Wise County commissioners this week face moving forward without County Judge Bill McElhaney, who died Oct. 14.
They have not yet named an interim judge but plan to do so in accordance with Texas Local Government Code. There is no state-mandated deadline or process for filling the post, though, and until that time Precinct 2 Commissioner Kevin Burns will fulfill the judge’s duties.
“Things will run as normal as possible,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Glenn Hughes said Tuesday. “Kevin and Bill worked on a lot of issues together, and he’s so knowleageable. He can handle his precinct and these duties.”
Hughes said he and other commissioners have also offered to help as needed.
After an interim judge is chosen, that person will serve the remainder of McElhaney’s term, which runs through December 2014. The county judge position will appear on the March 2014 primary ballot, and as of Tuesday, only one candidate – Chico Mayor J.D. Clark, a Republican – has announced he will seek the office.
If a commissioner or any other elected official chooses to run for the office, he or she would be forced to resign their current position if there is more than one year and 30 days remaining in their term, according to the state constitution.
Commissioners could choose to wait and name an interim after the Dec. 9 filing deadline. Traditionally, county vacancies have been filled by someone who does not plan to run for that office.