With Judge Keough, Representative Toth, and County Attorney Griffin as dignitaries, Montgomery County Ethics Commission holds historic first meeting, elects Whittington as leader

Montgomery County Ethics Commission Chair Amanda Whittington.

The Golden Hammer Staff Reports

Conroe, January 7 – The Montgomery County Ethics Commission held its historic first meeting on Monday, January 6, 2020, in the Commissioners Courtroom in the Sadler Administration in downtown Conroe. As one of its first acts of business, the Commission’s nine members in attendance voted unanimously to elect Amanda Whittington as the first Chair of the governmental body.

Whittington recently retired as a Montgomery County employee. She had worked as an Administrative Assistant for Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough. Prior to working in the County Judge’s Office, Whittington had been the long time Court Administrator and Court Coordinator for the 284th District Court where she worked for District Judge Olen Underwood and District Judge Cara Wood.

The Commission meeting began with Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough telling the nine members, “On behalf of the people of Montgomery County, thank you.” Keough remarked that Montgomery County has become a regional leader in government reform.

“You guys are the last line of defense,” Keough told the Commission members who, under the provisions of the JD Lambright Local Government Ethics Reform Act, which the 86th Texas Legislature passed and Governor Greg Abbott signed into law on June 14, 2019, are to write an ethics code and then provide the enforcement mechanism for it. “What you do when elected official decides to go south on you, it’s up to you,” the “People’s Judge,” Keough told them.

State Representative Steve Toth, Republican of Conroe, also spoke to the Commission and provided them with the history of the legislation which resulted in the Lambright Act coming into existence. “JD Lambright, our beloved former County Attorney, asked me and Senator Brandon Creighton to try to get this statute enacted,” Toth explained. “The Texas Municipal League and the Texas Association of Counties fought us on it.”
Toth noted that the problems of corruption in Montgomery County’s government are similar to problems citizens observe statewide. “You have a great opportunity to show leadership.” The conservative Republican State Representative explained that he modeled Montgomery County’s legislation after similar legislation for El Paso County.
Private citizen Eric Yollick, during a citizen comment, thanked the Commission members and specifically asked them to put in place “robust rules to prohibit nepotism and to bring the problems with conflicts of interest to a swift end in our County government.”
Montgomery County Attorney B.D. Griffin and Assistant County Attorney John McKinney also spoke to the Commission during the meeting.
The Commission members voted to meet again on January 27, 2020, at 3 p.m., when they will discuss appropriate procedures for drafting and adopting a new Ethics Code for the Montgomery County government.

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