Victoria County seeks retired officers for constable opening

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

June 11, 2012 at 1:11 a.m.

Qualified, retired law enforcement officers can start applying today for the Victoria County Precinct 1 constable opening.

Victoria County Commissioners decided during their Monday meeting to start the process of filling the opening, with the end goal of appointing a new constable in July.

County Judge Don Pozzi presented two solutions for the problem: keep the position open or appoint someone.

Last week, commissioners met in closed session with attorneys to discuss legal issues surrounding their options for the constable position that was left vacant when former Precinct 1 Constable Richard Castillo accepted a nomination to fill a vacant justice of the peace position.

"We appointed Judge Castillo as Justice of the Peace Precinct 1; however, his name was still on the ballot and he did win that ballot position for Constable Precinct 1," Pozzi said.

Castillo rejected the Primary Election nomination last week so he can continue on as justice of the peace.

"We discussed the option of leaving it vacant, but we did not think that would be a very viable position," Pozzi said. "We also had the option of doing as we did when the vacancy was created for justice of the peace."

Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Janak said he agreed with the court's decision of the appointment.

"It's a great idea to handle it the same way we did with the justice of the peace," he said.

Applicants must live in precinct 1 and have previous law enforcement experience.

Constable responsibilities include serving as a witness to subpoenas, acting as bailiff, executing judgments and service of process.

They are involved in the overall effort to reduce the effects of crime in their communities, including in some cases the operation of truancy programs, according to the county's website.

Pozzi nominated himself, County Administrative Services Director Joyce Dean and Precinct 1 Commissioner Kenny Spann to a committee that will sort through applications, conduct interviews and bring a recommendation to the court July 9.

Elections Administrator George Matthews said both political parties will have an opportunity to nominate someone for the justice of the peace election, but only the Democratic Party will have a candidate for constable.

"Republican will not because they did not have a candidate in the primary election," Matthews said.

There can still be write-ins for the November election, he said.

Democratic Party Chairwoman Kelli Gill said the county executive committee, which includes all the precinct chairmen and women, will make a decision in late July or early August on the constable nomination for the November election.

She said she expects Castillo to begin petitioning the committee for the party's justice of the peace nomination.

"That very likely will go forward," she said. "Judge Castillo has been an active Democratic member within the party over the years. He is someone who is very well respected."

She said the November election should be less confusing to voters than the Primary election.

"Whoever ends up being the nominee for justice of the peace or constable will be on the November ballot," she said. "It's not going to be one of those situations where we have one running and can't accept it."

Republican Party Chairman Michael Cloud said the party will look for someone to run in the November justice of the peace race.

That nomination will come sometime after the July 31 run-off, when the new executive committee will be elected.



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