FORT BEND COUNTY, TX-An election was held at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Tuesday that asked voters if they were “for” or “against” the creation of a Sheriff’s Department Civil Service System.
The election was open to all Sheriff’s Office employees and was conducted by the Fort Bend County Elections Administration. As reported Tuesday evening by John Oldham, the County’s Elections Administrator, the proposition passed by a count of 565 “for”, and 5 “against”. Interest in the election was high with nearly 79% of the Sheriff’s Office employees casting a vote.
Kent Edwards, the County’s Human Resource Director, explains that the election was actually the second step in the formation of a Civil Service Commission at the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office. “The whole process is governed by the Texas Local Government Code Chapter 158, Sub-chapter B,” he said.
The statute starts with the requirement that a petition is signed by at least 20 percent of the Sheriff’s Office employees and presented to the County Judge. That petition was delivered to Fort Bend County Judge Bob Hebert’s office on September 1st, and was processed and validated by Fort Bend County Elections Administration which reported that 71.9% of the 718 employees signed the petition requesting an election. Judge Hebert issued that order on September 13th, and Tuesday, October 11th was selected as election day.
What happens next? Mr. Edwards explains, “Now that the election has been held and the proposition passed, a three-member Civil Service Commission is formed as directed by the statute. The Sheriff, Commissioner’s Court, and the District Attorney will each appoint one person to serve on the Civil Service Commission. Although the statute specifies no deadline for those appointments to be made, I’m expecting that those names will be announced shortly,” stated Edwards.
To be eligible for appointment, a person must be 1) at least 25 years of age, and 2) a resident of Fort Bend County for the last three years. The Sheriff will designate one of the members as Chairman of the Commission. Each member is appointed for two years, and the initial members draw lots to see which two of them will serve two year terms initially, and which member will initially serve just one year.
“Once the Commissioners are appointed, then the work begins,” said Mr. Edwards. “They’re responsible for coming up with a set of rules and regulations that will govern their Commission and its activities.”