During its monthly meeting on Thursday, May 21, the Smiley City Council received a presentation from Municipal Judge Gary Schroeder on an operating plan for the city’s municipal court regarding COVID-19 safety protocols.
Schroeder explained that the U.S. Supreme Court, along with the court of criminal appeals and the office of court administration (OCA), recently mandated that every court in Texas will have to submit an operating plan that takes into consideration the executive orders from the state governor regarding social distancing, protective masks, and limiting the number of people who attend court on any level.
“Our court in Smiley is small, and we’re going to have less people in there, but I still have to adhere to spacing [protocols],” Schroeder said. “In an attempt to get everything as uniform as possible, the OCA sent out a template for each court to follow. It allows fluctuations and variations, but still [involves compliance] with what the OCA determines for how each court system is going to function from now on during this pandemic.”
Schroeder said that all judges’ rules regarding safety protocols have to be submitted to city mayors and city council, and then to a designated health officer for each county.
“At this point in time we have approval from the mayor (Michael Mills) but I have not yet heard from the health officer (Jimmy Harless). As soon as I do, I’ll forward it to the administrative judge (Billy Ray Stubblefield). No one has gone through this before, so we’re going to apply our initial application, and if we need to modify it we will do so.”
In other business, the council:
● Approved a street closure for a community drive-in movie night to be held in June.
● Approved the auctioning of a 1988 Ford pickup and a 2002 expedition.
● Approved the minutes of the May special meeting minutes.