Conroe, March 8 – Documents, which The Golden Hammer has obtained, reveal the paranoia with which the Montgomery County government operates, the hyper-politicalization, and the reason management and operation of the County government should fall under the entire Commissioners Court rather than a hyper-political County Judge Craig Doyal. After some foot-dragging, County officials eventually released the documents in response to the Texas Public Information Act/Open Records Act.
Dodi Shaw Meeting Time Line
County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw wrote a letter to Doyal and all four County Commissioners on February 13, 2017, which she delivered to them three days later. In the letter Shaw accused County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport of using a proposed “reorganization” of the County Treasurer’s department as a pretext to promote Doyal’s daughter, Lindsey Doyal, who works as a $60,983.62 per year payroll clerk, to the position of “assistant county treasurer” which would involve a substantial raise in compensation. Davenport denies that was her motive in the proposed “reorganization” which stalled when the Human Resources Department would not approve Position Descriptions Questionnaires (“PDQs”) which are an essential part of such a reorganization under the County’s adopted Human Resources Policy. Shaw also noted that she was a member of Doyal’s “Hit List” of County employees whom he wanted to terminate as a result of their support of Doyal’s electoral opponent, Mark Bosma, in the 2014 Republican Primary Election.
For full coverage of Shaw’s letter and Davenport’s response, please see “Breaking News: HR Director Dodi Shaw Fears for Her Job, Pledges Loyalty in Complaint Letter to County Judge Craig Doyal” (The Golden Hammer, February 18, 2017); “Breaking News: County Treasurer Davenport Announces $31,505.59 Proposed Department Budget Reduction in Reorganization, Pushes Back Against HR Director Shaw’s ‘Posturing’” (The Golden Hammer, February 19, 2017).
After The Golden Hammer broke the story of Shaw’s letter on Saturday, February 18, Doyal wrote a letter in response to Shaw on February 22. In the letter addressed to “Mrs. Shaw,” Doyal chided the County Human Resources Director as follows:
“While I appreciate your detailed accounting of the steps taken by your office [in the County Treasurer reorganization process], your memo still does not address the main concern of our office – an elected official attempting to restructure her office who believes that she was not being fully supported by Human Resources, or even worse, was being purposefully obstructed by Human Resources. Your memo does not adequately explain why it took more than four months and the task was still not complete. Please provide any additional information or explanation for the delay…It is my duty to provide appropriate oversight to all department heads who report to this office. It is also my responsibility o listen to concerns of elected officials and department heads concerning the performance of the offices of which my office has oversight. I full intend to exercise that responsibility.” (Emphasis added.)
On February 22, 2017, Doyal asked Shaw to meet with him on Friday, February 24.
In response, Shaw requested that Precinct 3 Commissioner James Noack participate in the meeting between Doyal and Shaw. In a February 1, 2017, letter to Doyal, Noack had requested that “When you address your concerns with Mrs. Shaw, and give her the opportunity to respond to the allegations Mrs. Davenport’s [January 9] letter, I request to be included in the meeting.”
In response by email on February 23, Doyal dropped the impediment to Noack’s participation, “Let’s plan on meeting at 2 p.m. Friday in my office. I had already invited Commissioner Meador to join us, so we cannot have a third commissioner participate.”
The Full Noack Letter, dated February 1, 2017: Doyal’s “Hit List” Resurfaces
Noack wrote a letter to Craig Doyal on February 1, 2017, partly quoted above. In that letter, Noack accused Doyal of creating “an environment where it is difficult for Mr.s Shaw to succeed as the Human Resources Director for Montgomery County. I do not believe it is coincidence that the name Dodi Shaw was a name on the ‘hit list’ you denied having in a Commissioners Court meeting in 2015. I am referring to the ‘hit list’ you are rumored to have created during your 2014 campaign. The list is said to include the following county employees: Mark Bosma – terminated, Darlou Zenor – no longer employed by Montgomery County, Dodi Shaw, Don Carpenter.”
Noack explained, “I believe your overzealous desire to terminate Mrs. Shaw not only clouds your judgement (sic) and demonstrates your relentless pursuit to subjugate county departments and operations, it creates undue liability for Montgomery County.” He continued, “With regards to the [January 9, 2017] letter from Mrs. Davenport, first, before I could possibly make any decisions, I would need Mrs. Shaw to address these accusations. It is inherently unfair and quite disturbing that you would share this letter and ask for opinions without FIRST giving Mrs. Shaw the opportunity to address.”
Eventually, after several County officials objected to Doyal’s and Meador’s private meeting with Shaw, Doyal agreed to move the meeting to an executive session February 28, 2017, Commissioners Court. Shaw kept her job despite Doyal’s interference with the Human Resources Department.
Article V, Section 18, of the Texas Constitution provides “…the County Commissioners Court…shall exercise such powers and jurisdiction over all county business…” Nevertheless, in January, 2015, Doyal made a power grab after he became County Judge and got Commissioners Mike Meador and Charlie Riley to vote with him to transfer management and control of all County Departments to Doyal rather than under the oversight and supervision of the entire Commissioners Court. Noack and Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark did not vote for that proposal. Noack voted “no” while Clark was absent from the meeting.
Noack and Clark have attempted on February 14 and February 28 to move control and management of all County Departments back to the full Commissioners Court, while Doyal, Meador, and Riley have opposed their resolution both times.
The correspondence and intense politics between Doyal and the Human Resources Department is wholly inappropriate. A chief executive should not interfere in the operations of a human resources function within an organization. Human resources departments should follow written policies, such as the County’s Human Resources Policy Manual, and federal and state laws applicable to employment relationships. Neither Doyal nor his “chief of staff” jim fredricks should have interfered with the County’s Human Resources function, even if Doyal very badly wanted his daughter Lindsey Doyal to receive a substantial promotion.
On both February 14 and February 28, Doyal told the Commissioners Court and the public that he would bring major issues before the Commissioners Court and that he would permit County Commissioners to become involved in matters that affect their Precincts. First, that simply is not a decision that a county judge should make. The Texas Constitution has already made that decision for all of us, even Craig Doyal. Second, the back-and-forth between Doyal and Shaw, between Doyal and Noack, and between Shaw and Noack provides a clear example of a major situation in which Doyal deliberately chose not to involve a County Commissioner, Noack, who had explicitly requested inclusion in a major set of decisions. Instead, Doyal opted to exclude Noack from the process and attempted to pull his political crony, Mike Meador, into the decisional role.
Management and human resources are better left to non-political individuals, especially ones who don’t preside over one of the most nepotistic institutions in Texas, Montgomery County’s government.