CONROE – In a tight vote this week, Montgomery County Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a security detail, consisting of one deputy constable for the top county official, Judge Mark Keough.
The move has generated some controversy because some believe the money would be better spent to better secure the building where he works, 501 North Thompson in Conroe.
The entrance to this county building is open to the public without any security checkpoint on the first floor.
On the days of commissioners court meetings, the single floor is secured with a security checkpoint that includes a metal detector.
The cost of the security allotment is $73,374 for the first year, with $56,139 going to the deputy’s salary.
Keough was recently in a traffic accident that is still under investigation. He vehemently denied Friday that he was under the influence of any substance when the accident occurred, and there has been no evidence, publicly presented to suggest otherwise.
Keough would not discuss the details of the accident.
“When it’s all said and done my reputation stands on its own. They’re going to find there is nothing there that would indicate any liability to me, my family or the county,” he said.
Keough said he still has a valid driver’s license following the accident but he was not driving because of an injury. He said the newly assigned deputy may drive him and his chief of staff to certain official events and meetings, but that was not the person’s primary purpose.
The primary purpose was to keep him and the building safe after a series of incidents that did not involve police reports being filed, according to the judge’s chief of staff.
“There’s this understanding that the guy is like my personal bodyguard that’s not what this is at all,” Keough told KPRC2′s Joel Eisenbaum via Zoom.
But Precinct 2 Commissioner, Charlie Riley said the public funds would be better spent securing the building and its occupants, about 400, rather than one person in particular.
“When the judge is going to be gone, that leaves a couple of women, and someone else at that office, they’re not protected,” Riley said.