Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

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June 30, 2014

County likely won’t fill JP vacancy

Corsicana — The Navarro County Commissioners Court isn’t expected to fill a vacancy in the Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Court before the November election.

That was the consensus of the court Monday after Pct. 4 JP Connie Hickman briefed commissioners on tentative plans to cover the vacancy with oversight from the existing three Justices of the Peace — Hickman, Vicki Gray and Jackie Freeland.

Hill submitted a letter of retirement to county officials June 19. He said he was going to go into business operating a livestock sale barn in Paris, Texas.

“Cases will still be filed in his court,” explained Hickman. “We’ll be hearing his court cases and split up his ‘call’ times.” JPs typically rotate a week of service each as the “on call” JP to for filing of cases, inquests and after-hours calls.

Hickman said with the short amount of time until the November vote, handling the vacancy without also trying to train a new individual would be more efficient for the county and for the court itself.

“Then, when someone is elected in November, we’d like them to be appointed the day after rather than Jan. 1 so we can start working with them and getting them up to speed,” she said.

Hill was unopposed in a re-election bid in the March 2014 Primary Election for another four-year term as the Precinct 2 JP. He was first elected in 2006.

The vacancy will now appear on the November General Election ballot. The county’s local Democratic and Republican parties can submit a candidate’s name for that ballot.

Commissioners voted to accept Hill’s resignation letter Monday, but did not vote on Hickman’s suggested plan to handle the court’s operation because it was not an agenda item.

The JPs can legally “cover” each other’s courts as needed, Hickman said.

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