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2013-01-03

Hail & farewell to county officials

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

At its conclusion, the last meeting of Bandera County Commissioners Court for 2012 turned bittersweet when goodbyes were said to County Attorney John Payne, Precinct 2 Commissioner Bruce Eliker and Precinct 3 Commissioner Richard Keese.
At 10 am, Wednesday, Jan. 2, newly elected officials, attorney Janna Lindig and commissioners Bob Grimes and Andy Wilkerson, will take their oaths of office.
As Judge Richard Evans noted to his colleagues, "The only thing constant in county government is change. Public officials come and go, but you will be missed."
He presented each outgoing official with a plaque to commemorate his time in public service.
Thanking those who had voted for him four years ago and in the last election, Payne assured those present that his office had not violated the public's trust. "Everything was done with integrity and with the best interest of the county in mind that was consistent with the dispensing of justice," he said. "Bandera County can be proud of the accomplishments of the attorney's office during the last four years."
Evans noted that in his 16 years as county judge, he had had only one ruling appealed to the Fourth Court of Appeals and that had been by Payne
For his part, Eliker had served two terms as a commissioner. "I've enjoyed my years in public service and the chance to give back to the community," he said. After indicating he would miss serving his constituents, Eliker acknowledged he would be turning them over "to capable hands."
Perhaps joking - but perhaps not - Evans noted that Keese, who served as commissioner from 2001 to 2012, might have been the most difficult to "train." Evans added, "There was nobody as hard as you to get to pay attention."
He said that's why Keese traditionally sat on his left. "I often had to kick him under the table," Evans said.
"If you think he's kidding, you ought to see the bruises on my shins," Keese rejoined. Recounting his over a decade on the bench, Keese said, "Most of it's been fun. I wish Andy the best and hope he takes care of business."
"I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish," Evans said. "Every man voted his conscience based on his beliefs." Noting that county government is essentially a simple process, he added, "All you have to do is count to three. Whoever gets three votes gets their way."