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Burnet County Precinct 3 constable job opens after Leake resigns

Jimmy Ballard and John Leake

Burnet County Precinct 3 Constable John ‘Chip’ Leake (right) was appointed to replace the late Jimmy Ballard (left) in 2018, when his friend of 21 years died after a lengthy battle with cancer and other health issues. File photo

Anyone wanting to serve as Burnet County constable of Precinct 3 has until Oct. 17 to turn in an application to the Burnet County Commissioners Court for consideration. The appointee will finish the two-year unexpired term of Constable John “Chip” Leake, who will step down Oct. 31. 

Constable is an elected position, and the Precinct 3 spot will be on the 2024 primary and general election ballots.

Burnet County Judge James Oakley said he hopes to have the position filled by Oct. 31, when Leake’s resignation will be final. 

“We are trying to minimize the gap between (Leake’s) leaving and someone new beginning,” Oakley said. 

To apply for the position, visit the Burnet County Human Resources webpage and click on the “Constable, Pct. 3” job listing. Applicants will have to create an account. 

The position pays $67,827 a year and is an authorized peace officer and chief process officer of the justice court. A constable has statewide jurisdiction to execute any criminal process and must keep accounts of the office’s financial transactions, including for property seized and money collected by court order. 

Leake turned in his letter of resignation to Oakley at the Commissioners Court meeting Sept. 27. It was not on the agenda, so no action was taken. A vote to accept the resignation is expected to be on the agenda for the regular meeting Oct. 11, which starts at 9 a.m. in the second-floor courtroom at the Burnet County Courthouse, 220 S. Pierce St. in Burnet. 

“This letter is to advise you of my intentions to retire from my office as Constable, Precinct 3, effective Oct. 31, 2022,” Leake wrote. “Since the loss of my wife, Joan, this past April, I no longer have the direction to continue my career in law enforcement, which I have had the honor in serving this state and this community for over 43 years. I truly appreciate the courtesy and want to thank all the fine people I have had the pleasure in working with here in Burnet County.” 

Leake was appointed to the position in 2018 to fill the shoes of his friend Jimmy Ballard, who died in office after a lengthy battle with cancer. The two had been friends since 1997, the year Leake moved to the Highland Lakes as a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper.

Ballard had served as Precinct 3 constable since 1995. He also was appointed and eventually elected. He was unseated by a challenger in 2000 but reappointed three years later when the position again became vacant.

suzanne@thepicayune.com