The Denton County Republican Party is hard at work finding a constable for Precinct 1.
Constable Jim Dotson died in December after more than a year battling cancer. Pat Taylor, the chief deputy, has been serving as constable in the interim as officials search for a replacement.
“We are saddened at Constable Dotson’s death. He was a wonderful man and great constable, and we are sorry to have lost him,” said Dianne Edmondson, county Republican Party chairwoman. “We are now in the process of recommending a replacement to the Commissioners Court, and we are sure whatever person is chosen will do a good job for the citizens of Precinct 1.”
According to state law, if a constable dies while in office, the chief deputy — in this case, Taylor — assumes the office on a temporary basis.
The law also says that county commissioners will appoint someone to serve not the full four-year term, but two years, Edmondson said. Dotson was re-elected to his office last year. So, officials will have an election for that office in 2014, then again on the normal cycle in 2016.
Though officials are moving at a steady clip with the search, there is no time limit to appoint someone.
Edmondson said there are five candidates: Taylor, Luke Callender, Jesse Flores, John Goble and Leland Kruger.
Requirements for candidacy include residency within the precinct for at least six months, which has eliminated some people, Edmondson said.
The recommendation will be made by the party’s precinct chairmen in the Precinct 1 coverage area.
One of the early stages of the search process will involve the county’s other five constables serving as an interview panel. The constables will give their ratings to the precinct chairmen, who will interview the candidates at a later date.
“The [candidates] will come one at a time to meet with the precinct chairs. We’ll be looking at things from a different standpoint [than the constables],” Edmondson said. “As political activists, we’re also interested in participation they have had in the party and their electability, since they will have to run to stay in office.”
Edmondson noted that she advised the Denton County Democrats that they would be welcome to make a recommendation, but she was not sure if they planned to.
Phyllis Wolper confirmed that the party received notice about making a recommendation.
“The original timetable I was given did not make it possible to put in a recommendation in time,” she said. “Everything was transpiring during the holiday season, during a time where it made it impossible to call a special executive committee meeting and go forward with that.”
Edmondson said there is no cutoff for people interested in being candidates for Precinct 1 constable and encouraged them to contact her at the Denton County Republican Party headquarters for more information.
BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6889. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.