|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Stories Added - June 2010
Copyright 2010 - Polk County Publishing Company
Steps taken to replace DA’s name on ballot
First assistant to serve as interim DA
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – While many are speculating as to whom will fi ll the unexpired term of former San Jacinto County Criminal District Attorney Bill Burnett his staff is assuring everyone the offi ce is “operating fully functional and moving forward.” San Jacinto County First Assistant Criminal District Attorney Jonathan Petix said in a news release dated June 3, “There is a great void left at Bill Burnett’s offi ce, but everyone continues with his philosophy, integrity, loyalty, work ethic and most of all the pursuit to see that justice is done.” Burnett died unexpectedly early Tuesday morning, June 2, following a brief struggle with pancreatic cancer. He was buried Friday, June 4 in Coldspring. As fi rst assistant, Petix claims he acquired the duties of the criminal district attorney’s offi ce when Burnett died. Quoting Government Code 601.002, Petix said he is to perform the duties of Burnett’s unexpired term which ends Dec. 31, 2010, or until Texas Governor Rick Perry appoints a successor qualifi ed for the offi ce. “I’m holding the position at this point with all the powers and responsibilities of the criminal district attorney’s offi ce and will continue at the best of my ability until the powers that be decide different,” Petix said. Texas Government Code 601.002 reads, “(a) the fi rst assistant or chief deputy of a public offi ce in which a physical vacancy occurs shall conduct the affairs of the offi ce until a successor qualifi es for the offi ce; (b) the authority of a fi rst assistant or chief deputy to discharge the duties of an offi ce under Subsection (a) ceases when the successor to the offi ce qualifi es for the offi ce.” Since Burnett was running on the Democratic ballot unopposed for re-election in the upcoming November General Election, San Jacinto County Democratic County Chair Debra Turner said, “We are in the process of removing Mr. Burnett’s name as a candidate on the General Election ballot with the Secretary of State’s offi ce.” Section 145.035 of the Texas Election Code requires Burnett’s name to be omitted from the ballot because he died before the 74th day before the November election. “The next next step will be to call a meeting of the San Jacinto County Democratic County Executive Committee which will select the person to replace Burnett on the ballot,” said Turner. Section 145.036 provides that if a candidate’s name is to be omitted from the ballot, the political party’s county executive committee nominates a replacement candidate to fill the vacancy in the nomination. Turner said the executive committee members consist of the Democratic Precinct Chairs from each election precinct in the county as well as the Democratic Chair.