Noack rationality, County government dysfunction dominate May 23, 2017, Commissioners Court meeting: The Golden Hammer’s ratings

Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack (shown here along with aides Evan Besong and Cody Grimes) had a pretty good meeting.

Conroe, May 30 – Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack’s rationality and the remainder of the Montgomery County government’s complete dysfunction, other than the law enforcement community, dominated the May 23, 2017, County Commissioners Court meeting.  Here are the ratings of The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper. The cumulative ratings began on October 1, 2016, the beginning of Fiscal Year 2017, which ends on September 30, 2017.

Points are good.

COMMISSIONERS COURT MEETING MAY 2, 2017, 9:30 a.m. (Judge Doyal and Commissioners Meador, Riley, Noack, and Clark were present.)

The “Consent Agenda” was a complete mess of secretive spending and budget amendments all under Agenda Item 8.

Agenda Item 8A1: Consider and approve payment of accounts. Without any review, discussion, or examination, the County Commissioners approved spending over $8.4 million in expenditures

86 single-spaced pages of bills and $8,428,672.75 of expenditures received precisely no review whatsoever from the Commissioners Court or County Judge. That’s your County government in its most typical action. There simply is no excuse for the members of the County Commissioners Court not to review the proposed payment of bills.

Here’s some of what they didn’t review :

  • Tens of thousands of Citibank credit card charges
  • $4,000 paid to purchasing “consultant” Gilbert Jalomo.
  • Hundreds of dollars for the purchase of donuts (no, it’s not for jurors).
  • Thousands of dollars for welding and energy services for the Elections administrator, even though energy services fall under the Non-Departmental Budget which should not go under the Elections Department at all.
  • $1,820 for the Tax Assessor to pay Conroe Door, even though we have a Building Maintenance Department highly qualified to provide such labor and materials.
  • $73,315 for the Information Technology Department, which is completely overstaffed with technologists and programmers, to pay for outside services from expensive vendors for the same things.
  • $14,000 or more in payments to Staples by the Custodial Maintenance Department.
  • Almost $30,000 in utility bills for the Civic Center Complex even though that should also fall under the utility payments under Non-Departmental.
  • $450 for civil indigent defense.
  • $19,000 for “special account” expenditures by the Memorial Library.
  • $15,801 for Thomson West for the Law Library in monthly charges. What a total waste of taxpayer money!
  • $678.30 for a court reporter to prepare the trial record in the Texas Open Meetings Act criminal case against Doyal, Riley, and Davenport.
  • $7,000 in payments to John Holzwarth, the outside engineer who duplicates what the County Engineer should be doing.
  • A $6,000.00 payment in a nice even amount to a law firm for the $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 extension, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.
  • $22,000 in payments to Brown and Gay engineers and LandTech Surveyors for the Decimation of Hope Highway.

25 points. Major vote. A “No” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 8A2: Consider and approve Budget Amendments for Fiscal Year 2017. Some of the budget amendments were minor, but others weren’t. The Commissioners Court classified – illegally – several million dollars of Budget Amendments as “emergencies” and “grave public” necessities. Another major vote. 25 points. A “no” vote is appropriate.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Items 8D: Approve over $1.2 million in contracts and change orders. No discussion, no deliberation, no consideration. A “No” vote is appropriate. 10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 8H: Consider several pages of Payroll Change Request forms including the retirement of the infamous Jule Puckett, the most expensive secretary in the history of Montgomery County!

Without discussion or even knowledge, the appropriate vote on the Payroll Changes should have been “NO.” 5 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Citizen Comments

Troy  Stuckey, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley’s close friend, rejected nominee to the Ethics Committee, and husband of Riley’s campaign treasurer, tried to make the room believe that he just voluntarily showed up to support the construction of installation as a toll road of the $73 million 3.6 mile Tx-249 extension, also known as the Decimation of Hope Highway.

