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2012-11-15

Butts - last man standing, at last

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Bandera County Commissioners will canvass the results of the countywide election during a special meeting, beginning at 10 am, Tuesday, Nov. 15.
At that time, Judge Richard Evans will ask the court to appoint Sheriff Elect Daniel "Dan" Butts to fill the vacancy in the office of sheriff left by the resignation of Weldon Tucker. Butts will take the reins of the Bandera County Sheriff's Office on Friday, Nov. 16.
During last week's General Election, Butts, a Republican, bested his Democrat opponent James "Bubba" Popham by a vote of 7,455 to 1,826 from a total of the 9,281 votes cast.
In April 2011, Tucker pleaded guilty and resigned to forestall a felony trial for abuse of official capacity for his repeated personal use of a county water rescue craft. At that time, he was also required to relinquish his peace officer's certification.
Tucker's resignation left then-Chief Deputy Richard Smith as the chief administrative officer of the BCSO. Of Texas' 254 counties, Bandera County was the only one that did not have a sheriff.
The vacancy threw the race for sheriff wide open. Six candidates threw their Stetsons in the ring for the Republican Primary Election in May - Butts, Smith, Frances Kaiser, David McGilvray, James Newton and Scott Sharp. Butts, a former administrative sergeant with the Texas Department of Public Safety, went head-to-head with Kaiser, former Kerr County sheriff in the July run-off election.
When the votes were tallied, a run-off election was inevitable. Butts had received 1,005 votes and 26.15 percentage of the total with Kaiser nipping at his heels with 894 votes and 23.26 percent of the total.
When the ballots settled on the Tuesday, July 31, run-off, Butts came out on top of the heap with 2,193 votes and an impressive 60 percent of the total. He had run on a platform of bringing "trust and pride" back to the sheriff's office that was still being described by many insiders as "in turmoil."
But wait, folks, there's more.
After citing "circumstances beyond his control," Smith resigned as titular head of the BCSO at the end of September. During a special meeting, commissioners allowed Capt. Shane Merritt to "discharge the duties of sheriff" until the winner of the Tuesday, Nov. 6, General Election was determined. At that time, they indicated the winner would be appointed to fill the sheriff's vacancy.
Butts will take the formal oath of office on Tuesday, Jan. 1.