by Clay Herrmann
Garland County Judge Rick Davis with his newly hired “Comptroller” Susan Ashmore met with Regions Bank officials discussing investment of Garland County money on April 28, 2015. County Treasurer Tim Stockdale was also invited to attend the meeting.
Of particular significance in this process, Stockdale as County Treasurer has sole State Constitutionally imparted responsibility for managing investment of funds in the County treasury. That begs the question of why the County Judge and his newly hired comptroller (a newly created position) have inserted themselves into the County Treasurer’s duties, behaving as if they had any legal right to manage the Treasurer’ office?
A possible explanation of this trespassing into the purview of the Treasurer is that the Judge and Comptroller are seeking to engage in activities that can be reported to the members of the County Legislature (Quorum Court) as justification for the newly created comptroller position. An approved comptroller job description was not yet available at the time of this meeting.
The Regions bank officials appear unaware that Tim Stockdale is the only one at the table with authority to make the investing decisions, and Judge Davis and Comptroller Ashmore are conversing with the bankers in a manner perpetuating the myth that they have decision making responsibility.
This unusual intrusion by the County Judge into the domain of another Constitutionally defined independent elected office appears to be unilateral at present. County Treasure Tim Stockdale indicated no present plans on his part to insert himself into management of the Road Department, the execution of judicial orders approving county contracts, or any other of the County Judge’s Constitutionally prescribed roles.
Susan Ashmore, The Judge’s Comptroller, is now the highest paid employee in Garland County with a higher salary than her boss, the County Judge. (Look for action to rectify that salary inversion situation in the near future by a yet to be announced proposal for salary increases for the County Judge and other elected county officials.)