Image: Ironically, the Montgomery County Commissioners Court, at the urging of secretive County Judge Craig Doyal, intends to hold a secretive executive session on Tuesday to discuss the fallout from County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s release of full names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of seventy-nine (79) County government employees.
Conroe, March 17 – Secretive Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal intends to hold a secretive executive session on Tuesday, March 20, 2018, to discuss the fallout from County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport’s release of full names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of seventy-nine (79) County government employees, one of whom is none other than deceased Davenport nemesis Marie Moore (The Golden Hammer has confirmed through two confidential sources within the Montgomery County government and one person outside of the County government).
Agenda Item 20C at the end of the Commissioners Court Agenda is an attempt by Doyal to obfuscate the true seriousness of the topic, “Consult with County Attorney About Release of Employee Information in Relation to Open Records Requests.” Clearly, Doyal framed the agenda item to try to blame the release of the employee information on the policy of openness and transparency within the Texas Open Records Act/Public Information Act, a statute with which Doyal has found many challenges during his tenure as County Judge.
Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack told The Golden Hammer, “I believe that this issue involving the public release of this information needs to be discussed in the open.” Numerous County employees contacted The Golden Hammer on Friday afternoon after the release of the Commissioners Court Agenda and complained, on the condition of anonymity for fear of retaliation from Doyal, that the Commissioners Court should not conduct this very serious executive session in secret when the issue involves a public release of very private information that should never have occurred both under federal and state law as well as under the direction Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton gave to Davenport after he ordered her to disclose the policy and procedures manual the County Treasurer had hidden from public view until after Paxton ordered the disclosure and until after the March 6 Republican Primary Election had ended.
Montgomery County Attorney J.D. Lambright had advised Davenport to release her policy and procedures manual with redactions of employee names, dates of birth, social security numbers, and other private information back in early December, 2017, after two citizens – Conroe ISD Board President Melanie Pryor Bush and Justin Pulliam – had requested the document. Davenport refused to release the document and even ordered Assistant County Attorney John McKinney to file suit against the Texas Attorney General to keep the document hidden from public view.
On December 19, 2017, Davenport also requested the Commissioners Court to come to her aid by declaring her policy manual a “trade secret” and “proprietary information.” In fact, after the Attorney General ordered Davenport to release the document, it turns out that a majority of the approximately 700 pages of Davenport’s manual are actually just pages from public documents that were backup material published as part of earlier Commissioners Court agendas. For example, Davenport claimed that a County Investment Policy was a “trade secret” even though it had been published on the Internet as part of the backup material in 2016 when the County Commissioners Court voted to adopt the policy.
Davenport had earlier claimed that the procedure and policy manual “contained step by step instructions on how to manipulate the county finance system.” Former County Treasurer Martha Gustavsen responded that manipulation of the county finance system is not a job duty of the County Treasurer.
In reality, the procedures manual was a bunch of junk. A supermajority of the pages were copies of policies the Commissioners Court had previously passed in open Commissioners Court meetings. It’s very clear that the real reason Davenport held the manual back so that voters could not see it before the March 6 Republican Primary Election was that there is nothing of substance contained within her entire 800 page manual.
Among the pages that Davenport claimed were top secret and should not be subject to public view were pages discussing how to recognize United States currency, including the following super secret information:
- The $1 bill has a portrait of George Washington on it.
- The $5 bill has a portrait of Abraham Lincoln on it.
- “The value amount of each bill is numerically posted in all four corners on both sides.”
- “The signature of the Treasurer of the United States appears on the bottom left of the face of the bill.”
Davenport also provided guidance to her County government employee staff, which includes County Judge Craig Doyal’s daughter, with respect to the method of “counting coins.” Davenport divulged the following information when she released her procedures manual: “Seven kinds of U.S. coins are issued,” Davenport secretly confided in her office staff. A coin with a $0.01 value is named a “penny.” A coin with a $0.05 value is named a “nickel.” A coin with a $0.25 value is named a “Quarter.”
Lambright told this newspaper, “I hope we’ll discuss where does this situation leave us and the issues and concerns among the affected County employees. The County Commissioners Court needs to know the countless hours we’ve spent in the County Attorney’s Office going through the more than 700 page document, because the County Treasurer failed to redact names and other personal information in numerous places throughout the document.”
Lambright explained yesterday (Friday, March 16) that he was about to send notices to people whom the release of information has affected. The County Attorney told The Golden Hammer that there are seventy-nine (79) County employees whose full names, full dates of birth, and either full or partial social security numbers Davenport released to the world at large last week. Lambright acknowledged that at least one of those employees is deceased.