Image: Montgomery County Clerk Mark Turnbull.
Eric Yollick, The Golden Hammer
The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, endorses Mark Turnbull for re-election as Montgomery County Clerk in the March 6, 2018, Republican Primary Election. Turnbull is one of the premier county clerks in Texas. He’s also one of the most competent elected officials in Montgomery County. Therefore, this endorsement is an easy one.
Mark Turnbull is a nerd.
Going into Turnbull’s private office is very different from the usual office of an elected official. There’s no ornate furniture, photographs with powerful people, or ego plaques on the wall. His office has the look and feel of a teenage boy’s messy bedroom with computer parts, pieces of tennis shoes, other machinery, and other odd and assorted junk. Turnbull’s office reflects the personality and idiosyncrasies of the man who works there.
The remainder of Turnbull’s Montgomery County Clerk’s Office is spotless. The Clerk’s Office enjoys great organization, happy and hardworking employees who are extremely friendly to their customers (also known as “the citizens”), and is easy to use. Turnbull makes himself accessible to the public as does his staff who clearly enjoy assisting people to find what they’re seeking.
Turnbull is 60. He graduated from Conroe High School in 1975 and from the University of Houston with a B.B.A. in Business and Marketing in 1979. After college, Turnbull went to work in his family’s downhole drilling tool business where he worked until he became the Montgomery County Clerk on January 1, 1995.
Turnbull served as the Treasurer of the Montgomery County Republican Party from approximately 1985 to 2007.
Almost immediately upon becoming the County Clerk, Turnbull worked to computerize the Real Property Records, which was a revolutionary step in 1995. As former Harris County Clerk Beverly “Big Red” Kaufman, one of the most popular Republican politicians in Texas history, once said, “that Turnbull guy you have up there in Montgomery County is a technological genius.” Turnbull and the few other county clerks across Texas who worked with him on the most efficient method of digitizing County Clerk records led a giant change in the manner in which individuals, businesses, and title companies do business when it comes to recording, indexing, and finding Clerk’s records. Turnbull continues to work on improvements to the Clerk’s Office and its record keeping system all the time.
In 2011 and 2012, when the Montgomery County Collections Department faced a crisis, then-Montgomery County Judge Alan Sadler and the Commissioners Court turned to Turnbull to clean up the mess. Turnbull put appropriate systems in place to operate an outstanding Collections Department and led the effort to hire the talented Clegg Dewalt as the Director of County Collections. Today, thanks to Turnbull and Dewalt, Montgomery County has one of the top Collections Department in the State of Texas.
Turnbull has been a conservative Republican who is loyal to the Republican Party Platform for his entire adult life. He was Pro-Life long before it became the majority viewpoint in the Republican Party of Texas.
Turnbull is a true fiscal conservative in the sense that he’s genuinely worked to make government operate more efficiently and with less of a burden to the taxpayers. The Citizens Budget Committee, during its work in early 2017, noticed that Turnbull’s County Clerk’s Department was one of the most efficient of all Montgomery County departments.
During the July, 2017, “budget hearings” while Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal and the Commissioners Court made a mockery of the concept of fiscal conservatism, Turnbull provided one of the best Department presentations in which he noted the Montgomery County government’s spending growth has exceeded population growth plus inflation for several years. Immediately following is one of the slides from Turnbull’s multi-media presentation during the “budget hearings.”
Mark Turnbull is the real deal. He exemplifies what the Republican Party should be: opposes the growth of government, but, when we must govern, we should govern well.