Commissioners James Noack and Jim Clark are seeking to return management of all Montgomery County departments to the Commissioners Court as a whole. The move would reverse the unilateral authority County Judge Craig Doyal has had over departments since county government was restructured when he took office.
“Delegating these responsibilities to just one sole authority has created a dictator on our court,” said Noack.
After a contentious election, one of Doyal’s first acts after being sworn in as county judge in January 2015 was to propose a motion placing management of county departments solely under the county judge’s office. Decisions regarding departments had previously been voted on by the court as a whole. Despite concerns about Doyal being given too much power, the motion was approved in a 4-1 vote. Noack was the lone dissenter.
Once departments were unilaterally under his control, Doyal moved immediately to fire the Director of Infrastructure, Mark Bosma, who happened to be Doyal’s opponent in the County Judge race. Bosma had worked for the county for 23 years, earning numerous accolades and awards for his service, however, he brought down the ire of Doyal and the establishment when he blew the whistle on $16 million taxpayer dollars that went missing in the Joe Corley Jail Scandal.
While Doyal has moved to centralize government power under the County Judge’s Office, the Texas Constitution gives the ultimate decision making authority in the county to commissioners court, stating in Article V, Section 18, that, “The court shall exercise powers over county business as provided by law.”
Noack believes the provision needs to be followed explicitly:
“Though the opportunity to delegate authority may be permitted, it is not wise. The people elected me as commissioner to be able to make these types of decisions pursuant to the Texas Constitution and statutes and when the court approved this egregious resolution they robbed the power from the people of Montgomery County.”
Clark expressed similar sentiments:
“With the increased and intense scrutiny the court is receiving at this time, my belief is that my vote is a voice for the people that elected me to make the best decisions for Montgomery County. We may not always agree and that’s OK – these important decisions need to be made by the entire court.”
Noack and Clark have submitted the item to, “Consider, Discuss and take action on returning county administrative/management structures back under the entire court” for the February 14th court agenda.