San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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December 11th, 2008
Commissioners Court to appoint Sheriff in the near future

While the Hays community is still recovering from the loss of Sheriff Allen Bridges, questions about who will fill his shoes have been on the minds of many.The final decision falls into the hands of the Hays County Commissioners Court.

County Judge Liz Sumter said the Court does not have the option to call for a special election, but instead has the obligation to appoint someone to carry out the remainder of the two-year term.

“It is likely that we have to appoint twice,” Sumter said. “Once to finish the term out that the Sheriff was holding and that ends Dec. 31, and then the new term that starts Jan. 1, 2009. The court, though, only appoints until the next general election which is in 2010.”

By law, the Chief Deputy Sheriff automatically assumes the Sheriff’s position until initial action is taken by the Court.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton said he was inundated with phone calls and e-mails from members of the community who were concerned about who the new Sheriff would be. He said many of them offered him advice about who would make an appropriate Sheriff.

“First we’re going to spend some time mourning,” Barton said. “People have argued to me that Sheriff Bridges was a Republican and he should be replaced by a Republican. Others have argued to me that there were two people in the race and one of them has been taken from us and it should automatically go to Bill Huddleston, who had the gumption to run for Sheriff and got a lot of votes.”

Barton said while these were two of several considerations, there is also the idea of appointing a “caretaker” who will carry out the rest of the two-year term and agree not to run for re-election. He said his own preference is to bring someone in who will provide long-term stability.

“But I do recognize that there is a competing school of thought, that I respect, that instead we should just maximize stability in this time of trauma and take somebody who would just be in this caretaker role, maybe somebody from within the department who would agree not to run on their own right, but just manage the department until 2010,” he said.

“There are a lot of people I want to reach out to for advice before I make a decision.”

The caretaker role is something Precinct 3 Commissioner Will Conley has in mind as well. He suggested Chief Deputy Sherman Broadbeck to be appointed as an Independent, agree not to run for re-election and fill the remainder of the two-year term. He said that was the best solution for the Sheriff’s office and for their constituents while the political process worked itself out.

“I think it is politically fair,” Conley said. “The last thing we need right now is more turmoil and people upside down at the Sheriff’s office. We are all shocked by the loss of our Sheriff and we’re still trying to get on our feet.”

Conley said by appointing Broadbeck to the position, both parties would have more time to look for a candidate to run for election in 2010.

“It gives each party a seat at the 50-yard-line, if you will, and an equal opportunity to take the Sheriff’s position back and officially start 2011,” he said.

Whatever the Court’s final decision may be, it is being put on hold out of respect for Bridges family and friends.

“We certainly will take decisive action fairly quickly,” Sumter said. “But right now we’re really focusing on supporting the family.”

by Rasmi Hunt
Correspondent

Photo by Andy Sevilla

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0 thoughts on “Commissioners Court to appoint Sheriff in the near future

  1. In my opinion, it sure wouldn’t be very “fair” to ignore the approximately 26,000 votes Bill Huddleston received just to hand the job over to a so-called “neutral” individual who according to public records (1) consistently votes in the Republican Party primaries year after year and; (2) received ZERO votes from the People in either a primary or general election.

    Doesnt’ sound too “neutral” politically to me. Sounds like a Republican party member consistently voting in the Republican party primaries.

    I would caution the Democrat Commissioners about any promises made to them if delivered by any of the old Hays County Republican party leadership–not due to any lack of veracity, but to what I would describe as an extremely poor memory.

    Some of those leaders proved to have such a memory problem during the last primary election they even forget to post the lawfully required precinct convention location notices. In fact, they forget to post them at my precinct location despite being reminded to do so approximately seven separate occasions.

    Be that as it may, if you are making a decision on political promises please keep in mind–Politicians are humans too. And human memory often fails as time passes by.

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  3. Our County has lost an amazing Man,Sheriff, Husband,Father,Grand Father and Friend. Even before the funeral was held, the politics of finding another Sheriff were underway.

    The voters of Hays County came to the polls and elected Sheriff Bridges. They did not want Bill Huddleston. Now, people are calling every Commissioner and the County Judge asking to have Bill Huddleston put in as Sheriff. The voters voted and did not want him and NO he should not get the office by default either.

    Now the heads are close together, the whispering is non stop. There is rumor that Tommy Ratliff is the County Judges idea for the replacement. Isn’t Tommy Ratliff going to fill the shoes of the retiring JP in Buda? Why didn’t he apply at the Sheriff’s office if he wanted to continue with Law Enforcement? What is the reasoning behind the County Judge for the replacement to be Tommy Ratliff?

    The Sheriff’s Office has had a few years of stability since the resignation of the Reign of Don Montague. The turnover rate has lowered also. The Sheriff’s Office also had the resignation of Sam Williams, which also lifted the spirits of the Law Enforcement employees.

    So, why try to fix something that isn’t broken? Let Chief Sherman Brodbeck continue with the leadership, goals and future plans that Sheriff Bridges wanted. The employees have lost a great man and why add to their hurt and concern with replacing the leadership with someone that is not in tune with goals of Sheriff Bridges.

    This office should not be filled because someone is a Democrat or Republican. The office should not be filled because of political favors later on or now.

    The office should be filled by Chief Sherman Brodbeck to continue Sheriff’s dream. I like the comment that Will Conley made, that in two years, it is a fair and even playing field with those who want to TRY to fill Sheriff Bridges shoes for the election.

    Please let the employees at the Sheriff’s Office keep the stability that it was given under the leadership of Sheriff Bridges and Chief Brodbeck. Let the employees grieve and not fear for their jobs under a new leadership at this time.

    Remeber, the voters of Hays County elected Sheriff Alan Bridges not Bill Huddelston. It should be that simple.

  4. 26,000 Hays County voters voted to elect Bill Huddleston. Allen Bridges was elected by a 5% margin. So please let’s not minimize the votes of a large number of Hays County voters. That is disrespecting a great number of people who showed their support and belief in Bill Huddleston.

    As far as deputies fearing for their jobs. That is not a real issue. It is spin, as is much of what is being said about the process of appointing a successor. Voters recognize spin and they do not forget in two years.

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