Judge Wayne L. Mack: From janitor to justice of the peace

Judge Wayne Mack began working for Montgomery County as a janitor in 1986. Over the past 30 years, he climbed the ranks and was elected Precinct 1 justice of the peace in 2014.

Originally from Wisconsin, Mack attended Jackson College of Ministries, before moving to Texas in 1985 to take an unpaid internship working with the youth department of a church. To support himself, Mack said he took a job as a night custodian for Montgomery County, and over the years, he was promoted to foreman, supervisor, assistant director and director of building custodial services.

“I always tell people my memoir is going to be called, ‘From Janitor to Judge and all the mess I cleaned up along the way,’” Mack said. “The highest honor that any community can give an elected person is their trust, and I consider it a huge honor for me to be in this position of public service.”

During that time, Mack also attended and graduated from the Lone Star Community College Police Academy and began working for the Precinct 1 constable’s office, where he was promoted to captain of the reserve division. He then worked for the Conroe Police Department for 10 years, where he served as the reserve unit commander sargent until he took the bench on May 1, 2014.

“I had been asked for almost 20 years to seek public office,” Mack said. “But for 20 years, the only office I was interested in serving in was justice of the peace because that’s the one position where you can literally make a different and help people every single day.”

As justice of the peace, Mack said he has presided over more than 30,000 criminal cases, 4,000 civil trials, performed more than 800 death inquests and officiated more than 300 weddings.

Mack said his favorite part of the job is working with juveniles and officiating weddings, while his least favorite is evicting families from their homes.

“It’s really sad, but as a judge, I’m not here to interpret the law; I’m here to apply the law,” Mack said. “And I apply the law fairly and with compassion.”

While he has been in office, he said the court’s criminal and civil caseloads continue to increase.

“In Texas, the Justice Court System isn’t the highest court in the land, but we are the highest-volume court,” he said. “The difference between district and justice courts is that they see hundreds of cases each year; we see thousands. So 90 percent of Texans that interact with the criminal justice system happens in a justice or municipal court.”

Mack said the one statistic that surprised him when he took office, even with a background in law enforcement, was the number of suicides that occur in Montgomery County.

“We’ve got to stop pretending that suicide doesn’t happen in our community,” Mack said. “The occurrence of suicides is a trend we’ve seen increase in our community—and some people argue that it’s because our population has increased—but in my opinion, if we as society accepts that as the norm—that’s wrong. One suicide in our community is too many.”

On the board for Montgomery County’s mental health court, Mack said he hopes to serve as an advocate to change how mental health is treated in Texas. The state ranks 48th nationwide in spending per capita on mental health, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

During his time in Montgomery County, Mack has also served on the boards of more than 15 nonprofits. He sits on the boards for New Danville, the Conroe New Lions Club and the Crisis Assistance Center.

“As a society, it takes a village, and the main part of a mentorship program is to be able to give hope to young people and say ‘Your circumstances don’t define your destiny; you do,’” he said. “Mentoring isn’t meant to replace parenting, it’s meant to complement it. Sometimes, young people need a hand up—not a handout, and mentors are able to do that.”

With a family motto of "Working every day to make a difference," Mack said he plans to continue striving for that sentiment whatever his role may be.

“I’ve spent my entire life in public service; there hasn’t been one night I’ve gone to bed not knowing that we’ve helped somebody and not one morning I woke up and couldn’t wait to get to work,” he said.


MOST RECENT

Montgomery County municipalities continue to receive increased sales tax allocations from the previous year as Texas recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jishnu Nair/Community Impact Newspaper)
Conroe receives over $6 million in November state sales tax allocations; Montgomery County cities show continual year over year growth

Montgomery County municipalities continue to receive increased sales tax allocations from the previous year as Texas recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

TxDOT will hold public meetings in December to discuss improvements to stretches of FM 1488 in Montgomery County. (Chandler France/Community Impact Newspaper)
TxDOT to hold public meetings to discuss FM 1488 improvements from I-45 to Mostyn Drive in early December

The meetings will be virtual with an in-person component, and the will discuss proposed improvements along FM 1488 from I-45 to Mostyn Drive in Montgomery County.

Commissioners on Nov. 22 voted to approve a density change to preliminary plans for The Preserve, a neighborhood that city documents said could include 565 single-family homes at the northeast corner of Teel and Panther Creek Parkways. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Neighborhood near PGA Frisco could see larger lots; ERCOT says Texas power grid ready for expected winter demand and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 24.

A health expert with Baylor College of Medicine provides advice to stay safe and healthy while celebrating Thanksgiving with family. (Karolina Grabowska/Pexels)
Baylor College of Medicine: Tips for staying safe and healthy this Thanksgiving as the pandemic continues

Check out some helpful advice from a medical expert on how to stay safe and healthy during Thanksgiving.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sits beside Samsung CEO Dr. Kinam Kim as he announces the company is brining a $17 billion facility to Taylor. (Screnshot via KXAN)
Samsung makes it official: Announcement from Governor's Mansion confirms $17B facility coming to Taylor

Nearly a year after Williamson County officials began pitching Samsung to bring a megafacility to the area, the electronics giant has made it official.

Bill Curci is a chief operating partner for Shuck Me, a seafood restaurant in Fort Worth. (Bailey Lewis/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI TEXAS ROUNDUP: Fort Worth restaurant Shuck Me is fishing- and family-centric; a guide to Houston's 2021 Thanksgiving Day Parade and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas in Texas as of Nov. 23.

PTSD Foundation of America seeks to reduce veteran suicides

An average of 17.2 veterans died by suicide daily in 2019—a 36% increase from 2001, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in September.

Hebrews Coffeehouse specializes in coffee flights, an assortment of four specialty coffees with flavors changed every two weeks. (Courtesy Hebrews Coffeehouse)
From coffee trailer to storefront: Meet the owners of Hebrews Coffeehouse on FM 1488

​​​​​​​“Once we had a coffeehouse and people were coming into that house-type environment and then you start to see relationships flourish, that’s what makes our hearts beat,” Geoff said. “Coffee was a catalyst for that.”

Texas Medical Center coronavirus update: ICU numbers drop almost 20%; new hospitalizations plateau

Heading into Thanksgiving, here is the status of COVID-19 in Texas Medical Center hospitals.

The Oak Ridge North City Council held a regular city council meeting Nov. 22. (Ally Bolender/Community Impact Newspaper)
Oak Ridge North to spend $45K redesigning water lines for Robinson Road project

With the project addition, the waterline will be redesigned and moved into the planned right-of-way lane to deter future roadway construction and make the line more accessible for repairs.

Read below to find out where to donate items or money to local organizations. (Photo courtesy Canva)
Where to donate for Thanksgiving this year in Houston

For those looking to give items or monetary donations for Thanksgiving this year, check out these organizations that help feed Houstonians on Thanksgiving.