that he has suffered criticism for his own employee salary increases, after he criticized current Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Matthew Beasley – Noack’s former Chief of Staff – for transferring a highly-paid employee from the County Attorney’s Office to Judge Beasley’s during the May 28 Commissioners Court meeting,
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, has confirmed, through five (5) different employees inside of the Montgomery County government who have requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by Noack, that Noack drafted and placed the obnoxious agenda item on the agenda. The item reads “Consider and approve update to the budget policy authorizing County Commissioners Departments to open, close and modify department positions as needed following assessment by Budget Office. Departments will not exceed total authorized budget for current year.”
Under Noack’s proposal, County Commissioners would seem to be able to hire, fire, and create new positions within their Departments without any of those changes ever seeing the light of day. While a Department Director, such as Judge Beasley, would still have to come before the Commissioners Court openly with respect to hiring, firing, and new job positions, Noack, as a County Commissioner, would be able to hire Andy Dubois, the former editor of the Courier blog, to become a public relations employee. On May 14, 2019, Noack gave Dubois a gigantic promotion to “Manager of Precinct Projects” and gave the former news blog editor a raise to $103,745.46, plus approximately $41,809.42 of County government employee benefits, for total taxpayer-funded compensation of $145,554.88. That promotion, of course, begs the question why the elected County Commissioner is not the “manager of precinct projects.”
Under Noack’s proposal, Noack’s machinations would receive no public scrutiny whatsoever. (Noack currently has at least three full-time public relations employees in his County Department.)
It’s nothing short of appalling that this fundamental change downward in the Montgomery County government’s operations would appear on the “consent agenda,” the secretive portion of the Commissioners Court meeting, which the Commissioners never discuss but blindly pass without any discussion, deliberation, or open conversation.
It’s nothing short of appalling that the item appears on the Commissioners Court agenda, 9.F.1., under “Commissioners,” which suggests that at least two members of the Commissioners Court have sponsored this measure and engaged at least in the beginning of a “walking quorum” in violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act. As County Judge, obviously Mark Keough, “The People’s Judge,” should refer this matter to Montgomery County District Attorney Brett Ligon, if Noack and the “Commissioners,” whoever they are, proceed with this terrible proposal rather than withdrawing it.
It’s nothing short of appalling that the so-called backup material lacks the actual proposed amendment to the County’s Budget Policy. Without the backup, no one should have posted the agenda.
It’s nothing short of appalling that Noack and the other Commissioners who have apparently signed off on this proposal are seeking to hide behind Budget Director Amanda Carter.
One of the County employees who confirmed this story told this newspaper, “I’m very disappointed in James [Noack]. He has always claimed he’s a conservative and represents the interests of the citizens. This proposal is nothing short of the secrecy, lack of transparency, and corruption, which continues to cause Montgomery County to suffer the moniker ‘most corrupt County government in Texas.’ James and the other Commissioners need to withdraw this agenda item altogether.”
Bill O’Sullivan, “the Sage” and Treasurer of the Texas Patriots PAC, has often criticized the Commissioners Court for “salary creep.” Allowing the primary instigators behind “salary creep” to operate their own departments in secret will result in “salary roller coaster.”
Noack did not respond to requests for comment.