Judge Branick to urge appeal on constable ruling

12 News HD has learned Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick will urge the Commissioner's Court to appeal an arbitrator's ruling on laid off deputy constables.

Amid controversy, eight deputy constables were offered early retirement, moved to other county positions or laid off last fall in an effort to save money.

Last week an arbitrator ruled on the grievance of one deputy constable, saying the lawmen should be reinstated with back pay.

Branick says the out-of-state arbitrator may not have understood the unique nature of local government law. He argues the government accounting standards board advises a 15 to 20 percent cushion for county emergencies, which is why a 22 million dollar reserve fund was not tapped to retain employees.

Branick says the ruling ignores the constitutional and statutory role of county government in setting budgets and ignores the right of constables to say who should be employed.


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