Image: Montgomery County Budget Director Amanda Carter attempted to respond, on Tuesday, September 25, 2018, before the Commissioners Court immediately after she had received “The Golden Hammer Award” for “hammering the taxpayers” with massive County government salaries comprising 57.4% of the entire County government budget for Fiscal Year 2019.
Conroe, September 26 – Montgomery County government Budget Office Director Amanda Carter and Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw received “The Golden Hammer Award” for “hammering the taxpayers” with massive County government salaries comprising an enormous 57.4% of the entire County government budget for Fiscal Year 2019. The Award presentation occurred during the Montgomery County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, September 25, 2018.
The Golden Hammer Award presentation follows:
“With respect to Agenda Item 14B, which is “Consider, accept and approve salary schedule for FY2019:”“You shouldn’t ‘consider’ the salary schedule for FY 2019– While Judge Doyal posted the agenda on Friday, there was no salary schedule available until 7:48 pm last night– Commissioners Court members didn’t see it until this morning, if at all.“It’s [salaries are] 57.4% of the total budget and you’re not going even to glance at it before you ‘consider’ it.“In this instance, you are victims – and you’re making us victims – of your own secrecy.“You shouldn’t ‘accept’ the schedule.“Commissioner Noack asked on September 5 how you compare with your ‘peers” as far as the budget.–Your peers are the citizens of Montgomery County who mostly have to work in the private sector where the payroll is rarely more than 20% of successful businesses.–In the oil industry, labor costs are usually less than 10% of revenue.–In more service businesses, such as restaurants or medical, labor costs are as high as 40% without harming profitability.–There’s no private business that survives with a payroll like yours.“You shouldn’t ‘approve’ the salary schedule.–When Judge Doyal and Commissioner Riley ran for office in 2014, they both told voters in their campaign ads and speeches ‘don’t worry we won’t run the County the way they do in Washington, D.C.’–In actuality, you run our Montgomery County government worse than they do in Washington, D.C.–Payroll is only 15% of the total discretionary spending of the federal government.–If you included entitlement programs in the statistics, the payroll percentage of the federal government would be a LOT lower.“The single worst County Department of all in salary abuse is the Precinct 1 Commissioners Office, Account 612. All you have to do is glance at that Department on the salary schedule and you’ll recognized what a total mess that Commissioners Precinct is.“Today’s Golden Hammer for hammering the taxpayers goes to Budget Director Amanda Carter and Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw.“HR and the Budget Office should work for the citizens.–Ms. Carter and Ms. Shaw have a duty to the taxpayers to fight against massive payroll costs.“They’ve failed us.”
Shaw quietly listened to the presentation. Carter didn’t. While she was to present the salary schedule to the Commissioners Court as the next item on the agenda, instead she attempted to rebut “The Golden Hammer Award.” The problem was, however, that Carter had failed to provide the massive salary schedule to the members of the Commissioners Court until around 7:48 p.m. Monday night, so the Commissioners Court members, as well as the public, had no real opportunity to review this item that is 57.4% of the Fiscal Year 2019 Budget.
Carter responded,” The salary schedule is posted online for public viewing and it will stay there for the Fiscal Year and for the beginning of the Fiscal Year obviously. The Salary Schedule was distributed to departments. Each department received theirs very early and those are the departments that do know what’s going on. And those are the departments that do report to you guys. So you guys do know about what’s going on with the salary schedule. It reflects all of the changes that you made not only in the budget hearings but in the budget workshops. I’m sorry. And any other changes that were submitted to us.”
Precinct 3 County Commissioner James Noack remarked, “Ms. Carter, I do have a question. I have the whole schedule here and it is correct to state that we didn’t get this until late yesterday and it is a voluminous document with a lot of information. I would like to see us get this posted sooner in the future. There’s no reason why it should come out at 7 o’clock the night before.”
Shaw is a highly-regarded Human Resources professional. Unfortunately, County leaders have largely excluded Shaw from the budget process and from salary management issues over which a dedicated Human Resources professional could greatly contribute both in the private sector and in a Human Resources behemoth such as the bloated Montgomery County government. Hopefully, if Carter can get away from lame duck Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal, his “chief of staff” jim fredricks, and outgoing County Auditor Phyllis Martin quickly enough, she may have a chance to make substantial contributions to reducing the monstrously heavy tax burden on Montgomery County’s citizens.