County commissioners abolish EA position
LIBERTY – Klint Bush has dominated the news cycle since his arrest last December, and that saga continued this week as county commissioners decided the fate of his Elections Administrator position.
Last week the county's elections commission met to decide whether to terminate Bush from the position following his recent arrest on a bond revocation. Following no action by the commission, things were passed to commissioners in a special called meeting Monday, March 20.
"I don't think this is something that any of us want to do, but at this point, I feel like we are kind of limited on our choices, so I make the motion to abolish the elections administration," said County Commissioner Pct. 2 Greg Arthur.
That motion was seconded by County Commissioner Pct. 4 Leon Wilson and passed unanimously by a vote of 4-0.
A statement from Bush was made following the termination of the office and, thus, his job.
"I am so thankful and proud of each and every election worker, judge and every member of my staff over the past three years who has participated in this process. I respect the decision of the Liberty County Commissioners Court and pray that this move does not have a negative effect on voting in Liberty County moving forward. Thank you for the opportunity to serve the great citizens of Liberty County in this role," said Bush.
There may, however, be some issues going forward for the election's office as the May 6 city and school elections loom.
Anita Sikes, the only full-time employee remaining in the office of elections, resigned following the meeting, leaving three vacancies in Bush, herself, and one other opening that became unfilled earlier in the month.
Sikes questioned the decision by commissioners, believing there were other avenues to consider, as well as what she felt was a lack of communication while handling the office's daily affairs in Bush's absence.
"There were other decisions that could have occurred by the commission who sat and did nothing and by the Commissioners who jumped to abolish if they really had the people's best interest at heart. I heard their decision loud and clear," said Sikes.
Sikes said she was offered an opportunity to stay with other part-time employees, but she was declining the offer.
Following the meeting, County Clerk Lee Chambers told The Vindicator that her office was ready to step in and handle the elections process, which was the office tasked with that role before creating the election administrator position.
Chambers also said that employees in her office had previously worked elections and continued to do so under Bush.
Chambers also pointed out that the elections commission would continue and have more oversight in approving financials and other aspects of elections.
She also stated the board would now include a sixth member with Sheriff Bobby Rader joining herself, County Judge Jay Knight, Tax Accessor-Collector Ricky Brown, Republican Party Chair Sherial Lawson, and Democratic Party Chair Michael Mark.
As for Brown, his role will increase as well, as his office is again tasked with the duties of voter registrar going forward.
Finally, Bush, who is now unemployed and remains in jail following a bond revocation hearing on Feb. 16, is charged with two felonies and is awaiting a possible indictment by a grand jury. There is speculation that a Wednesday, March 29, Liberty County Grand Jury meeting could hear those charges.