1. What are the duties of county judge?
In Texas, the county judge is both presiding officer of the commissioners court (Tex. Const. Art. V, Sec. 18) and judge of the county court (Tex. Const. Art. V, Sec. 15). As such, the judge is often thought of as the chief executive officer of the county. The duties of the county judge vary depending on the population of the county. In most rural counties, the judge has broad judicial responsibilities and is often the principal source of information and assistance. The judge's duties as part of the commissioners court are detailed in the section on the court. It is incumbent upon the judge, as presiding officer of the commissioners court, to carefully abide by statutes requiring that meetings of governmental bodies be open to the public. Additional specific statutory charges are enumerated in the following: elections, finance, bonds and sureties, court operations, mental health, special districts, and general administration.
In plain English the County Judge takes care of the business of the county, provides leadership and vision to conduct business for the citizens in Erath County. A complete list of duties is provided at:
2. What are the most pressing challenges currently facing Erath County?
“ road conditions”- Dale Dove Feb 9, 2016 Stephenville – Empire Tribune
“current condition of our infrastructure.” – Mark Mcclinton April 17, 2017 Stephenville -Empire Tribune
“identity and vision. “ Shelby Slawson Oct 19, 2017 Stephenville – Empire Tribune
“streets and sewer system are in need” Carla Trussell April 23, 2016 Stephenville – Empire Tribune
“growth of the county is the most pressing” Joe Brown Feb 9, 2016 Stephenville – Empire Tribune
“dealing with the jail… major issues with the roads…. too many roads unpaved… truck traffic has increased at least threefold on roads not designed for that type of traffic… don’t believe our fire and rescue services are where they should be…” Jeff Bush, Feb 18, 2008 – Stephenville Empire Tribune
The Univ. of N. Carolina, http://www.ncacc.org/DocumentCenter/View/458,
identified challenges facing counties:
Creating Sustainable Economies, Communities, and Environments
Adapting to the Changing Face of citizens
Providing and Paying for Public Services
Administering Responsive and Responsible County Government
I am willing to ask the citizens and employees of Erath county for their opinions, ideas and suggestions for addressing the challenges and prioritizing the needs in Erath County. Visit my web page at www.jackbragg.com or my FaceBook page at: JackBragg4erathcountyjudge.
3. You are faced with a need to cut expenses. What adjustments do you feel could make the greatest difference (cost savings) for the county?
Administrators have used a variety of techniques, common is delayed facility or infrastructure maintenance, service cutbacks, purchasing, travel restrictions, furloughs, equipment cutbacks, retirement incentives etc.
Fee increases, tax increases, leasing government assets, asset sales can be used as revenue-enhancing techniques.
Methodology’s for budget reduction commonly used are Zero based budgeting, Backward mapping and the famous 1991 Texas Performance Review (TPR) . I preferred the TPR because it looked for recurring savings and concentrated on saving costs while improving services to the citizens. Look to do better rather than looking for how to simply cut, is a cardinal rule in TPR. Like Backward Mapping a core belief in TPR or (re-inventing government) is a belief “the workers know best”. Ask your personnel how to improve and ask them which programs should be terminated.
It’s common to cut in the departments where the money is, Sherriff’s Office- Administration, 2,655,575,03, Sherriff’s Office-County Jail, 1,848,905.14, Commissioner=Precinct #1, 1,096,592.92, etc. but in reality I would prefer to start looking in the non-departmental area, 3,267,297.63 because those are expenses that may not reflect in any departments budget. If savings can be made here, phones, computers, personnel, procurement, utility cost will extend across all department’s budgets.
4. What is your stance on economic development? How do you feel Erath County can best attract such growth?
I read articles regarding the Stephenville Economic Development Authority (SEDA) that was formed in 2015. It is apparent it is a subject which requires caution, community input and rigorous vetting before implementation. Growth and economic development can have many benefits or externalities, some obvious and some unseen or unknown. My experience tells me the real issues here are; how do you spend public dollars and how does zoning affect the public good. My stance is do your homework well, seek consensus from the community and then do the right thing.
In 2015, 47 manufacturing sites (31.60%), 79 health care and social assistance sites (13.36%) and 167 retail sites (11.63%) accounted for 56.59 % of Erath County annual payroll, http://www.txcip.org/tac/census/cbpco2tx.php?FIPS=48143. I would meet with every one of these 293 business and seek their input for improving the business environment in Erath County.
The 2012 Census of Agriculture reports 2,161 farms representing 607,550 acres of Erath County producing Crop Sales $18,473,000 (7%) and Livestock Sales $237,972,000 (93%) for a total market value of $256,445,000 sold.
Erath County is truly Cowboy Country; I would make sure decision making and input from the farm and ranch community is incorporated into public policy development.
5. What makes you the best candidate?
A life of protecting and serving. Forty-two years in policing the 9th largest city in America. Competitive promotion through every rank to Captain in the command staff.
BS - Criminal Justice (1981) , MA - Criminal Justice (1986), 51 Hours Post Graduate study Urban Affairs and Public Administration, at University of Texas - Arlington, PhD work, Cost Benefit Analysis, Health Policy, Environmental Management, Organizational Theory, Intermediate Data Analysis, Urban Pubic Finance, Urban Economy, Data Analysis, Urban Political Systems, Urban Geography, Theory of Urban Society, Public Organization Change and Urban Bureaucracy.
Southwestern Legal Foundation Police Supervision, Command/Management School, Caruth Institute Executive Leadership. Completed Module I & II, Bill Blackwood.
Captain - commander/executive officer in Patrol, Vice, Narcotics, Inspections/Accountability, Traffic, Special Projects, Detention Services, Crime Scene, Property Crimes, Pound, Communications, Special Projects SWAT, Dive Team. When I retired I supervised, Records, Legal, Auto Pound, Environmental Management and the Dive Team.
Moved to Erath County for quality of life. My wife of 42 years, children and grandchildren love it. Always involved in my community, church, scouting, hunter education instructor, concealed handgun instructor, church, Dallas Arms Collectors, NRA, Masonic lodges and more.
Given the opportunity I will do you an outstanding job!