• 54°

Roccaforte sworn in as OC Commissioner Pct. 3

By Dawn Burleigh

The Orange Leader

 

Kirk Roccaforte was sworn in on Thursday as the new commissioner after being appointed on Tuesday. He will assume the position after the court approves his bond on Tuesday.

Roccaforte was sworn in by County Judge Carl Thibodeaux. 

“It is a privilege and an honor for him to ask me to do this,” Thibodeaux said Thursday evening. “We spent a lot of time together during hurricane recovery and I can honestly say, he is a true friend of mine.”

Roccaforte added Thibodeaux was an important person in his life and political career.

“The court is doing a great job,” Roccaforte said. “I am excited to get involved. I hope to fill the shoes of Gothia as he has done an exceptional job.”

While a new Orange County Judge has not been selected after the resignation of Interim County Judge Carl Thibodeaux, the court accepted the resignation of Commissioner Pct. 3 John Gothia. Thibodeaux, who remains acting judge, appointed Bridge City Councilman and former Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte as Interim Commissioner Pct. 3.

Thibodeaux spoke to the audience in attendance concerning the next steps in the process.

“According to an Attorney General Opinion in the 60s, we will serve in our positions until we have been replaced,” Thibodeaux said. “We will go ahead and abide by it and be here until the end. We are not going anywhere right now and will continue to conduct county business.”

The next step after the appointment is for the court to accept the bond of the appointee and then for the individual to be sworn in.

“I will be here until my replacement is finalized legally,” Thibodeaux said.

Commissioner Johnny Trahan thanked Thibodeaux for his service.

“Thank you for giving us time,” Trahan said. “Years ago, I gave you a plaque for your years of service not knowing you were coming back.”

Congressman Brian Babin representative Lanie Brown presented Thibodeaux with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for his 20 years of service as County Judge and his recent exit from retirement to serve again.

Roccaforte thanked the judge for appointing him.

County Commissioner Pct. 2 was not present during the Wednesday morning meeting.

Not everyone was happy with the resignation of Thibodeaux and Gothia.

“I think the Texas Rangers need to come in and find out why we are swapping out judges,” Robert Rothrock said during citizen comments. “We are swapping out judges three times in one year.”

“Mr. Rock only in America is Freedom of Speech and you got it,” Ernest Bayard, of Vidor, said.

Bayard, after asking for guidance on who to speak with to get the parking lot at the Vidor pool repaired, announced he will seek the County Judge position in the 2020 election.

Thibodeaux said he would miss serving but was also looking forward to retirement.

“We have a solid court here,” Thibodeaux said. “There have been harsh words said over the last three months, six months, and it needs to go away.”