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2012-08-02

'All rise' - City Council appoints new municipal judge

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

During a special meeting on Thursday, July 26, Bandera City Council unanimously appointed Priscilla Dawn Wright as municipal judge. Her term will continue until the city's election in November.

The municipal judge's appointment would then coincide with that of the mayoral election, which will take place to November.

A resident of Kerr County, Wright served as a Kerr County Justice of the Peace for 15 years until her retirement. "I wasn't comfortable retiring, but I got tired of looking at dead bodies," she explained. "Justices of the peace have to do inquests."

To a (wo)man, council expressed a belief that she "wouldn't see many of those in Bandera."

In the past, Wright has also worked as a veterans' counselor, court clerk, city secretary and police officer.

"We're very fortunate to have had Dawn apply for the position," Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Schumacher told the council. "She'll very knowledgeable and will be able to train a new municipal clerk herself."

Schumacher said that Wright had come highly recommended by City Marshal Charlie Hicks and 216th District Attorney Bruce Curry.

When asked if traveling to Bandera would be problematic, Wright said that she had had to travel as a justice of the peace for the last 15 years. "We have given Dawn a sense of the job and she didn't feel it would take 20 hours a week to perform," Schumacher said. "Prior to that there were questions about how much time the duty would actually take. We want to make sure there's an honest representation of the time you spend," Schumacher said.

"After I get everything set up, I don't think it will take me 20 hours a week - and certainly not more," Wright said.

City Administrator Mike Cardenas recommended that Wright be paid $18 per hour plus mileage.

"I was going to suggest $20 per hour until I worked 10 hours and then $15 an hour after 10 hours, but your pay scale is better than mine, so I'll take it," Wright said.

She added, "I will not turn in 20 hours if I don't work 20 hours."

Longtime Municipal Judge Lynn Holt retired from the position on July 18.

Council unanimously accepted his resignation during a meeting the following evening. Additionally, a newly hired court clerk tendered her resignation in light of Holt's retirement. Council unanimously accepted her resignation July 26.

In other business, council also approved hiring veteran lawman
Douglas Ottmers as deputy marshal, pending the results of a mandatory background check and drug test.