Sheer ugliness: October 9 Commissioners Court illustrates the how and why of out-of-control spending

Sheer ugliness: October 9 Commissioners Court illustrates the how and why of out-of-control spending

Conroe, October 9 – Within the first five minutes of the meeting, right after approving the minutes of the last meeting, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court will spend $10,377,227.19. They approve the expenditures without any discussion, mention, consideration, or review.

What the five members of the Commissioners Court – lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, Precinct 1 County Commissioner Mike “Sleeping Mike” Meador, Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack, and Precinct 4 County Commissioner Jim Clark – will do is the equivalent of causing every woman, man, and child in this community set $21 on fire without any hesitation or care in the world.

They’ll just take an 88-page, single-spaced list of expenses, which recently-fired Montgomery County Auditor Phyllis Martin has prepared, and approve the massive expenditures – comprising more money that than the vast majority of citizens will earn in their entire lives – on blind faith in Martin whom an external quality assessment by an independent accounting firm concluded “only partially conforms” to accepted auditing standards. They will spend your money, because they just don’t seem to care.

To make matters worse, Doyal hid the gigantic spending action on the secretive “consent agenda” which includes almost ten pages of other single-spaced items, many of which are major. The Commissioners Court will approve the spending by one single motion approving everything on the “consent agenda.”

After voting a month ago to give themselves major raises to more than $173,000 per year in salary alone, one might hope the Commissioners Court members would exert some effort to do their jobs of managing and overseeing the business and affairs of the County government as the Texas Constitution requires of them. Golf tee times, lunch appointments, or taking an afternoon nap await the Commissioners Court members who have much higher priorities.

Despite publicly stating opposition to the TX 249 Tollway, also known as the “Decimation of Hope Highway,” Noack and Clark will vote to approve more then $1.492 million of tollroad spending. $46,003.10 of those funds are going to Halff Associates, the engineering firm of Bobby Jack Adams, Doyal’s best friend and business partner for whom Doyal has a major conflict of interest in approving any payments. Riley will vote to pay $10,125.00 to his close friend and campaign manager Linda Stuckey and her husband through their company, Stuckey’s, L.L.C. It’s no wonder the Stuckeys are such rabid Riley supporters. Just follow the money.

John Holzwarth, the private engineer who is duplicating the job responsibilities of Mark Mooney, the salaried County Engineer who receives over $167,000 per year from the taxpayers but rarely performs his job duties, will receive over $48,000 in a 2-week period for duplicating Mooney’s job Holzwarth is a major financial contributor to Meador, Riley, and Doyal, so it’s no surprise that the return-on-investment is substantial.

The County government is paying over $600,000 in automotive parts and building materials at full retail prices rather than making any effort to seek government or non-profit discounts.

Meador is paying his first cousin $562.56 out of his Commissioners Precinct 1 budget.

For his outstanding work on the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District lawsuit, Senior District Judge Lamar McCorkle is receiving only $49.05. (That’s called “public service.”)

Tetra Tech Technologies, the Hurricane Harvey vendor about whom the Commissioners Court has lodged nothing but complaints, will receive over $139,000 of taxpayer money nevertheless.

Ebsco Industries, Inc., is receiving over $33,000 in funds from the Library System, even though a local university has offered to provide the same periodicals service to the taxpayers at a cost of $15,000 per year.

There are over $40,000 in unsubstantiated credit card charges.

Graves Humphries, the contract law firm that is collecting fees and fines far more slowly and and far more inefficiently than the County Collections office, is receiving $12,558 of taxpayer funds.

Receiving salaries of five times the median per capita income of Montgomery County, the members of the Commissioners Court ought to give a care.

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