Commissioners Court Singles Out Judge Lacy for More Restrictive Interpretation of Policy

constitution_banOn Monday, the Commissioners Court voted to ban from Judge Lacy’s office any materials that expressed any political point of view.

Tom Whitten, Precinct 2 Commissioner, in response to Emily Sabo’s complaint during the public comments period of the previous Court that Judge Lacy had a magazine from a “socialist” organization in his office, introduced the following agenda item:

Discuss and take possible action allowing employees and elected officials to display materials/magazines/documents and other items expressing a political activity or point of view.

The magazine in question is The New American, a publication of the John Birch Society. As Whitten read their mission statement, it was obvious that the magazine advocates the opposite of socialism, but Whitten insisted that materials of this sort be removed from Judge Lacy’s office, stating that it violates county guidelines.

The relevant portion of the Bowie County personnel policy reads:

Bowie County employees, with the exception of elected officials, are not allowed to participate in political activities while on duty working for Bowie County. No Bowie County property such as equipment, buildings or vehicles can be used to display campaign materials and may not be used for any other political activity.

According to county legal advisor Carol Dalby, she and her boss District Attorney Jerry Rochelle discussed and agree that publications such as The New American are prohibited under the policy. Ironically, while neither the John Birch Society nor The New American have ever endorsed a political candidate, it would seem their interpretation would ban the Texarkana Gazette, as well as any other publication that endorses a candidate or displays their advertisements. (At my last visit, the table in Lacy’s waiting area held copies of the Texarkana Gazette, as well as several other local, regional, and national publications.)

Whitten asked for a roll-call vote, stating that a “no” vote would be in direct contradiction with the county legal advisor and the District Attorney. Lacy said that a “yes” vote agrees with their interpretation, and that a “no” vote stands by the personnel policy as it reads. County legal advisor Carol Dalby stated that “Mr. Rochelle and I both have determined that it would be a violation of the county policy,” to which Judge Lacy responded, “It’s not the first time they’ve been in error.”

Precinct 4 Commissioner Mike Carter remarked that the county had more important things to consider than a vendetta against the county judge, which prompted applause from the audience.

It is relevant to note that, although the agenda item addressed “employees and elected officials,” according to Whitten’s motion, which he read from his notes, only the offending material in the county judge’s office is to be “immediately and permanently removed.”

Lacy noted that almost every publication the county receives “deals with political activity…. Politics is the science and art of governing.”

Judge Lacy finished with this statement:

“The Constitution is laying there that people can pick up and carry off, a copy of the Constitution. If that’s not political activity… it’s a formation of a particular form of government opposing all others. The Declaration of Independence is there also. And the biggest item out there for people to read from while they are waiting to see me is a Bible. And our founding fathers quoted John Locke, a British theologian, so much, there are so many phrases in the Declaration of Independence from him and in his two treatises on civil government, he quoted and cited the scriptures 1,509 times. If you are saying [the motion] has anything to do with the science and art of governing civil government… I don’t know if I have anything out there that wouldn’t fall under that definition.”

Judge Lacy and Commissioner Carter voted “no,” and Commissioners Stone, Whitten, and Blackburn voted “yes.”

Transcript (PDF)



0 thoughts on “Commissioners Court Singles Out Judge Lacy for More Restrictive Interpretation of Policy

  1. Stupidity reigns supreme in the Bowie County commissioners court. We have three mentally challenged County Commissioners from precincts 1,2, and 3 and they are getting worse, not better.

  2. I have personally seen Sammy Stone have a political sign supporting former Judge Carlow on the fence around the #1 Precinct Barn of Bowie County. What a hypocrite.

  3. Even the Gazette is on Judge Lacy’s side on this issue. These three County Commissioners are so blinded by their hatred of Judge Lacy, they can’t see straight. It would be so funny if they weren’t in such important positions. We can’t get these three replaced soon enough.

  4. If judge lacy wants to read this magazine, that is his business. I do not believe he should be allowed to have it setting out for people to pick up and take. I think we have more important things we need to be focusing on but as always the real issues get lost. The county is in a major financial crisis and we are worried about the county judge giving out a political magazine… REALLY??? No one on that court wants to face the problems. I’m tired of the finger pointing. It is time for REAL SOLUTIONS. This goes for both sides they are both guilty as heck of it. If you do not have REAL solutions and are not willing to work with the others get out of the way!

  5. Actually, I agree with most of what you said. Just remember, there are three county commissioners that have voted as a block on almost everything. Even if Judge Lacy tried to do something good he’s blocked by their three votes that make a majority. So, the County’s problems are totally on them, not Judge Lacy and Mike Carter the new commissioner. I will be working extremely hard as I did for Mr. Carter to get one of the two Commisssioners that will be up for election in two years to be defeated at that time. Then, maybe we can get some good results for Bowie County.
    On a related subject: How did former Judge Carlow get from being a relatively poor dairy farmer 28 years ago when he first got elected as County Judge to a multi-millioniare many times over with numerous property and business interests in and around Bowie County? We know he broke the law as County Judge. Could he have used his power and influence as County Judge to enrich himself? It sure looks suspicious does it not. So far, no one wants to answer my questions. I think we need to keep Judge Lacy and get another commissioner that will work with him, not against him.

  6. As far as I can see judge lacy has offered no solutions only pointed fingers. Sorry if you disagree but that is how most of the average people see it. We are tired of the finger pointing. Judge lacy, nor the commissioners have offered solutions. I have yet to hear judge lacy say anything other than it’s Carlow’s fault. Well, just as you just pointed out Carlow had 4 commissioners sitting with him. I just want the blame game to stop and let’s hear solutions!

  7. The three remaining Carlow stooges have the votes. The ball is in their court. But they won’t do anything to fix the problem because they think Carlow will win this November. I hope they are wrong. I notice you don’t want to answer my questions about Carlow as well. Says a lot about the corruption and intimidation here in Bowie County from Carlow and his supporters doesn’t it?

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