NEWS HEADLINES

Position will be abolished at year end

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Future Wise County voters shouldn’t waste their time surveying a ballot for the office of county surveyor. The position will be abolished at midnight Dec. 31.

Although questions about the date had been raised by Davey Edwards, who was elected to the post on the same ballot in which voters approved doing away with it Nov. 6, County Judge Bill McElhaney said Tuesday it would be officially abolished at the end of the year.

Following the election, Edwards and Elections Administrator Lannie Noble made inquiries to the Secretary of State’s Office about when to cancel the vacant office. In a Nov. 7 email to Edwards, which was also copied to Noble, SOS staff said, “The Texas Constitution and the Natural Resources Code are silent on the exact effective date of the abolishment of the office of county surveyor.”

They suggested the county seek an Attorney General’s opinion on the question.

The county doesn’t plan to seek an AG’s opinion because McElhaney said there was never a question among county leadership about the matter.

“We feel like it was decided when the people voted,” he said.

McElhaney and Thomas Aaberg, the attorney representing the commissioners’ court, consulted with the Texas Association of Counties and other legal sources on all issues surrounding the proposition. Aaberg said those sources verified what county officials believed, which is that the voters have the final word.

Noble said the abolishment has been submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice for preclearance, which is standard procedure.

Edwards had also asked the SOS if the office of county surveyor could be reinstated in the future. The reply was, “… there does not appear to be any constitution or statutory authority to ‘revive’ the office once it has been abolished.”

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