Sadly, there are many self-serving individuals such as Ray Holbrook (“Don’t vote for Cox in the county judge election,” The Daily News, Jan. 31), and now Shawn Christopher Phillips (“Told you Lonnie Cox is a bad judge,” The Daily News, Feb. 1) desperate to keep their place at the government appointee trough, who are willing to say anything to keep incumbent Judge Mark Henry in power (not to mention the engineering and law firms funding his campaign).
Holbrook forgot that a former county auditor employee, Freeman Mendel, was handing out pink slips after Henry was elected. All were long-term employees whose only wrongdoing was being hired by a Democrat or supporting them. Some were hired during Holbrook’s term.
Henry has always had someone to do his dirty work — Freeman, the former human resource director, and even former Commissioner Ryan Dennard, while he sat back with little evidence of dirt on his hands. The final bully straw came, along with a bit of dirt, when a 30-year employee was terminated without cause or warning and by someone without authority — Henry.
That Cox, as the administrative judge acting on behalf of local state district judges, filed a temporary restraining order to restore the employee until her day in court, came after Henry refused to sit down and talk about it with Cox.
Outrage is in order — against Henry for wasting taxpayer funds to hire an international law firm rather than 1. Talking to the judiciary; 2. Using any of the five or six county legal department attorneys to handle his temper tantrum; 3. He could have settled with Bonnie Quiroga for $100,000 (or less); or 4. Simply allowed her to return to work until the wrongful termination case was decided. Instead of mentioning these options and that Henry had already suffered losses in two courts, Holbrook failed to admit that Henry only partially won in the Supreme Court and on the narrow point of who decides what an appropriate salary should be.
Judge Cox wasn’t responsible for the $1.3 million dream team Henry hired. Henry was. He would not stop until he got his way — at any cost — just as any bully would do.
Holbrook is also wrong about how much district judges are paid. The fact is, County Court of Law Judge Ewing is paid more, as is Henry — while only earning 60 percent of his salary as a part-time county judge. Perhaps that is why Harvey victims are still without trailers, many homes remain uninhabitable, and Galveston County has the highest tax rate of any county in the region and the highest level of debt.
Henry is playing judge without a law license and being compensated an extra $25,000 a year by the state, likely making him the highest paid county judge in Texas. The residents of Galveston would be better served to allow someone who cares about little things like employee rights, taxes and disaster victims to take the reins. Surely Judge Cox can do a better job of leading Galveston County into a prosperous and safer future.