Image: County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport (left) with her husband, Marc Davenport, the brilliant local political consultant (right).
Conroe, March 14 – In an unusual juxtaposition and irony, County Treasurer Stephanne Davenport accused County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw and her staff of “a huge lack of integrity there.” Davenport then proceeded to refuse to identify the County Treasurer’s Department employee who had submitted Position Description Questionnaires (PDQs) in September, 2016, to the Human Resources Department that named Lindsey Doyal, County Judge Craig Doyal’s daughter, as the person who would receive a promotion and pay hike as part of a Departmental “reorganization.” Davenport read her entire speech from a prepared text.
Davenport argued in her written speech that she was producing a team with “work to support each other” and not dwell on their mistakes. She mentioned that someone had sent her an email yesterday that asked her two questions to which Davenport responded during her prepared remarks.
Davenport requested that the Commissioners Court approve a “reorganization” in which two of her employees would receive classification as different positions, a Deputy Treasurer and an administrative position that would perform accounting functions part-time. Davenport argued that by doing so she would be able to return $31,500 from her Fiscal Year 2017 budget to the County government. Davenport’s departmental budget has grown steadily during the past three years. In Fiscal Year 2015, the County Treasurer’s budget was $695,768, although the department only spent $682,363. In Fiscal Year 2016, the County Treasurer’s budget was $711,667, while the budgeted amount for Fiscal Year 2017 is $726,602. By reducing the salaries Davenport will almost bring her Department’s expenditures back down to the Fiscal Year 2015 level.
Precinct 4 Commissioner Jim Clark voted against Davenport’s proposal, after he expressed concerns that the “reorganization” was not appropriate in the middle of the budget year. Craig Doyal voted in favor of the “reorganization” involving the Department where his daughter works, as did Commissioners Charlie Riley and Mike Meador.
Davenport’s efforts to save money are, of course, highly commendable. Where her efforts ran into major problems were two-fold. First, on September 6, 2016, Davenport’s office prepared PDQs that went beyond merely identifying two new positions with different duties. Instead, the PDQs which Davenport submitted created a new position, Assistant County Treasurer, and specifically named Lindsey Doyal, the daughter of County Judge Craig Doyal, to the position. In response, Davenport attended meetings with the Human Resources Department representatives – Director Dodi Shaw and Assistant Director Kathy Flowers – in which the Human Resources representatives expressed their concerns that the proposed “reorganization” was a means to promote Judge Doyal’s daughter and that nepotism was involved. Second, at the October 31, 2016, meeting, Davenport and Lindsey Doyal both attend the meeting with the Human Resources representatives. Shaw asked Lindsey Doyal whether Doyal would feel comfortable remaining in the meeting since part of the meeting’s purpose was to discuss her specifically, with the obvious implication that Lindsey Doyal should excuse herself from the meeting. Lindsey Doyal refused to leave the meeting.
Since 2016, there has been considerable unfriendly correspondence between Davenport and Shaw. Davenport send a secret letter to the County Commissioners on January 9, 2017, in which she complained about Shaw. Shaw sent a February 13, 2017, letter to the County Commissioners expressing her concerns, including her fear that Judge Craig Doyal included her on his political “Hit List” of County employees who supported Doyal’s electoral opponent, Mark Bosma, in the 2014 Republican Primary Election.
Therefore, on March 13, 2017, the Publisher of The Golden Hammer, Montgomery County’s leading daily newspaper, sent an email to Davenport which became the subject of approximately one-half of Davenport’s presentation to the Commissioners Court on March 14. The email in its entirety from Eric Yollick to Stephanne Davenport read:
“Honorable Stephanne Davenport, County Treasurer, Montgomery CountyStephanne,Since Commissioner Noack is not attending Commissioners Court tomorrow, your “reorganization” will likely pass, despite legitimate concerns about it.At the same time, I do hope you’ll do the right thing, which is, at a minimum, two-fold:(1) You should disclose fully in open Commissioners Court ‘from the podium’ how the September 6 PDQs came in to existence, including the who, what, where, and when. The citizens have every right to know what happened and the identity of the person who created those documents.(2) You should assure us all ‘from the podium’ that Lindsey Doyal will not be considered for the new positions you’re creating.My fear – and the fear of many, many others – is that after your ‘reorganization’ passes tomorrow, you’ll post the new positions, somehow you won’t get enough applicants or the right applicants, and you’ll feel like you must move Lindsey Doyal into the position. That’s the ‘Charlie Riley 2-Step.’ You should draw the line in the sand and make it clear that your words, ‘Nepotism is, by definition, and abuse of power’ have meaning.These are serious issues. As citizens, we have a right to know what happened and what will happen.Thank you.Eric Yollick, Private Citizen
cc: Dodi Shaw, Director, Human Resources DepartmentKathy Flower, Assistant Director, Human Resources Department”