Beaty running to bring Justice of Peace office “out of its coma”

By J.J. Smith. The gloves definitely came off when three candidates for the Rockwall County Justice of the Peace April 13 run-off elections explained why voters should vote for them and not for their opponents to over 100 people gathered at the monthly Rockwall County Republican Men’s Club Breakfast March 13 at the Harry Myers Park Community Center.

JP candidate for Precincts 2 & 3, Nancy Beaty, raised plenty of eyebrows when she opened the candidates’ remarks stating that she was running to bring incumbent Judge Larry Holloway’s office “out of its coma.”

She accused Holloway of poor financial management, stating that since 2006 – when Holloway was last elected and office collections and revenues were about the same – expenses now far exceed collections by $178,000.

Holloway denied the assertation, stating his office has already collected $400,000 just since January.

This is the second time that community volunteer and writer Beaty has run against former state trooper Holloway, who was first appointed in 1999 and then elected to his JP office in 2002. She narrowly lost the 2006 election to him in that run-off election, after actually receiving more votes in the general election.

“For the years since he was elected in 2006,” Beaty said, “Office revenues have declined and the budget has increased to the tune of a $178,000 swing.”

She said since she took a collections course at her own time and expense from the Governmental Collectors Association of Texas in 2006, she knows plenty of  ways to correct the deficit.

“I intend to be aggressive in the collection of delinquent fines and fees in the judicial system,” she explained.

She added that she will also reopen the office on Fridays, which Holloway closed beginning last summer.

“When elected, I will restore the Monday through Friday office hours. If the office needs to stay open later during the week, that’s a staff scheduling issue and not a close-the-office-on-Friday issue.”

When Holloway next spoke he drew laughter from the crowd when, in response to Beaty’s coma comments, he stretched his arms out over his head and said, “I’m alive and well!”

He explained that during the past five years, his office has collected $5.2 million in fines, with a high of $1.2 million and a low of $900,000.

“I have no idea where Nancy Beaty got her statistics,” Judge Holloway said after the meeting. “But she’s wrong on them.”

He stated that, since 2006, he has heard over 39,000 civil and criminal cases – compared to 24,500 cases in Judge David Karr’s Precincts 1 & 4 JP Court. He added he has conducted 413 death inquests during the past five years and been available 24/7/365 to do so.

He explained that he only closed his JP Court to the public on Fridays last summer after conducting a survey which revealed residents preferred the Court open earlier and close later. Since last summer, office hours have been Monday – Thursday, 7:30 am-6 pm.

“I’m still on call all day Fridays,” he said. “I still conduct death inquests and magistrate for prisoners in jail.”

JP candidate for Precincts 1 & 4, Jack James, spoke last. He is running against incumbent David Karr, who was on vacation and unavailable to speak.

James, who is currently an assistant fire chief with the City of Garland after a 30-year firefighter career, explained that he has been on call 24/7 for his entire career,will have no problems with continuing to be on call whenever needed and is familiar with many laws – especially related to fire and police emergencies

He praised his wife who was in attendance for doing such a fine job with raising their family while dealing with his erratic schedule.

James showed a great sense of humor and drew plenty of laughs at the conclusion of his remarks when he stating that, win or lose, he’ll never talk again to those people who encouraged him to run for the JP office.

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