County judge stepping down after 20 years of service
Montgomery County Judge Alan Sadler was not always the county's judge. Ready to retire when his sixth term is up on Jan. 1, 2015, Sadler first had interest in the job when he was appointed by Precinct 1 Commissioner Oliver Hance to study the county's efficiency in the 1980s.
"We had a great committee that really got involved in the county process," Sadler said. "I saw some inefficiencies and some ways that things could be done better, and I thought, 'I can just do it myself.'"
And that's exactly what Sadler did. The Conroe High School graduate was elected to his first term as Montgomery County judge in 1990, and he has spent the last 23 years addressing the county's needs.
"It has been one of the most meaningful experiences I've ever had, aside from my family," he said. "It's been a great ride."
Sadler listed the county's library system and the Montgomery County Fairgrounds among his greatest achievements. He said he helped ensure the passage of several bond referendums, which funded the construction of five libraries, and helped spearhead the creation of the Lone Star Convention & Expo Center at the fairgrounds.
"We brought [the fairgrounds] up to where a county of this size and stature should be," Sadler said.
In addition to his accomplishments as county judge, Sadler has served on the Boy Scouts of America Sam Houston Council, the United Way of Montgomery County, the Montgomery County Central Appraisal District, the Conroe Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and the Montgomery County Juvenile Board. He was a chancellor advisory board member of Lone Star College and the founding president of the Commercial Real Estate Association of Montgomery County.
Sadler was also the recipient of Texas Department of Transportation's Texas Road Hand award, North Houston Association's North Star award and Rotary International's Paul Harris Fellow.
However, Sadler said his greatest achievement as county judge has been facing the constant challenge of balancing the budget, weighing the cost analysis of various transportation projects, the safety of the county and other amenities with the residents' property tax rate.
"My proudest time as county judge is making those cost benefit decisions,"he said.
While Sadler, 64, still possesses passion for serving, he wants to travel with his wife and spend more time with his four children. He said he may consider banking or real estate part time.
"I wanted to go out pretty much on top," Sadler said. "I didn't want to be one of those officials [who] drags out of there at age 80. Could I serve again? Of course I could. But I think we need some new blood, and I'm totally in support of that."
Sadler said choosing the next county judge will be an important decision for voters, and he wants there to be some continuity. He expressed excitement for the two announced candidates, Precinct 2 Commissioner Craig Doyal and Sadler's Chief of Staff Doris Golemon.
"[Serving as county judge is] a question of good judgment; it's a question of efficiency, of keeping the tax rate down, if not lower, and keeping on top of things," Sadler said. "It's not about some macro decisions, it's about the micro decisions of doing the right thing every day."