Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Jeff Barton (D-Kyle) has announced Scott Cary as his nominee for the Precinct 5 Justice of the Peace seat in the Buda area.
The county had to fill the seat to accommodate the retirement of Judge Lamont Ramage as of Jan. 1. The Hays County Commissioners Court originally named former Texas Ranger Tommy Ratliff for the seat, but shifted Ratliff to sheriff after the death of Sheriff Allen Bridges on Dec. 6.
A 27-year veteran of the Austin Police Department (APD), Cary was selected from a field of applicants that were vetted by a citizens committee set up by Barton. The committee earlier this week released a short list of 10 names that was eventually whittled down to four.
“I wanted a transparent, professional, thorough process,” Barton said. “We got that. I hope this can serve as a model for how the county might deal with future appointments. By opening this to the public, we brought in more people, more skill sets, and more competition. The result was a terrific group of applicants, a highly talented set of finalists – and a final recommendation the public can have the utmost confidence in. Scott Cary is tested, qualified, and familiar with community. He’s been checked out in public and in private. I think he will make a great justice of the peace.”
Cary is expected to resign from the APD if the five-member court votes in favor of his nomination, which only requires a majority. Barton’s office has indicated that the court will defer to him on the matter.
Cary began his law enforcement career in 1982, working as a patrol officer in East Austin. Since then he has been promoted to Senior Sergeant, named officer of the year by APD three times, attended the FBI Academy, supervised the SWAT and Bomb Squad units of the APD and served as a detective on the notorious “Yogurt Shop Murders” case in 1991.
“I am very appreciative of this nomination and look forward to serving the citizens of Hays County,” Cary said. “I have had a very meaningful and fulfilling 27-year career at the Austin Police Department, which I believe, has prepared me for this new challenge. I pledge to work with the community, Commissioner’s Court, local law enforcement agencies and the Hays CISD to make and keep our precinct safe.”
Cary has deep roots in the eastern part of Hays County, having lived the Buda area for 23 years. His spouse of 32 years, Merry Cary, is a teacher at Buda Elementary School. His two daughters, Megan and Faith, are both graduates of Hays High School and Texas A&M University.