Eric Yollick presented “The Golden Hammer Award” to all of the Commissioners Court except Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal for improper budget amendments totaling $13 million. What was amazing about the presentation was that Doyal didn’t understand how Yollick’s comment could pertain to any item on the agenda, even though the Commissioners Court had just passed the “consent agenda” including more budget amendments just moments before the presentation.

Agenda Item 10A: Consider and approve increasing the salary for the Purchasing Director in order to hire Craig Doyal’s close friend Gilbert Jalomo as the new Purchasing Director, in place of the fired “Hit List” member Darlou Zenor whom Doyal fired. While Doyal, Noack, Riley, Meador, and Clark have each stated on several previous occasions that they opposed salary increases in the middle of the Fiscal Year, they defenestrated the principle for politics.  A “No” vote was appropriate. 5 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 12B: The Commissioners Court approved the new Inmate Health Care Services Contract. Sheriff Henderson proposed returning the $1.45 million of funds which County Auditor Phyllis Martin had swept from previous Sheriff Tommy Gage. Those funds would pay for the higher cost of the inmate healthcare contract for the remainder of the Fiscal Year and would also fund some capital projects which the Commissioners Court failed to address. No rating.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 14A: County Tax Assessor-Collector Tammy McRae reorganized her Department without any sort of political infighting and saved the taxpayers $36,601.26 by eliminating certain positions!!!!!!! The seamless manner of McRae’s reorganization contrasts with the nepotism-laden reorganization which occurred on March 14 in the County Treasurer’s Department. McRae didn’t trash any other County employees in her public presentation. 1 point. A “Yes” vote is proper.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 15A: Spend $216,310 on a new HVAC unit. The Juvenile Probation Department Director admitted that this unit has been a problem for a long time and that he failed to budget for it during the “budget hearings” for this Fiscal Year. The Commissioners Court didn’t really care, because it was another opportunity to spend other people’s money. A “No” vote is appropriate. The measure passed 4 to 1. 10 points.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack NO

Clark YES

Agenda Item 16A from the County Auditor was an 8-page single-spaced report showing the calculation of 5% of each of the County Department Budgets. They actually needed a written report for that?! The primary methodology for this amazing bit of work was to take each Department’s budget and multiply it times 19/20, or 0.95, or 95%, whatever your preference.

Agenda Item 17B. Meador wants to buy a backhoe for $78,138.34. A “No” vote is appropriate. 10 points. Meador has too many toys.

Doyal YES

Meador YES

Riley YES

Noack YES

Clark YES

Agenda Item 18A. Consider and discuss $300 expenditure to give jurors gifts for serving in the form of “jar openers.” The proposal died for lack of a motion but Commissioner Noack showed great leadership in stating the first open opposition to this wasteful proposal. Noack receives a 25 point bonus. Each of the other Court members receive 1 point for taking an important action, both literally and symbolically.

Agenda Item 21: There were three executive sessions the notice of which was incomprehensible and failed to meet the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

Citizen Comments

Pat Shook stated her support for Commissioner Jim Clark’s proposal to have workshops prior to the formal Commissioners Court meetings.

James Leviston spoke in favor providing sewer and water service to the Tamina community.

Bobbi Jolly noted that the wasteful spending of funds within the County government makes the failure to provide sewer and water service to Tamina even more inexcusable.

TOTAL SCORES FOR May 23, 2017 MEETING.

Doyal 2/92. Grade = F.

Meador 2/92. Grade = F.

Riley 2/92. Grade = F.

Noack 36/92. Grade = F.

Clark 2/92. Grade = F.

CUMULATIVE POSSIBLE SCORES FOR FY 2017 = 2,719.

Doyal = 285/3,018. Grade = F.

Meador = 325/3,018. Grade = F.

Riley = 345/3,018. Grade = F.

Noack = 1,484/3,018. Grade = F.

Clark = 895/3,018. Grade = F.

Pretty bad.

As citizens, we must remain vigilant.

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