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Constable controversy — Branick: Wiggins expected to step down

BEAUMONT — Precinct 1 Constable Charlie Wiggins has not yet made the decision whether to step down but is expected to do so soon, Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick said Wednesday.

“I understand it is not convenient and that the circumstances have changed,” Branick said. “That office is extremely busy. The ideal situation is for someone else to take over and allow Charlie to still be a deputy constable.”

Branick asked Wiggins to step down Monday after Wiggins decided to run for the same position in the November election on the Republican ballot. Wiggins was appointed to the position in July on an interim basis after Earl White left to become the Beaumont fire chief. Wiggins was appointed on the condition that he would not run for the position himself.

Joe “QB” Stevenson was present at Jefferson County Commissioners’ Court and told the commissioners he would like to be considered to fill the void, if Wiggins quits.

Stevenson was nominated by Commissioners Michael Sinegal and Everette “Bo” Alfred after White left. Stevenson lost to
Wiggins in a 3-2 split by the commissioners, in part, because of the looming indictment against Stevenson.

Branick said, ideally, the court would get to name a constable at commissioners’ court Monday.

In other action this week, the commissioners recognized Suicide Prevention Month.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with over 40,000 suicides each year.

The proclamation by the commissioners stated the stigma, lack of resources and accessibility to healthcare providers trained for dealing with behavioral issues play a role in the rate of suicides.

Lane Fortenberry, media relations administrator for Spindletop Center, said those needing to reach out should do so.

“It’s important to talk to people in the community or talk to family members and friends,” he said. “It’s important to seek out help. The Spindletop Center is one of those places you can come to get help.”

Fortenberry said people who don’t use the center can also look up information for themselves.

“If you know someone who might need this information, you can share it with them,” he said. “It’s really important to be able to talk about it. Hope is there and help is available.”

Fortenberry passed out wristbands that had the crisis center’s hotline number on it. The crisis hotline number is 1-800-937-8097.