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2012-07-26

City council accepts resignation from Holt

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The Bandera City Council met in regular session Thursday evening, July 19, and accepted the resignation of Municipal Judge Lynn Holt.

Holt had submitted a letter to the city announcing his retirement from the position the day before.

The letter stated: "Over the past few years my Justice of the Peace office has grown tremendously and now requires my full attention.

Therefore, effective immediately, I am retiring from the City of Bandera as the Municipal Court Judge."

After the council voted to accept Holt's resignation, Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Schumacher said the city would look to surrounding communities for qualified judges to act as interim judges.

The city will also advertise for applications to be submitted for the post.

At this time, the municipal judge position is a part-time position, which Schumacher said required about 20 hours a week.

According to Texas Courts Online, the Texas Legislature has created municipal courts in each of the incorporated cities of the State.

Municipal courts operate in more than 900 cities and towns.

Texas Government Code gives municipal courts original and exclusive jurisdiction over violations of city ordinances. Within the city limits, they have concurrent jurisdiction with justice of the peace courts over Class C misdemeanor criminal cases where the punishment upon conviction is by small fine only.

When city ordinances relating to fire safety, zoning, public health, or sanitation are violated, fines of up to $2,000 may be charged, when authorized by the governing body of the city, the code says.

When necessary, municipal judges may issue search or arrest warrants.

Municipal courts do not have jurisdiction in most civil cases, however they do have limited civil jurisdiction in cases which involve owners of dangerous dogs.

As a general rule, the Texas Government Code does not consider all municipal courts as "courts of record." In other words, in these courts, no written transcript of the proceedings is taken. If a court is not a court of record, as is the case in Bandera, there is no requirement that a municipal judge be an attorney.

In some of Texas' larger cities, the municipal judge must be a licensed attorney with at least two years experience in practicing Texas law if the municipal court is a court of record.

In other business during the council session, Schumacher introduced newly sworn in City Marshal Charlie Hicks and Reserve Deputy Marshal Scott MacNaughton to those present at the council session. "In just a few days, they've made a good impression, going around meeting local business people, attending a ribbon cutting and getting to know the community."

The officers have also been spending time cleaning up their offices, which are now freshly painted and redesigned to separate them from the municipal court office.

"We welcome the people to stop in and meet us," said Hicks.

Four members of the city's Planning and Zoning Commissions have come to the end of their terms of office. For their selfless service to the city, Schumacher thanked departing commissioners Sherry McCullough, Rilla Stephens, Punkie Camp and Jim Hannah. In presenting the certificate to Hannah, Schumacher recognized his 11 years of work on the P&Z. "You've done the lion's share of the work," she said.

The city will advertise for applications from persons interested in volunteering to serve on the P&Z Commission.