Eversole's commissioner seat to be filled soon

September 29, 2011 4:22:25 PM PDT
13 Undercover and Wayne Dolcefino prompted the federal investigation into Harris County Commissioner Jerry Eversole's financial dealings, and now on the eve of his re-arraignment, there are questions about who will replace him.

At Thursday's quick county meeting, one seat was noticeably empty. Commissioner Eversole was absent; his resignation effective October 1.

Nobody has filled that seat yet, but Harris Co. Judge Ed Emmett says he's working on it.

"Of course we started with a list and I've been working it, and I'll be making some phone calls in the next couple of days," said Judge Emmett.

He says a lot of people have expressed interest in either getting the job that represents a million Harris County residents or advocating for someone who wants it.

"Professional groups, individuals, know me or other people who know the candidates. There's one million people who live in Precinct 4 and it's a big job," Judge Emmett said.

But this is no easy decision. And we know it's complicated by district boundaries. The county has asked both its attorney and the secretary of state to opine as to how long someone must live in the state, the county, or Precinct 4 before assuming the seat.

"There are a lot of questions, but they're really technical legal questions that are quite boring to address," said Gerry Birnberg, Chairman of the Harris County Democratic Party.

The secretary of state's office told us that the law about who replaces Eversole could be read multiple ways -- meaning that someone who just moved into the district would be eligible. Or not.

"I think we have a unique set of circumstances this time because, one, we have a commissioner who has left early. And second, we have a redistricting year," said Jared Woodfill, Harris County GOP Chairman.

Redistricting does complicate Judge Emmett's decision, but he says above anything else the person he chooses will be able to do the job.

"It's got to be somebody who their integrity won't be questioned; their approach to government won't be questioned at all," he said.

The judge would not discuss any names or any kind of short list, but did say his ears are "ringing" from all the phone calls he's been receiving about the appointment. He told us he expects to choose Eversole's successor on Monday.

On Friday morning, Eversole will be re-arraigned, and he is expected to plead guilty to lying to a federal investigator. Prosecutors filed those lesser charges against Eversole in place of his bribery indictment connected to accusations that he accepted cash and gifts in exchange for county contracts.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stories from the 13 Undercover 'Winning Hand' investigations and Commissioner Jerry Eversole


Load Comments