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Francis Kaiser resigns as municipal judge

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

Photo by Judith Pannebaker
Francis Kaiser during her last days as municipal judge for the City of Bandera

After serving for nearly two and a half years, Francis Kaiser has resigned her appointment as municipal judge for the City of Bandera. Her resignation will be effective Friday, July 22.
In a letter to City Administrator Mike Garr, Mayor John Hegemier and city council, dated Friday, July 8, Kaiser wrote: “I have enjoyed the challenge of bringing the municipal court up to a professional standard. It’s time for me to do some traveling and finish my book.”
By all accounts, Kaiser’s book should be a turn pager.
As the first elected woman sheriff in the State of Texas, she served three terms in Kerr County before retiring in September 1999. During her tenure as Sheriff of Kerr County, she oversaw the construction and operation of a 192-bed jail facility and supervised 75 employees, which included staff in the sheriff’s office, jail and dispatch, as well as support personnel.
In 2002, Kaiser was elected Bandera County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace and served one term.
Through the years, her honors have included participation in the “Women in Power” Millennium Dinner in Washington, DC, 1999; featured on Fox TV’s “America’s Most Wanted” program, 1998; featured in Tom Brokaw’s “American Spirit” segment on NBC Nightly News, 1997; appointed director of Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE) by then Texas Governor George W. Bush, 1995; serving two terms as director of the Sheriff’s Association of Texas, 1995 and 1996; and selection as Woman of the Year for the American Business Women Association, 1989.
In addition, iconic Texas troubadour and author Kinky Friedman spotlighted Kaiser in an article in Texas Monthly magazine, titled “Kaiser on a Roll” in 1996.
In 2004, Kaiser became one of the featured characters in Friedman’s “Armadillos and Old Lace,” one of his most popular whodunits.
In the book, Friedman has returned to his Hill Country home for a holiday. Pat Knox, a Kerrville justice of the peace, contacts him about the deaths of four old ladies who met their unfortunate demises over the previous five months.
Although Sheriff Kaiser has found nothing suspicious about the deaths, Knox remains convinced that foul play has been committed. Knox asks Friedman to look over her files. Although Friedman initially agrees with Kaiser, he does an abrupt about face when a fifth victim turns up – with her lips sewn tight.
And that’s enough said about “Armadillos and Old Lace” for now.
Administrator Garr lauded Kaiser’s employment with the city. “I’ve only worked with Francis for three months, but she has taught me a lot. I deeply appreciate the time I was able to spend with her.”
For her part, Kaiser indicated that she had been happy to utilize her law enforcement experience, qualifications and education to assist the City of Bandera. “I was very gratified to have been able to participate once again in the judicial aspect of law enforcement,” she said.
“I gave my all for what I thought was right. I was born a public servant and I’ll continue to be a public servant,” Kaiser said. “I enjoy being around people and I enjoyed helping them in my position as municipal judge.”