SMITH COUNTY - Smith County Judge Nathanial Moran is urging Precinct 1 Constable Henry Jackson to resign immediately. Jackson has refused to step down despite Moran's attempts to avoid publicity and a public embarrassment.
Moran emailed Jackson a letter as a follow-up to the private conversations the two had several weeks ago regarding Jackson's upcoming six-month federal prison sentence for tax evasion.
In the letter, Moran said he believes it is his responsibility as Smith County judge to request Jackson's resignation on behalf of the residents of Smith County.
"It was my hope that you would voluntarily take this step, but when you did not, I believed it was my responsibility as county judge to request that action on behalf of the citizens of Smith County," the letter said. "As you recall, I made this request to you privately and face-to-face in my office several weeks ago. I did so privately in an effort to avoid embarrassing you publicly with the request."
Moran's letter said that he made two requests to Jackson. Moran requested Jackson's resignation.
In the event Jackson decided not to resign, Moran asked him to waive receipt of any compensation from Smith County while he is incarcerated.
"I acknowledged at the time that under state law neither I, nor the Commissioners Court, had any authority to force you to take either action," the letter said. "But, I urged you to do so in the best interest of the citizens of Smith County and for the purpose of preserving the integrity of the office you currently hold."
Moran met with Jackson on Tuesday and learned that Jackson declined both of Moran's requests, according to the letter.
Moran said the letter was sent to re-emphasize the conversations because none of the private conversations have resulted in Jackson's resignation.
"I want to re-emphasize that this request does not come lightly and is not personal, in the least," the letter said. "Although you are an independently elected official not subject to discipline or removal by the Commissioners Court, your actions reflect on the County as a whole."
The letter expresses how Jackson is no longer alleged of the offense, but pleaded guilty, has been convicted and sentenced and is on the verge of reporting to federal prison.
In the letter, Moran again asks for Jackson to resign and allow another to serve until such time as the citizens of Precinct 1 can elect another constable to represent them.
"That is the appropriate action in this instance," Moran said in the letter. "Beyond this request, it is my hope that you are able to serve your time in prison, be released, and move on with your life in a productive manner reconciled both to your family, the law, and the citizens of Smith County."
Moran is waiting on Jackson's response to the letter. Jackson is scheduled to report to federal prison in Seagoville on or before Oct. 27 to serve his six-month sentence.
Jackson, who first was elected constable in 1999, was sentenced Sept. 12 to six months in federal prison, followed by a year of probation for failing to pay four years of income tax.