TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Smith County commissioners have begun the process to permanently fill the vacancy for the Pct. 2 constable position that was created with last week’s conviction of Joshua Black.
He was found guilty of official oppression, which instantly triggered a judicial order to remove him from office.
Judge Nathaniel Moran explained during their weekly meeting on Tuesday that for the time being the chief deputy of the constable’s office has the authority to oversee operations until the position is filled.
Under Texas law, the Commissioners Court has the authority to appoint a replacement. However, it comes with a slight caveat. If Black files an appeal for his case within 90 days of his conviction, the authority for naming the replacement goes to the district judge who oversaw the trial. This would be 114th District Court Judge Austin Jackson.
As of this writing, no appeal has been filed by Black.
Moran said that the court would not be taking the appointment lightly and that nominating someone on Tuesday would be too quick.
“What I want to convey to the community is we do not take this apopointment lightly. We know that there needs to be prudence and due deliberance as to who should be appointed to that position and that trust needs to be restored in that office.“Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran
Members of the public interested in the position are welcome to reach out to Commissioner Neal Franklin, who represents the area (Although Franklin is the Pct. 1 Commissioner, there are only four commissioner precincts as opposed to five constable precincts).
Franklin commented that he has had about five people reach out to him who are interested. He considers them all “friends” and said that while it makes it more challenging, he has “been getting paid to make decisions for a lot of years.”
The position will be discussed every week at Commissioners Court meetings until a final decision is made.