No reason given for Charlie Hall’s dismissal
By: Lynn LaRowe - Texarkana Gazette - Published: 02/10/2011
The head of Bowie and Red River counties’ public defender’s office was fired at the agency’s board of directors meeting Tuesday.
But a reason for Charlie Hall’s termination remains unclear.
Hall did not return calls Wednesday.
Bowie County Judge Sterling Lacy, who was chosen to head the board of directors at Tuesday’s meeting, declined to give an explanation for Hall’s forced departure.
Hall was hired in 2007 by the board to head the office, which officially began serving indigent defendants in Bowie and Red River counties Jan. 1, 2008.
Bowie County’s attorney, Carol Dalby, said the committee met in a closed executive session after choosing Lacy to replace former County Judge James Carlow to chair the board of directors.
“When they came out, there was a motion to terminate him immediately,” Dalby said.“He will be paid through the end of February.”
Calls to board members William Tye, who is the Bowie County auditor, and Kelly Blackburn, a Bowie County commissioner, were not returned Wednesday.
Until the board of directors hires a replacement, Bart Craytor, who was named first assistant public defender under Hall, will oversee management of the office, Lacy said.
“There was nothing formal about an interim replacement on the agenda so we couldn’t formally address that,” Lacy said.
Craytor has been with the public defender’s office since it opened and currently represents indigent defendants whose cases are pending in the 102nd District Court.
“I haven’t really had a chance to think about it,” Craytor said when asked if he has plans to make any changes in the way the office is run.
Lacy said Tye has been put in charge of the search for Hall’s replacement. Applications from outside and within the public defenders office will be considered, Lacy said.
Lacy, who took office Jan. 1, said he doesn’t know how many times the board of directors met last year.
“We’ve made a commitment to meet at least quarterly,” Lacy said.“And we’ll meet as often as necessary to find a replacement.”
Sixty percent of the public defenders office’s financing, more than $858,000, came from the county in fiscal year 2009-2010.
Since its inception, grants from the state’s Task Force on Indigent Defense have made up the balance in amounts that decrease annually.
This year the county will provide funding at 80 percent and in 2011-2012 the office will no longer receive state money.