Commissioners Accept Resignation of Constable 4

January 15, 2020 - The Shelby County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Jacob Metcalf, Shelby County Constable Precinct 4, during their meeting held January 15, 2020.

Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, presented the letter of resignation submitted by Metcalf and read it aloud. The letter reads as follows: "It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Shelby County as their Precinct 4 Constable. Effective immediately, I am resigning my position as Precinct 4 Constable in Shelby County, Texas. It is my intent to not seek re-election in the upcoming March 2020 primary, however, I recognize that we are passed the deadline to remove my name from the ballot. As such, I would express my intent to the Commissioners' Court and the voters in Precinct 4 that should I be re-elected in spite of this resignation, I do not intend [to] accept this office and I would then again resign. 

"Furthermore, pursuant to Chapter 152 Government Code, I forfeit my salary, pay, benefit or otherwise for the remainder of my term. I do so in an effort to allow the Commissioners' Court to utilize their authority and budget to appoint my replacement. Respectfully, J Metcalf."

Gary Rholes, Shelby County Attorney, indicated for the knowledge of the court Metcalf would remain the Constable even following his resignation, until a successor is sworn-in and duly qualified.

"I don't like that, I'm going to be honest about it, it don't look right and it ain't right. Because, it takes away from the legitimacy of why he's resigning if the county allows him to remain as constable, I don't care if it's in word or name, or he's active or not active," said Roscoe McSwain, Constable Precinct 1. 

Judge Harbison suggested appointing another individual at the next meeting, and McSwain said that wasn't what he was wanting to do, but if that's the only way to remove any association of Metcalf from the office, then he will be for the appointment.

Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner Precinct 4, asked with all of the other constables employed by the county, could they not be utilized to fulfill the duties of the Constable 4 office. 

"They could work over there, but that still doesn't get him out of office," said Rholes.

He explained they could still work the area, but not hold the office in place of another. 

Commissioners McSwain asked Rholes, "If we accept this resignation, and if things play out like we want or say if something went wrong with this picture down the road, by accepting this and the documentation we've read do we reserve any rights for future action or does this do away with our opportunity to have future action down the road, should we need it, like file charges?"

McSwain elaborated, the letter submitted by Metcalf's attorney indicates he considers the issue to cease once the commissioners accept the resignation.

"He does not have any blanket immunity, I can tell you that," said Rholes.

A motion carried to accept the resignation and affidavit waiving compensation.

Although the discussion had in court was relating to the Metcalf's resignation, there was no explanation during court as to why the commissioners decided on December 20, 2019 to withdraw Metcalf's office, vehicle and salary.

Following inquiries by Shelby County Today with several county officials unwilling to go on the record as to the circumstances, County Attorney Gary Rholes has confirmed the issues relating to Metcalf have to do with a document turned in for payment through the office of Constable Precinct 4.

Later in the meeting, the commissioners discussed a new reimbursement policy. Ann Blackwell described some of why these changes should be made. (Click here to view the policy)

"In light of some things that have happened, we work really hard in my office to try to make sure that everything that we pay is of a benefit to the county and a legitimate invoice and a legitimate expense," said Blackwell. "I'm certainly not saying that I think that people are giving me things that are not correct, I'm not saying that."

Blackwell said she would like to see an extra safeguard in place. She explained, a lot of times employees will make purchases out of their own pocket at locations where the county already has accounts, and as a result have to turn in receipts. Blackwell explained it would be a lot more efficient if the county could just purchase through the vendor, or establish a new account with that source.

A motion carried to adopt the new Shelby County Expense Reimbursement Policy.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:26am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Officers Report.
3. Accept Jake Metcalf Constable Pct. 4 resignation and affidavit waving any compensation.
4. Purchase of PC towers for Tax Office out of County Records Management funds.
5. Annual Service Support contract with Harris Govern.
6. Tax Abatement agreement between Tyson Farms QOZB, LLC and Shelby County. 
7. Resolution declaring Shelby County to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
8. New Reimbursement Policy.
9. Adjourn 10:26am.

Related article:
Commissioners Strip Constable 4 of Office Amenities, Benefits