Nacogdoches County Commissioners Have Tense Moments

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Friction between Nacogdoches County Commissioners and County Judge Joe English over the proposed budget caused one commissioner and the judge to leave a budget workshop.   The morning's budget workshop was making progress, but it came to an awkward halt. Precinct 4 Commissioner Tom Strickland began voicing disapproval and frustration with Judge English. Strickland is asking for factual representation of the budget. Strickland and English were going back and forth over the accuracy of some budget costs. Strickland said, " No sir, it's not wrong. I can prove it right here. You know I have not responded to some of these false statements being made in the media in an effort to have harmony on this court." Strickland then began a lengthy explanation of his concern over cost overruns that the judge has claimed. Deficits that Strickland say aren't accurate.

The first to leave while Strickland was talking was Commissioner Tom Bush. His exit was casual, leaving the impression that he could be returning. He never did.   The second to leave was English following  a disagreement over how much money, if any, would be saved if commissioners no longer took county owned pickups home each night.  The judge picked up his belongings and walked out while Strickland was in mid-sentence.   English later explained, " Certainly the conversations that we are having today weren't being productive and instead of everybody sitting there hollering at each other I just felt like the best thing to do is to just leave the situation."  Stickland never raised his voice, but he was adament about his beliefs and frequently pointed his index finger at English while speaking to him.

After the judge left Strickland said the meeting isn't ending and appointed commissioner Charlie Simmons as judge pro tem. Strickland continued his oratory. " I'm asking, I'm pleading for this court to pull together, work together, agree to disagree and simply put the matters before the court. "

Tomorrow the public can speak out. A public hearing on the budget's latest version will be presented at nine o'clock in the courthouse annex.