By Bill Spinks
For the second consecutive meeting, the Ellis County Commissioners’ Court will consider approval of a mediated settlement during Tuesday’s regular bi-weekly meeting.
Precinct No. 4 Constable Mike Jones was cleared of all charges in October 2018 after being arrested in May 2016 on charges of abuse of official capacity and witness intimidation. Jones also faced charges of tampering with evidence, misuse of official information, retaliation, and deadly conduct.
These charges were related to alleged actions taken by Jones during his re-election campaign for the constable’s office. Jones’s wife, Melva, was indicted in November 2017 on the charge of obstruction or retaliation against a witness.
However, all charges were dropped, including an investigation into district attorney Patrick Wilson, who stepped aside after Jones’ attorney filed motions that alleged that Wilson’s office monitored his client’s e-mail without a warrant.
Wilson did not seek re-election in 2020 and will be replaced by Ann Montgomery, who won the Republican primary for DA on March 3 and has no Democratic opposition in November.
In Dallas County civil court, Jones was ordered temporarily removed from office by Dallas judge Jim Jordan in January 2018. But three months later, Jones was reinstated to office after a jury found in his favor.
Jones was re-elected without opposition in the March 3 Republican primary.
In the aftermath of his civil trial, Jones pursued a defamation case against Precinct No. 4 Justice of the Peace Steve Egan and former Precinct No. 4 court clerk Kristin Ortiz, each of whom testified against Jones in the trial. This case is the one that commissioners will consider settling on Tuesday.
Egan remains in office, and Ortiz is now a court clerk with the city of Midlothian.
Two weeks ago, commissioners agreed to a mediated settlement with Ruben Solis, an Ellis County resident who was allegedly roughed-up by two Sheriff’s Department deputies in 2018. No dollar amount of the settlement was announced.
Also on the agenda, the court will consider terminating the contract currently in place between the county and Waxahachie businessman Ronald Clyde for COVID-19 services.
The commissioners will also consider a rate setting for the Ellis County Local Provider Participation Fund; entering a tax abatement agreement with refrigerated pet food manufacturer Freshpet, Inc. for a manufacturing facility in Ennis; combining the Ellis County Accounts Payable Department with the Ellis County Auditor’s Office; authorizing County Judge Todd Little to sign the Bureau Account Setup Form with Certified Payments to provide an online method to pay misdemeanor court costs, fines and reimbursement fees via the county website; and authorization of a Texas Department of Transportation grant for $162,703 for transportation infrastructure projects in the county.
Under purchasing items, the court will consider approvals of boiler maintenance, HVAC maintenance, wired and wireless hardware equipment purchase, professional audit services, and the two-step approval of Architexas as the provider of architectural services for Justice of the Peace Precinct No. 2.
Also on the agenda are a final plat of a 2.1-acre property in Maypearl’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, and a pair of one-time variances to properties at 2511 Springer Road and 1117 Augusta Street.
The meeting will begin at 2 p.m. inside the Ellis County Historic Courthouse’s Commissioners Courtroom on the second floor. Visitors will be asked to keep at least six feet apart from other members of the public and Ellis County staff.