County Judge formally resigns

Published 9:29 am Wednesday, April 18, 2018

By Ginger Broomes

The Orange Leader

Judge Stephen Brint Carlton formally announced his resignation at the meeting, a formality to follow up to the resignation letter he submitted on Friday. Commissioners Court acknowledged and accepted the resignation, however, Carlton will continue to act as Judge until an interim replacement is assigned. The interim would replace Carlton until December 31, 2018, when the newly-elected county judge will take office on January 1, 2019. The decision to assign an interim was tabled until next Tuesday, when it could be discussed among the commissioners under closed session.

Carlton will technically remain in his position with all legal responsibilities until a successor is appointed, per legal counsel present at the meeting.

Environmental Health and Code Department Director Joel Ardoin was named the Emergency Management Coordinator and was remain head of the Environmental Health and Code Department.

A proclamation was approved naming April National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Nikki Vicknair, volunteer coordinator for C.A.S.A., addressed the court.

“When a child is placed in the foster care system, due to abuse or neglect, they are often removed from their home and placed in state care. Sometimes far away from their family, loved ones and community. C.A.S.A. volunteers are court-appointed special advocates, are everyday people just like in this room, from all walks of life, who are specially trained to advocate for those children and provide a consistent, reliable adult presence for them during a difficult time in their life,” Vicknair said. “We at C.A.S.A. always hope for the day when CASA and a national month dedicated to child abuse prevention are no longer needed because all the children have the safe, loving home they deserve.”

“There is no greater service than the protection of our children,” Commissioner Johnny Trahan said after the proclamation was read.

A proclamation was then presented to the court for April to be designated also as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Julie Fregia and Cheryl Williams with the Rape and Suicide Crisis Center of S. E. Texas shared the reasons why the designation was so important and, like the C.A.S.A. representative before her, hoped for a day when such a designation would no longer be needed.

“We serve the southeast Texas area so that individuals can move on their lives,” Williams said. “All services are free.”

Carlton then read the proclamation and it was approved by the court.

“Thank you for what you guys do,” Carlton said. “As with C.A.S.A., it’s something that we wish we didn’t have to have these types of proclamations and services available, but it’s very, very important, so thank you.”

The FEMA Disaster Recovery Center will continue to operate at the Orange County Expo Center until at least May 26, pending another discussion about extending the lease which would take place on May 22. Per Michelle Tubbleville with Emergency Management, the center had seen approximately 134 people within a six-day time period, and was now open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.