In an effort to streamline government and save some money Brazos County Commissioners could dissolve a Precinct 2 justice of the peace position. Commissioners are set to meet Tuesday to lay out the options and decide the future of that position.
Brazos County Judge Duane Peters says the topic of combining the two Justice of the Peace positions in precinct 2 is all about efficiency. Currently there are five JP's, and according to the judge, eliminating a seat has been in discussion for quite some time.
Now what exactly does this mean?
There are currently four justice of the peace precincts in Brazos County, with a total of five JPs. Under Precinct two, there are two seats called Place One and Place Two. Judge Vera Lara-Hoogie is currently the justice of the peace for Precinct Two, Place 1; and Judge Tommy Munoz also under Precinct two, but holds the Place 2 position. Both courts handle different cases; however Place 2 is the position that's currently on the chopping block.
“At one time Place one did all of the magistrate warnings, but now magistrate warnings are shared with all of the JP's. Place two used to do all of the truancies for Bryan ISD, now which is being distributed with a couple of the other JP's” said Peters.
This means Munoz and a staff member could be out of a job as early as November 2014 or as late as December of that same year.
"If and when place two is abolished I think we'll have a savings of the JP's salary and another position because I suspect that at the point Place Two goes away, another position will be needed for Place One because that JP will be taking over the other case load that will come with it," Peters said.
If and when the restructuring happens, the duties and cases from Precinct two will be distributed between the four precincts. The decision will be made in an open forum in Tuesday's Commissioners Court meeting.
If place two is abolished, that JP, since he was elected to a four year term he will get to serve out his four year term, which would mean December 31st 2014,” said Peters.
Peters said Munoz will continue to take cases as usual until the date the office will be abolished. “I had even had suggestions a long time ago that one of them should have been eliminated, back prior to the JP's are in there now,” Peters said. “We are always looking for ways to run both the local and state government.”
Peters said if Judge Tommy Munoz files on December 9th, then he can then serve out the remainder of his term and then run for Place One in the future.