Two years remain of term; court to decide how to fill spot

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

After 23 years of service to the citizens of Precinct 3, Justice of the Peace Elois Barham has decided to resign her position effective May 31.

"With much thought and reflection I believe that the time has come for me to tender my resignation," Barham said.

She said her resignation had absolutely nothing to do with the Jim Wells County Commissioner's Court or any other outside reason, she said she felt personally, after much reflection, that it was time to retire.

During her 23 years in office, Barham has seen many things and met many people through her court, people whom she has known well throughout the years and those whose experiences have differed greatly from her own. In either case, Barham treated those in her courtroom with the same amount of fairness and respect, she said, and she is proud to say that.

"When anybody would come before my court, I would call them Mr. and Mrs. and I would answer them according to the rules and my knowledge of the law. In other words, I was not going to rule due to the person in front of me. That's what I told them before I took office and that's what I did. I think they will all remember that, because that's what I told them," Barham said.

Barham said she made every decision to the best of her ability, and she never looked back.

"I have had a good precinct these 23 years. I have very few enemies here. I think most people appreciate the truth, if not everyone," Barham said.

With her resignation, which will be presented to the court during Monday's JWC Commissioners' Court meeting, County Judge L. Arnoldo Saenz said the court will have a lot to consider.

"We are going to take this one step at a time. We'll go through all the options as a court, but first we'll need to get clarification before anything else," Saenz said.

Saenz, along with County Clerk Ruben Sandoval and Elections Administrator Pearlie Jo Valadez, will work together on the issue to see whether the court can appoint a new JP, or whether a special election will have to be called in November to fill the position.

With more than two years left in Barham's term, Sandoval is currently checking with the Secretary of State's office to see how the county can legally proceed.

Barham said she would not object to a November election to fill the position. She feels that it would be a spirited race in Precinct 3.

"I would hope for a good turnout, I believe there is enough interest in the precinct that they would turn out to vote," Barham said.