Image: This poor man found that satiating hunger did not enhance his life in Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life.” Hopefully, Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal will come to learn that there’s a lot more to a good life than power before he sucks down the fateful mint…
Conroe, March 29 – Although the great leadership which Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack, Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark, and Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley showed in approving a 20% homestead exemption from property taxes for County taxpayers (with County Judge Doyal blowing with the wind to add a fourth vote along with them), two other signal events occurred during the March 28, 2017, 9:30 a.m. Commissioners Court meeting which lasted almost four hours. Noack showed great wisdom in deferring the discussion of whether to abolish the Office of County Treasurer until the budget hearings over the summer. Doyal showed an unabashed lust for political power that he seeks to satiate regardless of the extreme damage he’s doing to the County government.
Commissioner Noack placed an item on the Court agenda to seek a Constitutional amendment to abolish the Office of County Treasurer. Noack explained that he’d like to move the functions of County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s office to other departments within the County government.
During the meeting, however, Noack showed wisdom in announcing that he would defer the discussion of the County Treasurer’s Office until the budget hearings in July, 2017. Noack’s decision revealed a lot of foresight and this Commissioner’s incredible willingness to listen to the concerns of Montgomery County citizens. The problem with a hasty decision to abolish the County Treasurer’s Office is that there are important functions of that office and there are significant problems with the operations and structure of the County Auditor’s Office right across the hall from Davenport in the Sadler Administration Building. In particular, the County Auditor faces severe conflicts of interest and numerous violations of accounting standards, because she acts as the County’s “chief budget officer” and bookkeeper and the essentially audits herself. Additionally, the supposedly outside independent auditor, this year being Weaver and Tidwell accountants, do not conduct a full examination audit of the County. Therefore, they largely rely upon County Auditor Phyllis Martin’s work proud for their “audit” as well.
At the same time, there is no question that while Treasurer Davenport has done a reasonably good job, her office faces some problems. First, the payroll function of the office seems beyond its capability. That County Judge Craig Doyal’s daughter, Lindsey Doyal, is the official “Payroll Coordinator” with Patricia Reaves, another County employee, actually doing most of the payroll work is only one of the problems. Additionally, there are reconciliation and reporting functions inside the Treasurer’s Office that seem as thought would better fit in the Auditor’s Office.
The Citizens Budget Committee has spent considerable time looking at both the County Auditor’s functions and the County Treasurer’s functions. The recent controversy involving Davenport’s “reorganization” of her department has led to disclosure of many documents that might not otherwise become available to citizens working on these topics. The Budget Committee will provide its full report to the Commissioners Court by the first Commissioners Court meeting in June. The Committee and its members appreciate Noack’s willingness to listen to carefully crafted recommendations regarding this issue before wholesale destruction of a County department.
Additionally, it has come to the attention of The Golden Hammer that many other community leaders have offered input to the Citizens Budget Committee on this precise issue. Yes, there are nepotism problems and perhaps even some hyper politicization of the Treasurer’s Office. Nevertheless, concerns about Davenport should not lead to bad policy about the Treasurer’s Office itself.
Doyal’s Continuing and Uncontrollable Hunger for POWER!!!!!!!!!!!!
Noack and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark brought forward a resolution to return the County government to its structure, management, and organization intended under Article V, Section 18, of the Texas Constitution. Under the Constitution, the County Commissioners Court manages and oversees the entire County government, not just the County Judge. In Montgomery County, Craig Doyal really has little, if any, constitutional responsibilities. Since he is not an attorney, he cannot conduct the Constitutional County Court. As a result, taxpayers are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in the failure of the County Judge to perform his job. R.A. “Mickey” Deison was the last County Judge in Montgomery County to hear court cases from 1977 to 1981. Since Doyal as the County Judge does not oversee any Commissioners Precincts and cannot act as a “judge,” there’s not a whole lot for him to do.
Sadly, Doyal spends a huge amount of time on the golf course. But Craig Doyal lusts for political power so he sought and obtained a vote of the Commissioners Court on January 26, 2015, to place management and operation of all County Departments under Doyal’s supervision. That was a terrible move. Doyal has no management or operational ability. His first actions were to terminate his political opponent Mark Bosma and a few other political opponents on his now famous “Hit List.” While Doyal hardly works anything close to full time, at the worst times Doyal and his “chief of staff” jim fredricks (who oversees a staff of 2 secretaries) interfere with County Department decision making. Doyal’s and fredricks’ interference in the efforts of County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw and her Department to prevent nepotisitic decisions in the County Treasurer’s Office illustrate the harmful interference of Doyal and his “chief” for political and personal family reasons.
An example of Doyal’s terrible management arose during the March 28 Commissioners Court meeting. The County Purchasing and Human Resources Departments were to recommend individuals to serve on the County Ethics Committee under the new “Code of Ethics.” Donal’s and fredricks’ interference with the management of Purchasing and HR led to the appointment of two individuals supposedly nominated by those departments who are almost anonymous and unknown.
The locked doors, secrecy, fear of County employees to communicate with the public, and refusal to provide public information are additional examples of the hyper political and generally poor management style of Doyal.
Noack and Clark have explained in open meetings during Commissioners Court that, even as County Commissioners, they face great difficulty obtaining information and communicating with County departments. In fact, Doyal is directly interfering with the Constitutional duties of the County Commissioners under Article V of the Texas Constitution.
During the March 28 Commissioner Court meeting, with almost no discussion whatsoever, Noack moved and Clark seconded the resolution to move the management of the County Departments back to the entire Commissioners Court. Doyal swiftly brought the matter to a close with a vote of three votes against (Doyal, Riley, Meador) and two votes for (Noack and Clark).
Doyal’s lust for total power and the terrible waste and inefficiency of those County departments will continue.
County spending may very well be the wafer that causes the “Pythonesque” explosion.