Commissioners: All future appointments must be advertised before being filled

Court tables action on GC Historical Commission for now


Gonzales County commissioners voted Monday, May 8, to hold off on making new appointments to Gonzales County Historical Commission — or any other county appointments, including taxing entities — until those positions have been advertised in the Gonzales Inquirer to allow interested citizens an opportunity to apply.

At their last meeting in April, the court discussed developing a method by which they would take more control over the appointment process and, at the same time, better publicize when spots are open on boards, commissions and taxing entities so citizens can take part in the nomination process.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Donnie Brzozowski and Precinct 3 Commissioner Kevin La Fleur both indicated they wanted to require those positions to be advertised in a legal notice before they could be brought before the court.

On Monday, Precinct 4 Commissioner Collie Boatright Jr. said he thinks that, for a taxing entity with an opening, “they have money to be able to use in order to advertise in the paper.”

“However, looking at the Historical Commission and such like that, their funds are limited, so that puts a burden on them when it comes to advertising,” Boatright said.

“I think these non-taxing entities — the county should foot the bill for advertising,” La Fleur added.

Brzozowski said the county should require potential appointees to fill out a form with their name and address; whether they are a county resident; the position they are seeking; committees or boards they’ve served on in the past; committees or boards they are currently serving on; and a brief history of themselves.

“Those are just some things that I think, when we advertise and people come forward, we ought to have those questions answered so when they come before the board, we can have some information about them,” Brzozowski said. “Some of them might be people we know, but some of them may be new people.”

County Judge Pat Davis suggested adding “qualifications” to the list of items to be filled out by the prospective candidates, to which Brzozowski agreed.

“If they're using taxes or tax money, or we're giving them money, and we're appointing these people, I think we ought to have a say so, because in reality, it's a mess that will come back on us,” Brzozowski added.

“We all know how hard it is to get people to volunteer, but also, it is some of our fault, because in a lot of instances, nobody is aware of what is going on with boards and we’re going to have to have a lot more public communication,” La Fleur said.

La Fleur said Donald Hoffman, the president of the Rancho Nixon Historical Association, told him he would have liked to have been appointed to the Gonzales County Historical Commission, but was not aware they were looking for new members.

“I think it's fair to everybody that we put it out there where everybody can come and if they want to be on a board, they can put their name in the hat,” Brzozowski said.

“I think it probably be good to if we, as commissioners or judge, maybe attend to some of their meetings, so we can actually see what's going on, too,” Davis added.

County Auditor Becky Weston told commissioners any advertising would be charged to the same budget line item that other legal notice advertising is charged.

Davis asked if his office would be responsible for placing the advertising when a board or commission calls about making an appointment, to which Brzozowski said that the commissioners’ staff could assist as well and that interested parties could pick up the candidate summary document at the Courthouse.

When it came time to consider the appointees for the Historical Commission, Glenda Gordon, who serves as the commission’s co-chair, spoke to the court about the names she had already sent to the court.

“We are volunteers and appointed by you and we are grateful for the amount of money that you have contributed to the Gonzales County Historical Commission each year to continue some of our projects,” Gordon said. “I apologize that I did not have a list together in January as we typically do every two years. These are two-year appointments and I appreciate your allowing me to come to you today with two additional volunteers for this for this commission.”

Gordon had submitted the names of Col. James Kirkwood and Mark Ainsworth. Kirkwood is retired from the U.S. Army living in Georgia, the author of “The History of Black Communities and Settlements in Gonzales County” and he is also involved in preservation of the Terryville Cemetery. Ainsworth lives in Gonzales and is also a director for the Gonzales County Underground Water Conservation District.

“We have added Zoom to our meetings so all of our meetings are posted and open to the public and we also list our Zoom link for that so anyone who is not able to attend physically one of our meetings can still participate,” Gordon said.

Brzozowski said he wanted the court to pass on the appointment until the position was advertised in the newspaper. 

“You're tabling it again? Okay. What am I required to do?” Gordon asked.

“What we’re going to do is we’re going to run it in the paper to see who is interested in being on the Historical Commission and then they’ll come in and you can submit your names that you want,” Brzozowski said.