The “Goetzgate” scandal requires some explaining from County Judge Craig Doyal and Commissioner Charlie Riley.
Magnolia, January 13 – With the tension between County Judge Craig Doyal and Commissioner Charlie Riley intensifying as our community approaches the 2018 elections, the “Goetzgate” scandal has started to cross people’s minds more than ever previously, because neither Doyal nor Riley have exhibited any remorse for their use of county government property for personal political campaigning.
Former Precinct 2 employee Melissa Goetz’s son, Brian Goetz, gained a release from the Montgomery County Jail on November 21, 2016, after serving two weeks of a six-month sentence for driving while intoxicated after an October 26, 2012, accident in which two of Goetz’s passengers died in an horrific accident on Nichols Sawmill Road. Goetz was acquitted of intoxication manslaughter after Commissioner Charlie Riley testified at trial that road conditions could have made the road unsafe, which became the primary theme of Goetz’s lawyer’s closing argument at the conclusion of the criminal trial.
On March 13, 2012, Precinct 2 Operations Manager (now Commissioner) Charlie Riley terminated Goetz as an administrative assistant after his wife, Deanne Riley, insisted that it was time for Goetz to go. Goetz had been a long time associate and employee of Riley, having served with him as a founding director and officer of the Magnolia Education Foundation.
During the afternoon after Riley terminated Goetz, he received a telephone call from his boss, County Commissioner (now Judge) Craig Doyal who summoned Riley out to his truck parked in front of the Commissioner’s barn. Doyal and Riley engaged in a heated argument during which Riley told Doyal that he would resign as an employee of Montgomery County. Riley then left. The next morning Doyal convinced Riley to change his mind when Doyal agreed to sign the termination as Goetz’s official boss. Officially, Riley and Doyal terminated Goetz on March 14, 2012, as follows: “…the severity of the offense is so serious that this level of discipline [termination] is appropriate…It just came to my attention that on or about January 9, 2012, you returned a [county] printer to the office which you admitted using to prepare campaign materials [for Doyal’s political campaign!]…”
On April 17, 2012, Melissa Goetz send a letter to Commissioner Doyal that recounted that:
- Under Doyal’s personal direction, Melissa Goetz regularly prepared his campaign reports at the Precinct 2 office.
- Under Doyal’s personal direction, Melissa Goetz prepared political program ads during work hours at the Precinct 2 office.
- Under Doyal’s personal direction, Melissa Goetz prepared and mailed political checks during work hours and worked on political fundraisers during for Doyal during work hours.
- Other county employees in Precinct 2 worked on campaign activities and fundraisers for Doyal during work hours.
- The Precinct 2 mechanics shop built platforms during work hours for Doyal’s political fundraisers.
- Operations Manager Charlie Riley purchased food for Doyal’s political fundraisers during county business hours.
- Doyal approved of the use of county materials, equipment, and time to work on his campaign.
- Charlie Riley, Melissa Goetz’s immediate supervisor, instructed Goetz to “do what you need to do to get it [Doyal’s political campaign reports] finished” including taking a county printer to Goetz’s home.
Montgomery County faces a fiscal crisis in 2016, because the massive growth of unrestrained county government spending has reached a point where high property taxes are preventing retired people from keeping their homes, harming the sales of real estate by developers and the real estate community, and causing many companies to move their headquarters locations elsewhere to avoid the high spending and tax environment Doyal, Riley, Commissioner Mike Meador, and Commissioner Jim Clark have caused to exist in this community.
Rather than facing these serious allegations, and explaining their actions, Doyal attempted a campaign inside the county government to cover up the “Goetzgate” scandal. Dozens of county employees reported that Doyal threatened County Human Resources Director Dodi Shaw with termination, that Doyal threatened other county employees, that Doyal actually terminated County Purchasing Director Darlou Zenor, and that Doyal insisted to Riley and others that the Melissa Goetz termination documents appended to this article never see the light of day.
As the county begins 2017, will soon face another budget period for Fiscal Year 2018, and will then face the question whether voters should re-elect Doyal, Riley, and Jim Clark for second terms of office, Doyal and Riley should address the allegations head-on, rather than trying to cover them up and pretending that “Goetzgate” never happened.