Conroe, January 7 – Problematically, Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough’s first Commissioners Court agenda for the Tuesday, January 8, 2019, meeting contains the corrupt secretive practices of his predecessor Craig Doyal. Keough’s Chief of Staff, Jason Millsaps, has assured, “We’re following the previous methods for this one meeting, because we had to prepare and post an agenda with less than three days in office, but we plan on changing some things in the future.”
The following are some of the insults the citizens of Montgomery County will suffer during the January 8 meeting.
Agenda Item 8A1: Payment of Accounts
The agenda includes one line “Payment of Accounts” which includes a 99 page report of single-spaced lines of payments totaling $12,289,850.91. Since the item is on the secretive consent agenda, it’s likely that there will be no discussion, review, or deliberation of any of those payments, which include:
- $9,272.34 to Graves Humphries law firm, the collection firm foisted on the taxpayers by Precinct 4 County Commissioner James Metts and his political boss Marc Davenport. The taxpayers are losing approximately $1 million per year in fee and fine collections as a result of the poor collection work they’re doing.
- Approximately $250,000 in full retail prices for construction materials and office supplies.
- $8,000 to taxpayer-funded lobbyist Robert “Geronimo” Eissler.
- $800.57 for library books in Chinese.
- Over $78,000 in unsubstantiated credit card charges.
- $20,658.60 to LJA Engineering (Jeff Cannon’s company), which contributes mightily to the members of the Commissioners Court for work in Precinct 4 County Commissioner James Metts’ Precinct.
Agenda Item 8A2: Still cleaning up last year’s budget
The agenda includes cleaning up more than $863,000 of continuing mess from last year’s poor budgeting with budget amendments.
The new County Auditor, Rakesh Pandey, C.P.A., should put his foot down and not permit the continuation of these fraudulent budget amendments wherein the Commissioners Court falsely declares that they must adopt the amendments as an “emergency expenditure” “due to grave public necessity.” The entire purpose of those false declarations is to circumvent the public hearing process required for budget amendments.
Pandey needs to bring this practice to a swift end. While it’s possible that his staff in the Auditor’s Office led him astray on this one occasion, when he has only been in office for four (4) days before the posting of the Commissioners Court agenda, Pandey shouldn’t allow these actions to occur in the future, and neither should Keough.
Agenda Item 8A3: Audit Reports Which the new County Auditor somehow has approved!
Pandey should never have blessed audit reports after only being in office for four days. Hopefully, either Pandey or Keough will pull this item off of the consent agenda, so that Pandey can explain the procedure for his approving this report so hastily.
Agenda Item 8D1-6: Blind purchasing
The Commissioners Court will spend more than $300,000 on purchasing items without discussion, oversight, or deliberation.
Agenda Item 8H: Payroll changes for “Sweetie Pie” and the felon
Unfortunately, the item also includes the hiring of Metts’ live-in girlfried and doubling of her salary as well as hiring convicted felon Greg Long.
Agenda Item 8J: Reducing County Judge’s Salary
If there’s any item which Keough should have placed on the open agenda to discuss in public, its’ the item where he fulfills his campaign promise to reduce his own salary.
This item should embarrass the Commissioners. That’s called “leadership” by Keough.
Agenda Item 8P: Spending $3,600 out of the Justice Court Technology Fund for “Supplies/Other”
Spending $3,600 out of the Justice Court Technology Fund for Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Jason Dunn involves a lot of money. It’s unacceptable to provide no explanation other than “Supplies/Other” for this expenditure. That’s the secrecy and obfuscation that defined Craig Doyal. Keough shouldn’t allow secretive County employees to define him.
Agenda Items 10A1 and 2: County Judge Department salaries
These items primarily involve reducing the salary of Jason Millsaps, Keough’s Chief of Staff. At least the County Judge and Commissioners intend to discuss this item in the open. It’s an item for which Millsaps and the entire Commissioners Court should be perfectly proud.
Agenda Item 11: Budget policy change
Here’s how the budget item reads: “CONSIDER, DISCUSS AND TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION REGARDING THE BUDGET POLICY, PCR DEADLINES, USE OF EXCESS SALARY FUNDS (VACANCIES), AND RETROACTIVE PAY.”
This item is far too broad and unclear to comply with the specificity requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act. It appears to constitute an intentional obfuscation, Doyal-style. Neither Keough, Millsaps, nor County Attorney Lambright should have permitted such an item to appear on the agenda.
Commissioners Court agenda items should fairly give the citizens notice about what the matters are for discussion. By drafting the agenda item as it is, it appears to be an attempt at steganography (hiding in plain view).
Agenda Item 12A: It’s a mess
It’s a mess. More to come later.
Agenda Item 16A: Appoint new officers and directors for Montgomery County Tollroad Authority
Item 16A reads: “APPOINT NEW OFFICERS AND DIRECTORS OF MONTGOMERY COUNTY TOLL ROAD AUTHORITY.”
It’s time for Keough and Noack to fulfill their campaign promises and public statements that public will should dictate policy with respect to tollroads. Therefore, they should appoint five new members of the Montgomery County Toll Road Authority to set policy and determine how much tolls should be:
- County wide: Ms. Kelli Cook is the perfect choice, despite her recent concussion and head staples.
- Precinct 1: Mr. Reagan Reed.
- Precinct 2: Ms. Ginger Russell.
- Precinct 3: Ms. Leesa Hyder.
- Precinct 4: Mr. Bob Bagley.
They’ll do a great job and take care of business.
Agenda Item 17A1: Riley is promoting a political supporter
Agenda Item 17A1 asks for approval of a promotion for George Herzog, a political supporter, since Riley fired Christopher Decuir who was in the same position.
The citizens are counting on Millsaps to clean up this mess.