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Burnet County commissioners to appoint leader in Oakley’s absence

Burnet County Commissioners Court

Commissioners Jim Luther Jr. (left) and Damon Beierle, Judge James Oakley, and Commissioners Billy Wall and Joe Don Dockery at a recent Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting before the State Commission on Judicial Conduct suspended Oakley without pay. Commissioners will meet March 23 to distribute Oakley’s duties among themselves during the judge's suspension. File photo

The Burnet County Commissioners Court will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 23, to determine who will handle the responsibilities of County Judge James Oakley while he is suspended from his duties. 

The meeting is open to the public in the first-floor courtroom of the county courthouse, 220 S. Pierce St. in Burnet. 

Oakley was suspended without pay from his duties as judge on March 15 by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct for a March 7 indictment on one felony charge and three misdemeanor charges related to accusations of misuse of power and misconduct as a county judge and Pedernales Electric Cooperative director. 

The Commissioners Court will need to appoint one or more members during Thursday’s meeting to take over Oakley’s duties. 

“I believe this is what needs to occur so that we can continue to move forward and conduct business as usual,” County Attorney Eddie Arredondo told

Oakley’s responsibilities are split between two discussion/action items on the special meeting agenda. One item will determine who will conduct Commissioners Court meetings and sign official documents on behalf of the county and the other will determine who will handle the day-to-day management of county departments. All of these responsibilities may be bestowed on one or more commissioners depending on the decisions the court makes on Thursday.

The appointed commissioner or commissioners will retain their position as commissioners. No member of the court will have the title of county judge or be an interim county judge in Oakley’s absence, Arredondo said.