Without any objection, commissioners approved his hiring as a part-time employee of the county Monday.
Commissioner Eloy Rodriguez, echoing the thoughts of others on the court, said,
“This is a position that is... very important certainly because of the many people it could affect.
“Certainly I want to congratulate you and we look forward to working with you.”
Bridge announced recently that he was leaving the post to seek the office of justice of the peace in Precinct 2.
Bridge announced last year that he would seek the Republican nomination for the position.
Judge Ted Staples, who held that position until recently, retired at the beginning of January.
Bridge was appointed to fill the position until someone is elected in November.
Bridge is expected to face Democratic opponent Julissa DeLeon James in the general election.
Bridge said that Willow has the qualifications to take on the responsibilities of the position.
“Willow comes with about 29 years of experience both in law enforcement and the Bureau of Prisons crisis management team,” Bridge said.
The work experience will also be beneficial when it comes to ensuring the county continues to receive grants for emergency equipment.
Willow stood before the court and offered his appreciation.
“I am going to strive to continue to bring value to the emergency management department,” Willow told the court. “I have worked with almost everyone before so it is kind of nice to see familiar faces. I am here if ever you need me.”
The importance of this position came to light recently when the city was faced with dry faucets.
The emergency operation center was partially opened and staff began ensuring that doctors, nurses and staff members at Christus Spohn Hospital Beeville were able to properly care for their patients.
The center was also there to ensure that the number of residents in the county who depend on the city’s two kidney dialysis centers were still able to receive treatment.
In other news, the court also officially hired the services of public accountant Florette E. Spires.
Commissioner Dennis DeWitt explained, “We are hiring Mrs. Spires to assist us in correcting a Social Security situation we have had over the last couple of years.”
County Human Resources Director Adriana Casarez told commissioners that Spires is hoping to complete the work before this year’s tax season gets into full swing.
“What she is going to do is work on one year first and complete that one year and then move on to the second and third years,” she said.
“She is really hoping it will take only a few weeks to finish this because she will be bombarded with her own business.”
County Judge David Silva added, “For CPAs at this time of year, they don’t even come up for air.”
Casarez said, “I told her to keep me posted because my main concern is that once the work is completed on her end, what do we do with social security so that the earnings will show correctly for the employees that showed zero earnings for that year?”
This issue came to light during a prior meeting and it was also stated that this was because of human errors and not financial errors. All employees were properly paid.
The county has now less than 90 days to correct the errors, most of which are typos, in their 2010, 2011 and 2012 reporting to avoid a $50 penalty per incorrectly filed W-2.
The county is working with Jose Olivero with the Social Security office in Oklahoma City to ensure they have everything filed properly to avoid a penalty.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.