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Burnet County approves opioid settlement; honors retiring librarian

Jane Zimmerman and the Burnet County Commissioners Court

Retiring Burnet County librarian Jane Zimmerman was honored by proclamation of the Burnet County Commissioners Court at its regular meeting Tuesday, Oct. 26. With Zimmerman are (from left) Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther, Precinct 2 Commissioner Damon Beierle, Library Director Florence Reeves, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall, and Precinct 4 Commissioner Joe Don Dockery. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

Burnet County commissioners approved a settlement with Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a national opioid class action lawsuit for $49,971 at their Tuesday, Oct. 26, meeting in the courthouse in Burnet. Johnson & Johnson is not the only defendant in the suit, County Attorney Eddie Arredondo told the Commissioners Court. More money could be coming from other companies as a major trial date approaches in January with Dallas County.

“As pressure comes on with the trial on the horizon, this one defendant has decided to settle up and get it out of the way,” Arredondo said.

“Do you see any down side to accepting this offer?” asked Burnet County Judge James Oakley. 

“No, I don’t,” Arredondo answered. 

The county also will be part a pool of counties that has access to about $6.7 million in grant money from the settlement. The money must be used for programs designed to fight addiction. Other companies involved as defendants in the lawsuit are major drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen. So far, Johnson & Johnson is the only one to agree to a settlement.

Burnet County Clerk Janet Parker and old Burnet County Highway Bridge maps
Burnet County Clerk Janet Parker in her courthouse office lobby where two drawings of the Burnet County Highway Bridge across the Colorado River in Marble Falls hang. Replicas of the originals drawings, which she recently unearthed and that are dated 1911 were framed and donated to the county by Kofile Technologies. The replicas will be given to The Falls on the Colorado Museum. Staff photo by Suzanne Freeman

In other business, commissioners signed a proclamation commending the dedicated service of Jane Zimmerman, who has worked for the Burnet County Library system since 1994. Zimmerman is retiring after 27 years.

She was lauded for her “act of dedication as a cataloger and valuable resource on local history, culminating in her participation in the Texas Land Heritage Program; and being a valuable asset to not only the library but also our citizens.”

“We hereby commend Jane Zimmerman on her outstanding career and for her many contributions to the local communities in Burnet County,” reads the proclamation. “We extend our congratulations on your retirement and wish you the very best on your future endeavors.”

Other actions included: 

  • approval of — and thanks to — Central Texas Groundwater Conservation District for its $25,000 donation to the recent Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event. The district upped its original contribution of $10,000 to $25,000.
  • a decision to leave current commissioner precinct lines the same until the next census numbers are available in 2030. Growth in the four precincts was nearly even with only a 7.18 percent disparity, said Arredondo, who made the presentation. A disparity of 10 percent or more requires redistricting.
  • reappointment of Mark Mayfield as director of the Capital Area Housing Finance Corporation Board. His term will expire on Oct. 21, 2025. 
  • accepting drawings of the Burnet County Highway Bridge across the Colorado River in Marble Falls, which are dated 1911, from Kofile Technologies. The large historic drawings will be given to The Falls on the Colorado Museum, thanks to efforts by County Clerk Janet Parker. 

suzanne@thepicayune.com