Walker County Commissioners agreed on Monday to review the county’s policy on employees and elected officials who are convicted of driving while intoxicated and other major traffic violations.
Commissioners voted to conduct a workshop to review the policy after discussing insurance rates and liabilities for county employees, elected or non-elected, who have been arrested or convicted of one or more of the major violations listed in the Walker County Policy on Motor Vehicles.
Pct. 3 Commissioner Bobby Warren, 67, was arrested the morning of Jan. 2 in Willis on charges of driving while intoxicated; his blood alcohol level at the time of his arrest was .259 milliliters. The legal limit is .08 ml. Warren was released from the Montgomery County Jail after posting a $750 bond.
Commissioners didn’t mention Warren’s arrest during the meeting. Warren was present and voted in favor of the policy review.
County officials told commissioners that the county’s current policy on the consequences of arrest and conviction of major violations was unclear and had not been consistently enforced.
According to the county’s current policy, employees must keep a “clear” or “acceptable” driving record to continue employment in a job with driving duties. Commissioners are issued a vehicle by the county and are expected to drive as part of their official duties. DWI is considered a major violation, which would lead to a “poor” driving record, according to the policy.
Pct. 1 Commissioner B.J. Gaines said that when a county employee has been arrested, charged or convicted in the past, the employee was not allowed to drive a county vehicle until he had completed some sort of “rehab.”
But, commissioners said, that policy is no longer enforced, and county officials told commissioners that the policy had not been reviewed in some time.
“Right now we don’t follow the policy,” County Judge Danny Pierce said.
Pct. 2 Commissioner Ronnie White proposed a workshop to discuss the policy. “If we’re not going to enforce it, why do we have it?” he said.
County Treasurer Amy Klawinski told commissioners the Texas Association of Counties has made some recommendations for changes to the county’s current policy. Klawinski also said the county’s insurance rates were no longer affected by the driving record of county employees.
No date was set for the workshop, and commissioners did not set a timetable for making changes to the policy.
In other action, commissioners voted unanimously to spend $12,474 for salt to operate a water softening system for the new $18 million jail. When the maintenance bid was awarded to Culligan, the county’s purchasing department mistakenly assumed that the cost of the salt was included with the bid, county officials told commissioners.
Commissioners re-appointed Thomas Malak and Brandon Decker to the Emergency Services District No. 2 board, effective Jan. 1
Commissioners reviewed the county’s mileage reimbursement rate of 56.5 cents in comparison to the updated IRS rate of 57.5 cents and opted not to increase the current reimbursement rate.
Commissioners appointed Pct. 4 Commissioner Jimmy Henry to serve as an alternate for the Houston-Galveston Area Council General Assembly, replacing former Pct. 4 Commissioner Tim Paulsel.
Walker County Policy on Motor Vehicle Records can be viewed by clicking here.