Thursday, May 8, 2014



Whether his attitude is characterized as angry or frustrated, Judge Morefield is on the record again, and it may be time for those involved to be concerned. District Judge Mark Morefield is tired of the county wasting money and tired of the delays and the incompetence surrounding the conversion from the current private management of Liberty County’s jail to it going back under the control of the Sheriff’s office. Since the predicted savings of an approximate one million dollars, everyone elected official associated with causing the changes to not be implemented has had their troubles. 

First, former Commissioner Todd Fontenot was easily beaten in the primaries. His disinformation in defense of Democrat officials’ privatization of the jail was one thing among many that made his attempt to win the county judge seat unsuccessful from the start. Doubling down and  continuing to tell taxpayers previous administrations had done a good job of handling the county’s finance was a bad political bet for Fontenot. 

The foot dragging delays and opposition in commissioners court could have already cost a first term commissioner their job as well. Charlotte Warner faced the voters and lost her re-election bid in the Republican primary to former sheriff Greg Arthur. Warner was in many ways one of the most qualified commissioners in the history of the county, but with tight budgets and very little money to spend on improvements due to past administrations, Warner had very few of the positive news most politicians like to have going into an election.  

And all the signs indicate it will cost another commissioner his job in the May 27th Republican primary run-off, where Leon Wilson has the edge over incumbent commissioner, Norman Brown, as early voting approaches. 

As County Judge Craig McNair approaches election day his and his wife’s recent hospitalization and subsequent rehabilitation may inhibit his efforts to push for the measures all three of Liberty County’s judges seem to favor. Judge McNair and his wife were the victims of a head on collision and while Craig’s injuries were not as sever as his wife Lisa’s, this week his lower leg was still double the size it normally is and doctors want him stay off of his feet until the swelling goes down. 

Heretofore, Judge Morefield seems to have been on the same page with Judge McNair with both men backing the transition of control of the jail going back to the Sheriff. Some of the many problems in the jail have been made public and some remain untold. The smuggling, sex, drugs, and misbehavior in the jail, added to the cost effectiveness of the changes, has made this a no brainer issue to many who have analyzed the situation. However Morefield has not with held some criticism recently. In the latest Rotarian meeting, Morefield’s address on the topic was aimed at the current contract that applies in lieu of an anticipated six month notice to the private management group administering the jail system at this time. Some who heard the address say that thought the criticism should have been directed solely at County Attorney Wes Hinch, but they surmise it was probably cast more broadly to encourage commissioners’ court to do the right thing and transition more quickly. 

County Judge Craig McNair has pointed toward this proactive move towards county efficiency as the financial source he intends to use to give employees in the Sheriff’s office a much needed raise. McNair has said that as much as 50% of the cost savings cango to giving those who serve and protect a better paycheck. In the meantime, McNair’s opponent in the May 27th primary has had some success in attracting sheriff department votes by saying he would have already given them a pay raise. Typical of candidates who have never held office, voters are left to guess how McNair’s opponents would pay for this promise and the ones he has made to other departments in the courthouse in his effort to garner votes. Some have guessed he would not have replaced the patrol vehicles in lieu of pay raises.  Judge McNair’s plan calls for both, but as an officeholder, he has the reality of needing to gain the votes on commissioners’ court.  

The Liberty Courier predicts the votes will be there and the transition will happen if McNair is re-elected. We are never quite sure what Mr.Knight will actually do. 

When the transition does take place the cost savings bonding program District Judge Chap Cain and District Judge Mark Morefield and County-Court – at – Law Tommy Chambers Judge have enacted will continue to yield to the county’s advantage. New ankle bracelet technology will enable the judges to bond non violent offenders to bond out without causing the public concerns they normally would have. The bracelets will not only track their whereabouts, but it will track whether or not they are intoxicated. 

Before these recent proposals it some may have argued that the security and safety of citizens has the fixed cost of incarceration of many of the people awaiting trial. When this is fully implemented, more and more people will pay for their own meals and medical care and housing rather than the taxpayers.


Anonymous said...

The corner can be turned for Liberty County if some certain things happen. This is one of them.

Anonymous said...

I think Mark Morefield is very courageous for standing up for what's right and attacking what's wrong. I knew when voted for and elected Mark he would come into his own. By the same token, you have a dead beat sex addict acting Jay Knight begging for people to vote for him, he will lose, thank God.

Anonymous said...

You go Mark with your big bad self, love it. Just don't let the corrupt in the DA's office win.