Conroe, July 24 – Secrecy and intransigence have marred what could have been a positive opportunity for the Montgomery County government in the consideration of hiring seasoned lobbyist W. Robert Eissler as a lobbyist during the 86th Legislative Session that will begin in January, 2019. On July 5, this newspaper broke the story that the County government intended to hire Eissler as a lobbyist at the price of $4,000 per month to the taxpayers. Please see “BREAKING NEWS! County to hire Eissler as lobbyist at $4K per month,” The Golden Hammer, July 5, 2018.
At first it was unclear why the County government needed a lobbyist at all. The Republican Party Platform contains a Plank opposing taxpayer-funded lobbying. During the 2018 State Republican Convention, the Republican Convention adopted supporting a legislative prohibition of taxpayer-funded lobbying as a formal Legislative Priority for Republicans during the upcoming Legislature.
As a result, Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack’s secretive proposal to hire Eissler, a long time establishment political activist, was troubling. Sources inside of Noack’s office confirmed that Noack began the negotiations to hire Eissler many months ago. Nevertheless, on July 5, Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright broke the story wide open when he announced the potential hiring of Eissler at a public meeting of the Montgomery County Eagle Forum. Lambright, who has made government openness one of his prime objectives in the County government, shared that Eissler’s compensation rate as well.
Approximately ten days ago, discussions among Noack and others began possibly to amend the proposed arrangement with Eissler by adding two stipulations to his prospective contract with Montgomery County. The proposed revision to Eissler’s contract would have been (1) to include lobbying for passage of an strong and enforceable ethics code for the Montgomery County government, similar to the special legislation applicable only to El Paso County, and (2) prohibiting Eissler from lobbying against property tax reform for any of his other clients during the pendency of the County government contract.
Eissler has made clear that he is willing to add both of those provisions to his contract and confirmed that fact with The Golden Hammer yesterday morning. Despite serious concerns about taxpayer-funded lobbying, especially when the Montgomery County government squanders so many tax dollars regularly, having Eissler lobby for passage of enabling legislation for a much stronger local code of ethics would address a massive need that might assist the Montgomery County government to eject its terrible reputation as the most corrupt County government in the State of Texas.
Sadly, however, the proceedings of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court are very troubling regarding the Eissler contract. First, Doyal and Noack placed the Eissler lobbying contract on the super-secretive “consent agenda” so that there would be no public discussion of the contract at all. Second, they failed to append the proposed agreement to the agenda, so no one, including members of the Commissioners Court, could even review it prior to the meeting.
On Monday morning, July 23, however, The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, obtained a copy of the draft Eissler contract. As of 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon, this newspaper confirmed that the Eissler agreement still does not contain the two pro-citizen stipulations to which Eissler agreed but which, for some reason, Doyal and Noack have not added to the contract.