Two bankruptcies, but stark differences in lives afterwards between Commissioner Riley and challenger Parker (A Look at Salaries, Part 4)

County Commissioner Charlie Riley and County Judge Craig Doyal have enjoyed public life together.

Magnolia and Conroe, September 19 – In exploring the exorbitant salaries of the elected officials of the Montgomery County Commissioners Court – County Judge Craig Doyal and the four County Commissioners – The Golden Hammer has observed that, with a few exceptions, rather than attracting a higher caliber of candidates, Montgomery County’s huge salaries seem to do the opposite.

In Part I of this 4-part series on Commissioners Court salaries, this newspaper presented the facts surrounding Precinct 2 County Commissioner Charlie Riley’s Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing in 2002 in which he avoided paying all of his debts (other than taxes). In Part II, we examined Riley’s failure, even to the present day, to pay a state tax lien of less than $900 that he’s owed to the citizens since 2002, despite the more than $317,000 Riley and his wife Deanne receive in total compensation (salary plus benefits) each year.

Riley has drawn two opponents at this time in the March 6, 2018 Republican Primary Election. One of his opponents is local businessman and longtime Republican activist Brian Dawson. The other of his opponents is former two-term Comal County Commissioner and conservative author Gregory Parker.

It turns out that Parker has filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in his distant past. He also had some tax liens.

The contrast between Parker and Riley and how they dealt with the aftermath of their bankruptcy filings is stark. One of the differences that may explain the distinction is that Parker was only 27 years old when he filed bankruptcy in 1997. Riley and his wife Deanne were in their mid-40s.

Riley after Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Rather than picking himself up and pressing forward with new ideas or opportunities in business, Riley became a dependent upon the public dole for the rest of his life. Riley went to work for then Precinct 2 County Commissioner Craig Doyal.

Riley still owes the State of Texas the taxes on the tax lien. Deanne Riley also has worked for Montgomery County ever since the Bankruptcy filing as well. When she lost her job in the Sheriff’s Office at the end of 2016, Riley, as a County Commissioner committed the most crass form of nepotism by creating a new position for his wife in the County government and then filling the position with her.

Riley uses and abuses public perks, such as a cell phone, County truck, and County government gasoline. He even stores his personal trailer for free in the Precinct 2 County barnyard, an act for which he shows defiance rather than remorse. Riley doesn’t even keep the registration on his personal trailer up to date, even though he drives the trailer across Montgomery County.

Riley is a ward of the Montgomery County taxpayers, often by trickery.

Parker after Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Parker was 27 years old when he filed Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 1997. He also paid off a couple of tax liens by 2009. He’s 47 years old now. In all fairness to Riley, who was already in his mid-40s when he and Deanne Riley filed Chapter 7, a person likely changes a lot more from their twenties to their forties (Parker’s circumstances) than from their mid-forties to their early sixties (Riley’s circumstances).

 Rather than living entirely off the public dole, as the Rileys have chosen, Parker has enjoyed substantial private business success and has performed substantial public service along the way during the past twenty years.
Parker went into the technology industry in the late 1990s, first as a programmer and then as a director of software development for different companies. He had a successfully project management company for technology projects when he decided to run for public office in Comal County (County Seat: New Braunfels, south of Austin) as a County Commissioner. Parker served two terms as a Republican County Commissioner in Comal County before he decided to run for the Texas Railroad Commission in 2012. Parker lost in the Republican Primary in the statewide riace.
Parker returned to the private sector in 2013 and now handles large-scale technology projects involving multimillion dollar investments mostly within the private sector. He wrote his first book in 2010 to debunk global warming theory and just came out with a second book, Conservative Essays for the Modern Era.
Parker has been involved in the motion picture business as well. He’s written and directed three movie shorts, had one acting role as “Tough Guy #2” in the 2011 horror movie Purgatory, and is presently involved with Indie Crowd Funder, an equity-based crowdfunding company that supports motion picture development.
After financial difficulty as a twenty-something, Parker has become a self-made man during the last two decades.
Another contrast between Parker and Riley is their willingness to discuss their experiences. Riley wouldn’t return multiple telephone calls. Parker discussed his fall and his comeback freely.
Of his bankruptcy in 1997, Parker explained, “That was a tough time in my life. I was young with little or no formal education. It made me realize I needed to improve myself. Thereafter, I sought after knowledge and I set life goals. My story is one of adversity and pain, but also of triumph and happiness. I never claimed to be perfect, no one is perfect. However, I have learned through that experience that we all have faults and failures, yet we can all overcome those setbacks, to be good leaders. The key is to turn your personal failure into public good.”
Parker sought to improve his education as a first step in his comeback, as he said, “After such setbacks, I gained education, private sector technology and management experience, public sector management experience and I became an author. Setbacks should not determine who you are or what you are; Your future is determined by how you make use of the life lessons you’ve learned.”
Confronted with whether Parker, who has harshly criticized the high salaries County Commissioners receive in Montgomery County, he answer, “My life is not is the public sector, I don’t believe in making such a career. Holding office should be public service. Hence, we will find imperfect people to serve. Now, while those that serve maybe imperfect, they should not be unqualified.”
Parker received a Bachelor’s Degree and Masters in Public Policy. He’s working on his dissertation in order to earn a Ph.D. in Public Policy.
Dallas author and editor Eric L. Burton has known Parker since they met at a Tea Party rally in 2008. He has worked closely with Parker on political and writing projects. Burton commented,
“I have worked with Greg Parker in the past and there are a few points I wanted to make you aware of that might help when it comes to context.  First, Greg is not just a public servant, he also is one of the few who put on the uniform, raised his hand and took the oath to defend this country as a member of our military services.  Second, Greg came from the humblest of beginnings, raised by a single mother, who also served her country in uniform, he was one of three children, all of whom are exceptional in their own right.  Greg was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, instead, his story is the definition of ‘the American Dream.’  He may have made some mistakes in life but he picked himself up by his boot straps and marched forward, never complaining always with a smile on his face and the attitude that failure is part of success, understanding that those who fail are also those who are doing. That is the caliber of someone I would want to serve me as an elected representative, someone who knows what it is like for everyday ‘Joes.’  Someone who puts his country first by raising their hand and taking an oath to sacrifice their life and liberty for our collective lives. Greg is too humble to tell you any of this as well as any number of exceptional things he has either accomplished or done.  Greg is an inspiration to me, he is a transformative figure in a time we need people of humility and action.  Sadly I am not a constituent, I don’t live in Montgomery County but I do believe that your readers should know more about this fine man seeking the opportunity to serve them.”
Greg Parker, of Conroe.



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