After allegations were brought forward by a citizen at a recent Montgomery County Commissioners Court hearing, public records have surfaced showing that a county employee was fired for using county equipment to work on County Judge (then Pct. 2 Commissioner) Craig Doyal’s campaign and that Doyal allegedly approved of the actions.
During the November 22 Commissioners Court hearing, local attorney and activist Eric Yollick blew the whistle on the situation, bringing up the termination files of former county employee Melissa Goetz who worked as an administrative assistant for Doyal. Yollick obtained the documents through an open records request after seeking to understand the light sentence Goetz’s son was handed in a drunk driving case.
The file states that Goetz was fired because she took a county printer home and used it for Doyal’s campaign. Private use of county property is prohibited under Section 3 of the Montgomery County Employee Policy Manual.
Less than a month later, Goetz, along with her legal counsel, sent a letter to Doyal and the county Human Resources Department alleging that Doyal had approved of her use of county equipment for his campaign and that she felt he compelled her to do so.
“Personal direction by Craig Doyal regarding changes that needed to be made on his reports during work hours, requests to create political program ads during work hours, requests to prepare and mail political checks during work hours, and requests to work on fundraisers during work hours led me to believe that not only were these activities approved by Craig Doyal, they were required of me as part of my regular duties, therefore, the time used to complete these activities was under his immediate direction.”
The document goes on to claim that Doyal created an atmosphere where other employees regularly worked on his campaign while on taxpayers’ time as well. Goetz cited employees using the county mechanics shop to build platforms for campaign rallies, and Operations Manager Charlie Riley purchasing food for campaign events during county business hours as examples.
Concerning the use of the printer, Goetz said she was given a deadline to complete campaign reports by Doyal and that Riley, when notified a printer would be needed, instructed her to, “do what you need to do to get it finished.”
“At no time did Charlie tell me that taking the printer home would put my job in jeopardy. Charlie did not notify Craig Doyal for over 2 months that a suspected violation of policy had occurred.” Goetz continued, “This clearly shows that Charlie not only approved the activity, but later used the activity as an excuse to have me terminated.”
Doyal vehemently denies the allegations, claiming that they are politically motivated attacks. In her termination file, he tells Goetz, “You have been repeatedly warned to not use county materials, equipment, or time to work on my campaign.”
Yollick, however, when raising the issue during commissioners court, was not buying it:
“That a commissioner would permit such a situation to occur is reprehensible and reflects an attitude that county property there is not to safeguard, but for the personal and political use of the commissioner.”