Erath County’s Precinct 2 constable position will remain vacant — at least for now.
During a meeting of the Commissioners Court Wednesday, commissioners voted unanimously (4-0) to have the Erath County Sheriff’s Office along with Constable Jason Schipper and the office of Justice of the Peace Bart Greenway share the duties.
Schipper is Erath County’s constable for precincts 1, 3 and 4.
That status will remain in place only through the next election cycle. A vote for a new Precinct 2 constable will be on the ballot in 2020, with the winner taking office on Jan. 1, 2021.
However, it was noted that commissioners could choose to appoint someone to the constable position before that if the situation warrants.
The position became vacant on Feb. 28, when Lee Roy Gaitan resigned. Gaitan had held the Precinct 2 constable job for the past 14 years.
County Judge Alfonso Campos said that in such cases, the statute in Texas law governing constables leaves that up to the county. In cases such as having a vacancy for sheriff, that position must be filled through an appointment until the next election.
“Everybody’s committed to doing it,” Campos said. “The sheriff’s office is committed to helping us with this.”
The duties of a constable includes serving legal papers for evictions, small claims, debt claims and even child support notices, plus security in the county courts.
Campos said that much of what Greenway will be handling will be informational calls rather than serving papers or providing courtroom security.
“We will be doing the necessary things to get the court through this time period,” Campos said.
Greenway said, “Sheriff Coates and I work well together.”
Erath County IT Director Colby Reynolds hooked into a live video presentation for a company offering a program called CivicPlus, which offers website managing services. McLennan County is using that program, and Wise County is about to begin using it, Reynolds noted.
The company would handle the web hosting and maintenance. The county website would then offer archive search capability using either date-sensitive or word-sensitive keywords, for both employees and the public.
The changes will also make certain that the county website is fully compliant with federal regulations, such as providing access to visually impaired users using verbal communication to enhance the text.
No decision was made on CivicPlus.
“We’re still going to be evaluating that,” Campos said. “We want to make sure we make a good decision there. We have some options.”
Campos said there is no strict time frame on making a decision, and other options will be considered.