During Commissioners Court on Monday morning, Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley discussed the passing of Precinct 1 Constable Percy Medina, who passed away on Thursday, Oct. 10 due to health issues. On the same agenda item was the discussion of any necessary upcoming decisions on the vacancy of his office.
“I put this on the agenda and do not recommend making any decisions today on filling the vacancy. If you wish to do something, this allows you to do it, but I want to read the funeral arrangements,” said Judge Hurley to the county commissioners. Please see Percy Medina’s full obituary on Page 10B.
With no comments from the commissioners, Judge Hurley said there have been several questions about the position. He’s told people he expects the commissioners to receive applications if that’s their choice and expects the process to take no more than 30 days. Judge Hurley added they could put this on the next agenda. There was some concern about rushing to clean out Constable Medina’s office to which Judge Hurley reassured Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace, Felix Herrera there was no rush in pushing the family to do anything right now, they had time.
Commissioner Mark Gillespie, Pct. 1, made a motion to publicize in the October 16 issue of the newspaper that they are starting to accept applications for the position with a deadline of three weeks. Commissioner Stuart Knowlton, Pct. 2, seconded the motion. Judge Hurley said it didn’t seem inappropriate at all, he just didn’t want to push anything and wanted to make the process as comfortable as possible. He asked if the motion could be amended for the applications to be turned in to him to which Comm. Gillespie agreed.
Before any further discussion or action could be taken by the commissioners, Atascosa County Democratic Chair Julie Hilberg interrupted the meeting to speak about the passing of Constable Medina:
“The passing of Constable Medina has also left a void in the community he served and I am saddened that this is being addressed right now, today, while we are in a state of mourning and have not had the opportunity to say our prayers and goodbyes. I am respectfully asking the commissioners court to take into consideration the sad circumstances. Please be mindful and reflect the wishes of the people.”
She also asked for transparency in the selection process, a suitable period for applicants to apply, review process for the most qualified candidates and interviews to select a candidate most suited to represent the will of the people when they elected Constable Medina.
Rosa Elkins also interrupted the meeting to address Comm. Gillespie, saying, “I understand you need to appoint someone, but I think it is in bad taste to go ahead and print that in the Wednesday paper, Mr. Gillespie, because he will not be buried until later that day. You can wait another week. To me, that’s very disrespectful.
Let the man be buried first.”
Comm. Gillespie respectfully responded to Hilberg and Elkins by explaining the circumstances following the sudden passing of his father and former county commissioner, Lonnie Gillespie.
“I agree with what you are both saying, but we also have a county we have to look after and run. I am a personal family friend of Constable Medina. I’ve been in personal touch with his family through all of this and I’ve also been told they understand how business runs. I do respect and understand it all. When my dad passed, I took oath to this position the day before his funeral. It’s kind of the same situation here. The county knows business moves on, we have to move on. I am sorry for the loss of Constable Medina, but I was appointed to this position as well and it was all taken before the funeral of my father. There’s going to be a lot of mixed emotions on who’s right and who’s wrong here.”
Elkins attempted to speak again, but Judge Hurley dismissed her.
Gillespie amended his motion to wait until the Wednesday after the funeral, on Oct. 23, to post the job opening and have a three-week run of accepting applications to Judge Hurley’s office. Comm. Knowlton amended his second. Commissioners unanimously approved the motion.