Robert Paty
PO Box 633322
TX 75963-3322

Nacogdoches County
Public Weigher

September 27, 2001

The Daily Sentinel
4920 Colonial Drive
Nacogdoches, TX 75961

Attn: Robbie Goodrich, Managing Editor

To the Editor, and the People of Nacogdoches County:

In the general election of the year 2000, I ran for and was elected to the office of Nacogdoches County Public Weigher. Even though this office had not been occupied since 1934, it still was a position that anyone eligible to hold office could run for and hold.

The basis of my campaign was that I would work to have the office abolished.

Since January I have been pursuing that end, without success.

A key element in getting this office abolished would have been the co-operation of the Commissioner's Court in putting the question of the abolition of the office on the ballot so the voters of Nacogdoches County might decide the fate of the office.

Unfortunately, this was not to be.

At first, I was not permitted on the Commissioner's Court agenda because I challenged and refused to submit to a Local Government Code 152.052 as it might taint my credibility as a legitimate officer before the Commissioner's Court. Finally, our County Attorney and staffers at the Attorney General's office decided that, since my office did not in fact draw a salary, the code must not apply to the Public Weigher's office.

Then an earlier Attorney General's opinion surfaced which held that the Commissioner's Court might itself abolish the office and that there would be no need to put the question on a ballot. At least one commissioner was enthusiastic to do just that, but it then turned out that a 1993 change in the Agriculture code (see attachment) had reversed this. Under present law the office may only be abolished by the local voters.

Finally, after some hemming and hawing, the truth has come out: The Commissioner's Court has no intention of even allowing the question on the court agenda, much less allowing the voters of Nacogdoches County to decide the question.

Some might say that because the position had been vacant for some time, election to it would be easy and that advocating its abolition was not a cause worthy of consideration. Nevertheless, it might be considered that I was, in fact, elected by a margin of 5,699 of the citizens of Nacogdoches County. That figure, it should be noted, is at least significant in that it exceeds the votes needed for a number of presently-sitting county officers to win their office in that same election, and is, in fact, more than it took to decide our recent presidential election.

Although some might not agree that this constitutes a resounding mandate, the voters of Nacogdoches County did in fact, by legal election, democratically affirm my promise to attempt to abolish the office of Nacogdoches County Public Weigher.

In all good faith and I believe, with the utmost courtesy, I have endeavored to carry out that promise. My good faith, however, has been met by such unanimity of resistance among members of the County Commission that it begins to suggest a less than strict adherence to the state requirement for open meetings in county government. One thing is certain: I have been denied such access to the Commissioners Court that even an ordinary citizen might expect, and much less access -- and respect -- than should be accorded a county officer duly elected by those citizens.

As I would carry the same weight as a citizen and voter, I now see no reason to continue this course as a county officer, and therefore, intend to resign from the office of Nacogdoches County Public Weigher as of the first of November, 2001.


Robert Paty
Nacogdoches County Public Weigher

Letter of resignation from office of Nacogdoches County Public Weigher

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