The Orange Leader
Orange County commissioners voted Tuesday to begin a immediate search for a new civil attorney and a legal secretary in the wake of last week's general election, which saw current assistant county attorney Mandy White-Rogers win the race for County Court-at-Law judge.
Newly-elected officials usually take over their jobs on Jan. 1. However, assistant county attorney Douglas Manning said White-Rogers will take her seat on the bench as soon as the election is certified and she is qualified for the position because she is filing the unexpired term of Judge Pat Clark, who was appointed to the post in 2011 and announced earlier this year that he would retire at the end of December.
Clark, a former judge of the 128th District Court, got the court-at-law seat because Judge Michael Shuff announced his retirement and stepped down just two months into his term in office.
White-Rogers handled civil cases for the District Attorney's Office, including all of the Child Protective Services cases, which by law have strict filing deadlines that must be met or the cases could be dismissed, Manning said.
“CPS cases are special. You can't ask for a continuance, except in very limited circumstances,” Manning said. “We have a couple of trials set for December, and we have CPS hearings all day every Thursday. I'm covering those right now, but we would like to start the search for a replacement as soon as possible.”
The good news, Manning said, is the county could save about $29,000 next year in payroll costs because the replacements will be at lower pay grades than White-Rogers and her secretary.
In other county business, the commissioners:
• Approved a resolution to open bank accounts for the Hurricane Ike 2.2 Recover Project, which will be funded by a $5.9 million community service grant from the Texas General Land Office.
• Authorized the payment of $291,033 in county bills, including a $21,652.83 contract payment to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and a $2,565 membership dues payment to the East Texas Regional Water Planning Group.
• Accepted a $19,840.59 reimbursement for road materials from the City of West Orange.
• Accepted a $282,218.37 direct deposit from the State Comptroller's Office representing the county's _-cent Sale and Use Tax allocation for September 2012.
• Certified the collection of $3,723,395 in taxes during October 2012.
• Granted permission for county offices to close from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 for Christmas luncheons. Precinct 4 commissioner Jody Crump was the lone vote against the proposal. He said, “I still can't support closing county offices for this purpose.”