Trinity Co. JP refuses to comply with request to resign

GROVETON, TX (KTRE) - Trinity County Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Randy Barrett is choosing to hold onto his office, despite the commissioners court voting to ask him to resign.

"As far as you ask for my resignation, I'm not going to accept it," Barrett said.

The letter to Barrett, signed by commissioners Grover "Tiger" Worsham, Richard Chamberlin and Jimmy Brown, and County Judge Doug Page, alleges funds are missing from Barrett's office and that Barrett has not been present at work enough.

"Right now, I'm pretty upset. I've had an issue ever since we had a few elected officials come in. They were voted in and I don't believe they are here for the betterment of the county," Barrett said. "I discovered some money missing from my court in November so I picked up the phone and called the Texas Ranger to get him involved—to get him to start investigating and the auditor got involved in it and they got to working on this and yes, they found some money missing. I'm not going to say at this time who it was, but I've got a new clerk that is taking care of everything now."

Commissioner Pct. 2 Neal Smith voted against presenting the letter to Barrett because he says he believes an elected officials position should be decided on by the people.

Floyd Hutchinson, who says he voted for Barrett, agrees saying it's unfair.

"It's not right. I mean, we the voters put him in and if we want him out we should be the ones to complain, or do a survey or something," Hutchinson said.

Barrett says he thinks one of the main concerns is that he took up a second job because the county doesn't pay him enough money.

"It doesn't matter. In my office, I have my own office and my clerks have their own office and I can't see them when they're accepting money from the people that come in to pay their fines. I would've never known [the money was gone] until it happened the way it did," Barrett said.

Yet, Trinity County Sheriff Woody Wallace says Barrett's full-time job is for the county and his second job shouldn't interfere with his work.

"You know, I've got mixed emotions about it, but you know we've had numerous people come to our office cause they have a warrant for their arrest, and went over to the JP's office and weren't able to pay their fines…anybody that takes a public office that for whatever reason can't do the job or won't do the job…I think they should take a deep look inside and I think they should resign on their own without any public pressure," Wallace said.

After the meeting, Barrett and Wallace got into an argument about the time he spends in his office.

"Am I supposed to arrest them? Woody I've got a drawer full of warrants you never did when you were constable," Barrett said.

"You're supposed to handle your warrants Randy on your own," Wallace said.

"When you were constable, you didn't do your job as constable and you're not doing your job now as a sheriff," Barrett said.

Doug Page, the County Judge, says he doesn't believe the decision to ask for Barrett's resignation was unethical.

"He is a public servant to the people and I and other members of the court don't feel that he is doing his due diligence in serving the public as he was voted in the office to do," Page said.

Page says he doesn't understand why the pay check is a problem for Barrett.

"I know for sure he received a pay raise two years ago. I can't attest to anything prior to me coming into office, but I know he did receive a pay raise and he gets a vehicle allowance in addition to the monthly salary," Page said.

Barrett says he's upset that the commissioners asked him to resign saying he works for the people and the people in his precinct see him for his good works.

"The people of my precinct expect that out of me. So, I'm going to do what they want me to do and if those people want me to resign than I'll do that today. But the only people who are bothering me—are the Commissioners Court," Barrett said.

Page said an audit will be performed on Barrett's office and commissioners will determine the next course of action.

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