|Trinity Standard - Local News
Copyright 2012 - Polk County Publishing Company
Huffman named to Pct. 3 constable’s post
Trinity Standard -
GROVETON – Despite concerns voiced regarding favoring one political candidate over another, Hayne Huffman was appointed to the Precinct 3 constable’s post on Monday. During the meeting of Trinity County commissioners in Groveton, Huffman’s appointment was approved by a 3-2 vote. Pct. 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham and County Judge Doug Page voted “no.” Huffman was formally sworn into the office by Page on Monday afternoon. Commissioners began the discussion on the appointment by formally declaring the constable’s office to be vacant, due to the May death of longtime Constable James O. Reynolds, 91. Reynolds did not seek re-election this year and as a result of the June primary elections, two of his deputy constables will be battling for the job in the November general election. Huffman was the nominee of the Democratic Party while Carl Casey won the Republican Party nomination for the post. During Monday’s meeting, Pct. 3 Commissioner Cecil Webb nominated Huffman to fill the vacancy for the next five months until the Nov. 6 election. “When Mr. Reynolds starting getting sick this last time, he told that if he didn’t live to the end of his term, he wanted Hayne Huffman to replace him,” Webb said, adding that he had promised the constable he would make the appointment recommendation. The commissioner said Reynolds praised all of his deputies but said his years of working with Huffman on he Trinity Volunteer Fire Department (TVFD) lead him to make the request. Reynolds was retired TVFD firefighter and Huffman has served as the TVFD fire chief for a number of years. Pct. 1 Commissioner Grover “Tiger” Worsham indicated he felt Huffman would do a good job but said he could not support his appointment at this time. Noting that Huffman was a candidate in the upcoming election, Worsham said the appointment would tend to give him an advantage over his opponent. “I could not support either candidate for this appointment,” Worsham said, indicating the decision between the two should be left up to the voters. Pct. 2 Commissioner Rich Chamberlin agreed and suggested that the post be left vacant until the election is completed. It was noted the four deputy constables could continue to work as they are now and the department could be reorganized when the new constable is elected. “Somebody really needs to be in charge,” Webb noted. In the end, Chamberlin and Pct. 4 Commissioner Jimmy Brown agreed and voted to appoint Huffman. Sheriff’s requests rejected In other action, commissioners ended up rejecting two requests from Sheriff Ralph Montemayor but agreed to discuss both matters during their upcoming budget hearings. Montemayor had asked that he be allowed to use money from his seizure fund to continue to pay two deputies an extra $50 per month. He explained that under the county’s certificate pay program, deputies who obtain higher and higher law enforcement officer certifications receive added pay. The program is designed to encourage officers to continue their education. He noted that the current policy does not allow added pay for a Basic Certificate and the two deputies in question had erroneously been given an added $50, When County Auditor Sheila Johnson discovered the error, the extra pay was stopped. “I’d like to continue paying them the extra $50 out of my seized funds account for the rest of this budget year,” the sheriff said, addition he planned to talk to commissioners during the budget hearing about permanently adding the $50 for a Basic Certification to the county’s policy manual. The second request was to allow the county’s part-time mental health deputy to receive a uniform allowance. Montemayor said that while the officer is required to wear a county uniform, because he is only part-time, he receives no county allowance. While commissioners took no action on either request, they indicated both matters would require a change in county policy and agreed to discuss both items during budget talks that begin next month. Other business During the meeting, commissioners also: • Voted to close a 560-foot section of Rustling Wind Street in Precinct 1. The action came after a brief public hearing in which no member of the public appeared to speak. • Approved a oil and gas lease agreement with XTO Energy for 10.40 acres of county-owned land located of the southern end of Reese Road. • Approved a $663.83 tax refund to Jasper Lee based on the recommendation of the Trinity County Tax Appraisal District. • Received a report from Nancy Smith of the Texas Department of Transportation on the county’s bridge inspections, load postings and off-system bridge replacement program. Smith said there were no immediate issues with any of the county’s bridges but she did provide a report on suggested upgrades and maintenance for the structures. She noted the only bridge currently eligible for TxDOT’s off-system program is the Port Drive bridge leading into the Port Adventure Subdivision. Under the program, the state would replace the existing structure with a concrete and steel span like those used on farm-to-market highways. • Voted to end the county’s 9-1-1 rural addressing program contract with Bednar Enterprises effective Sept. 30. Page told commissioners the program could be handled in-house and that the Deep East Texas Council of Governments would provide the needed equipment and training. • Received a report on the Government Works Program from Chamberlin. Under the program, seniors from Trinity, Groveton and Apple Springs high schools made visits to the courthouse to learn about county government during March and May. Chamberlin said they received a lot of input from the students and will use the information to improve the program next year.