Victoria County’s top-ranking administrator was arrested Wednesday afternoon by the Victoria County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff T. Michael O’Connor confirmed the arrest of Joyce Dean, 57, the appointed director of administrative services for Victoria County.

She was charged with theft by a public servant more than $100, a Class B misdemeanor, according to documents released Thursday morning.

Dean could not be reached for comment Wednesday night.

No additional details about her arrest were available Wednesday evening. The sheriff said more details would be released Thursday.

When reached by phone for comment, commissioners Danny Garcia and Gary Burns, U.S. Marshal office spokesman Max A. Hernandez and District Attorney Stephen Tyler all said they knew nothing about the arrest.

Judge Ben Zeller, Justice of the Peace Robert Whitaker and Justice of the Peace Stewart Posey did not return calls for comment.

Former County Judge, Don Pozzi, who worked with Dean for 12 years, said he was, “shocked, surprised, and sorry” to hear about her arrest.

Dean was arrested on the 24th anniversary of her hiring as the county’s benefit manager on Dec. 19, 1994. Former County Judge Helen Walker, who originally hired her, previously told the Advocate that Dean was chosen for the position because of her work experience, enthusiasm and knowledge of labor laws.

A graduate of St. Joseph’s High School and Victoria College, Dean worked as the director of employment services for Golden Crescent Regional Planning Commission before starting a long career with the county. Her boss at the commission, Pat Kennedy, said then he thought Dean would do very well for the county when Walker hired her in 1994.

Dean’s handling of her position has come under question before.

Last year, a family law attorney accused Dean of abusing her power to influence the district attorney to make an unconstitutional arrest of one of the attorney’s clients, but retired Judge Skipper Koetter found the attorney’s evidence for the allegation to be insufficient, according to a March 2017 article in the Advocate.

Kali Venable is a public safety reporter for the Victoria Advocate. She can be reached at 361-580-6558 or at kvenable@vicad.com.

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Investigative & Environmental Reporter

"I am a Houston native and 5th generation Texan, with a degree in journalism and minor in creative writing from the University of Texas at Austin. I care deeply about public interests and the community I serve.”

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