County Judge may face another criminal complaint

Photo by Dave A. Vance
Ellis County Judge Carol Bush.

ELLIS COUNTY — The publisher of Ellis County Citizen, Dave Vance, is following up with his previous statement claiming he will file a criminal complaint regarding Ellis County Judge Carol Bush's $70k+ pay increase. He believes the actions were outside of state law.

Although he is providing the county an opportunity to address and rectify the issue, he is prepared to file his criminal complaint with a state agency who not only has jurisdiction to cite the elected official for wrongdoing but who also has jurisdiction to remove her from office. Additionally, Vance is prepared to include his previous complaint of Bush's falsified affidavits for a state salary supplement in this complaint since the statute of limitations has not expired on those violations.

Vance sent the following letter to all four Ellis County commissioners, the county judge and the county auditor:

"I am requesting the Ellis County Commissioner's Court to convene an emergency meeting to address a serious violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act and a potential criminal violation from County Judge Carol Bush.

As you may or may not know, Ellis County Judge Carol Bush requested a hearing from the Salary Grievance Committee on August 26, 2016. The letter was addressed to herself, as the chairperson of the salary grievance committee.

Section 152.016(b)(1) of the Texas Local Government Code states that the public hearing shall take place not later than the 10th day after the request is received.

The Salary Grievance Committee met on September 9, 2016, which was well after the 10 days as stated in the Texas Local Government Code cited above.

In addition, as required by law, no minutes were taken from that hearing, which, by law, is a public meeting that is bound by the same laws as a public meeting.

I assert that the meeting was in violation of state law and therefore the budget the Commissioners' Court approved may be in violation of state law based on the inclusion of the county judge's illegal pay increase.

I ask that the Ellis County Commissioner's Court review this issue. I am prepared to file a criminal complaint against County Judge Carol Bush for violation of the Texas Open Meetings Act based on the fact that no minutes were taken from the meeting and that the meeting was held beyond the date as stated in State Law.

Based on these allegations, I am also prepared to assert that the passed budget is invalid because it includes funds appropriated illegally and fraudulently.

I hope this matter can be resolved by the commissioners court rather than through the judicial system."