PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

November 7, 2011

Rugg appointed County Court at Law judge

Sherry Koonce
The Port Arthur News

BEAUMONT — Jefferson County appointed one of its own Monday to fill the vacant County Court at Law No. 1 judgeship. The move will save taxpayers more than $150,000.

Tom Rugg, who served as first assistant with the District Attorney Civil Division, will fill the position left vacant when Judge Al Gerson retired from the bench in October.

Rugg has agreed to preside over the court at law for a year, until another judge is elected and takes office.

While presiding over the court Rugg’s position with the District Attorney’s office will not be filled, Jeff Branick, Jefferson County Judge, said Monday.

The County Court at Law No. 1 court is one of three Courts at Law in the county, and primarily decides civil and probate matters.

Rugg was sworn in Monday, flanked by his family.

“I will strive to give you my best effort to serve you and the citizens of the county,” Rugg said as he addressed the Commissioner’s Court.

He thank Jefferson County Judge Tom Maness for agreeing to hold his position in the district attorney’s office open for a year.

“I am not now a candidate, will not become a candidate. I am a man of my word and will do what I said I would do,” Rugg said. “I will not seek election.”

Branick said making an appointment could have given an unfair advantage if the appointed judge had decided to run for the position.

Rugg’s appointment was unanimous by the Commissioner’s Court, and drew praise for his character.

“I think you will make an outstanding interim judge in this position, and this will save the taxpayers some money,” Eddie Arnold, Precinct 1 County Commissioner, said.

During Rugg’s absence from the DA’s office, his salary of $157,245 will be put back into the general fund. He will be paid $139,000 for the judgeship — a decrease in pay by $18,254.

In addition to his base salary in the DA’s office, Rugg had a $600 per month car allowance which will not transfer over to the judge position.

Prior to his appointment, Rugg acted as legal adviser to the Commissioner’s Court. In his absence those duties will be performed by Steven Wiggins, an attorney in the District Attorney’s Civil District Division.

skoonce@panews.com



Rugg appointed County Court at Law judge

By Sherry Koonce

The News staff writer

Jefferson County appointed one of its own Monday to fill the vacant County Court at Law No. 1 judgeship. The move will save taxpayers more than $150,000.

Tom Rugg, who served as first assistant with the District Attorney Civil Division, will fill the position left vacant when Judge Al Gerson retired from the bench in October.

Rugg has agreed to preside over the court at law for a year, until another judge is elected and takes office.

While presiding over the court Rugg’s position with the District Attorney’s office will not be filled, Jeff Branick, Jefferson County Judge, said Monday.

The County Court at Law No. 1 court is one of three Courts at Law in the county, and primarily decides civil and probate matters.

Rugg was sworn in Monday, flanked by his family.

“I will strive to give you my best effort to serve you and the citizens of the county,” Rugg said as he addressed the Commissioner’s Court.

He thank Jefferson County Judge Tom Maness for agreeing to hold his position in the district attorney’s office open for a year.

“I am not now a candidate, will not become a candidate. I am a man of my word and will do what I said I would do,” Rugg said. “I will not seek election.”

Branick said making an appointment could have given an unfair advantage if the appointed judge had decided to run for the position.

Rugg’s appointment was unanimous by the Commissioner’s Court, and drew praise for his character.

“I think you will make an outstanding interim judge in this position, and this will save the taxpayers some money,” Eddie Arnold, Precinct 1 County Commissioner, said.

During Rugg’s absence from the DA’s office, his salary of $157,245 will be put back into the general fund. He will be paid $139,000 for the judgeship — a decrease in pay by $18,254.

In addition to his base salary in the DA’s office, Rugg had a $600 per month car allowance which will not transfer over to the judge position.

Prior to his appointment, Rugg acted as legal adviser to the Commissioner’s Court. In his absence those duties will be performed by Steven Wiggins, an attorney in the District Attorney’s Civil District Division.

skoonce@panews.com