Image: Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough slunk down in his chair during the November 10, 2020, Commissioners Court meeting, showing his shame for seeking to cost the taxpayers a fortune to pay for his personal driver. Keough can no longer drive himself after he caused a major vehicle accident on September 10, 2020, in The Woodlands when the County Judge slammed his Lexus SUV into a parked deputy constable’s vehicle.
The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Conroe, November 11 – Slinking down in his chair, showing the shame he must feel in burdening the taxpayers with his fear, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough asked and received a deputy constable assigned to him for his personal driver and bodyguard. In voting 3 (Keough, Meador, Metts) to 2 (Noack, Riley), the Commissioners Court also took a vehicle away from the Montgomery County Emergency Management Department in order for it to serve as Keough’s personal transportation.
Keough, whose office policies appear more and more like the big spending, statist, and secrecy approach of his predecessor, Craig Doyal, clearly “doyaled” the taxpayers in asking for an $80,000 per year personal driver who would use a County vehicle to take Keough to and from work each day and drive him around to other locations in the community.
Upon query by Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley about security incidents, the only circumstance Keough could name with respect to his County Judge Office was a gentleman who identified the fact that he believes in Jesus, or, as Riley referred to him as “that Jesus guy.” It seems ironic that Keough, who holds himself out as a pastor of a church he began and operates, would demand security protection from the taxpayers based upon one person who made clear his belief in the existence of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This newspaper confirmed with three sources that Keough needs the law enforcement officer to drive him to and from work, and elsewhere, because Keough cannot drive since the September 10, 2020, car accident Keough caused in The Woodlands, when Keough smashed his vehicle into a parked deputy constable’s vehicle. It also seems ironic that a deputy constable will now be in the position of providing Keough transportation, after a deputy constable suffered injury to himself and to his vehicle in the accident, which remains under a criminal investigation.
Precinct 3 Montgomery County Commissioner James Noack opposed the move and explained “My only concern is that this is something that should’ve been addressed in budget hearings. We admonished other departments not to bring these matters to us in the middle of the year…That’s frustrating to me. I’m going to vote ‘no.'”
Keough made clear that the purpose of this $80,000 per year expenditure is for his personal security. “It has to do with security for my office and for me…This comes up for me personally…” Keough did not explain why he is any different from the remainder of the 600,000 citizens of Montgomery County who face the same security and safety problems that he has.
Other than the one adherent to Christianity who frightened Keough on one occasion, Keough was unable to describe any other security concerns he has suffered as County Judge.
Noack harshly criticized Keough’s request. In explaining that a deputy constable sometimes provides public safety for Noack’s road and bridge crews, Noack said, “My officer that works with us doesn’t house in my precinct. He’s out on the street. He’s not sitting there to protect me; that’s what 9-1-1 is. The librarian wants one at her branch and I’ve told her the same thing.” Noack made clear that he believes Keough should call 9-1-1, in the event of any security issue, just like every other citizen must in Montgomery County.
Meador, the strongest and most consistent advocate for statism and big government spending made clear he was all for Keough’s personal use of a certified peace officer on the payroll of County taxpayers. “I know your doors are locked down. I don’t care what he [the law enforcement officer] does. I don’t care if he rides around with you.”
Riley noted that “there’s panic buttons everywhere. There’s safety precautions.” Riley clearly voted “no” with respect to Keough’s fearful proposal, because Riley knows there are sufficient safeguards already in place. Those safeguards, however, do not provide Keough a private driver to ferry him to and from work each day.
Keough’s wife, Kim, simply doesn’t want to drive her husband to and from work. Meanwhile, Keough’s highly-paid “chief of staff,” Jason Millsaps, has a leased vehicle with limited monthly mileage, so he cannot provide personal transportation to Keough either.
As County Judge, Keough actually has very limited duties. In addition to presiding over Commissioners Court meetings once every two weeks, Keough is responsible for overseeing the burial of paupers and the emergency management department. Millsaps, however oversees the emergency management department for Keough and receives a huge $125,959.86 per year salary, with benefits of approximately $50,761.82, for total annual compensation of $176,721.68.
Keough receives a salary of $153,814.70 per year, now with benefits of approximately $148,250.62, for total compensation of $302,065.32, making Keough easily the highest paid elected official – local, state, or federal – in the entire State of Texas.
One wonders when Keough will ask the taxpayers to purchase a residence in which he might live as well?