Conroe, August 27 – There’s some real craziness on the agenda for the Tuesday, August 28, 2018, 9:30 a.m., Commissioners Court meeting. Citizens beware!
Enterprise Resource Planning contract
The contract for the $15 to 20 million Enterprise Resource Planning software that the Davenport Ring is pushing so hard is not even attached to the agenda. The members of the Commissioners Court have not had an opportunity to review the proposed contract nor has the public. After the August 14, 2018, Commissioners Court meeting, County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport and County Auditor Phyllis Martin, both of whom will likely not be with the County government after December 31, stormed into a secret meeting with lame duck County Judge Craig Doyal and demanded that he instruct Purchasing Director Gilbert Jalomo to put this item on the agenda for approval by the Commissioners Court as quickly as possible.
It’s clear the Davenport Ring still wants to control County Purchasing. It’s clear that Davenport and Martin have some sort of interest in this crazed multi-million purchase. What is also clear is that there is no benefit to spending that amount of money on a software system normally utilized only to reduce spending and personnel (by for-profit businesses).
Neither Davenport nor Martin are able to show any benefit at all to the purchase of the ERP software, and most surely not $15 to $20 million of benefit!
This terrible purchase would have a more direct financial impact than any terrible decision of the Commissioners Court during the last four years, including the $107 million, 3-mile, TX 249 Tollway.
Tollroad Craziness: major expenditures with no information, no contracts, no detail, but lots of secrecy
The “Montgomery County Tollroad Authority” also known as the Commissioners Court in Hiding will meet during the Commissioners Court meeting to do the following:
- “Accept and approve” an independent auditor’s report on determining how much interest the Toll Road Authority should pay the County government for the money it borrowed by force from the taxpayers. There’s no report attached. It’s ridiculous that the County government would waste money on an “independent” auditor to perform such a calculation in secret. Here’s how you calculate it: multiple 0.18 times the amount of time Doyal took the money.
- “Engage” external auditor for the Toll Road Authority. What a total waste of money! That audit should be a part of the County government’s audit through the County Auditor and the external audit firm of the County. There’s no contract attached to the agenda item. It’s a big secret once again.
- “Approve” acquisition of Woodtrace Detention Pond and access easement for the Decimation of Hope Highway, also known as the TX 249 Marc Davenport Tollway. Woodtrace is an important area, because that’s where Doyal’s Woodlands Parkway Extension will connect with the TX 249 Tollway.
Of course, any citizen-caring member of the Commissioners Court would vote against all three secretive proposal.
Twenty (20) budget amendments reflecting the terrible job the Montgomery County Commissioners Court does in preparing its budget each year. There basically is no budget process. All they do is spend three to four days listening to wish lists of new spending proposals from the County Department Directors none of whom even know how to prepare or present a budget.
There have been over 370 budget amendments during Fiscal Year 2018, a pretty poor reflection on the budget work of County Auditor Phyllis Martin.
Payment of Accounts – more than $12 million – without any oversight
Uncle Fester can’t produce a smile when he considers the $12,837,753.88 of “accounts” the Commissioners Court will approve, consisting of 87-single-spaced pages of expenditures that none of the members of the Commissioners Court review or oversee. The expenditures include over $150,000 of unidentified credit card charges. Doyal’s best pal Bobby Jack Adams’ engineering firm will receive over $260,000 in payments for the Tollroad alone, even though there is a general contractor that should provide exactly the same services.
Losing our heads over memorial funding
Before the County government forces taxpayers to pay $100,000 for Jimmie Edwards’ Veterans Memorial Park, someone needs to ask a question: how much money has Edwards “commission” raised from private funds? Why aren’t private funds supporting the entire project? Why must Edwards use his political influence to force taxpayers to pay?
Citizens certainly support our veterans, as we should. For that reason, Edwards and his group should raise the money through private donations rather than forcing donations on all of us.
Approving payroll changes blindly
The Commissioners Court will approve payroll changes blindly. Unlike the tenure of former County Judge Alan Sadler, under Doyal, the Commissioners Court doesn’t even review payroll changes. That’s how we’ve ended up with half of the former editorial staff of the Courier blog as County employees. “Payroll Change Request Forms” should not be hidden from the public. The Human Resources Director should attach them to the Commissioners Court agenda for full open review by the citizens.
Let’s shine the light on the Jimmy Beathard-MCAD conflict of interest
It’s a given that Jimmy Beathard, the popular Conroe insurance agent who regularly receives appointments from this Commissioners Court, will become the newest member of the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Central Appraisal District. It’s a great move for Beathard. Beathard sells homeowners insurance the premiums for which come in part from a complex valuation formula which includes tax appraisals. Since the MCAD sets the County’s aggressive reappraisal policy to shoot property tax appraisals – and tax collections – skyward, it makes a lot of sense for the always-wanting-to-spend-more tax dollars Commissioners Court to put someone on the MCAD Board of Directors with that conflict of interest.
Even if the Commissioners Court nominates Guy Hancock or some other establishment figure, the vacancy will be Beathard’s to fill.
One wise proposal: the Sheriff’s Office’s request to fund 10 very much needed deputies
The Commissioners Court rejected the Sheriff’s Office’s request for 23 new positions and only granted two. None of the new positions are the 12 patrol officers which Sheriff Rand Henderson had requested.
The Commissioners Court should take the money out of the crazed Enterprise Resource Planning proposal, buy some cheaper financial accounting software instead, and give the Sheriff’s Office the patrol manpower that our community needs to meet public safety requirements. That’s what government should be about: law enforcement and national defense. Government doesn’t exist to serve itself or propagate a bureaucracy.
The Commissioners Court should act wisely – in Solomonic fashion – and give Sheriff Henderson and his team the patrol resources they’re requesting under Agenda Item 12A.