When the Brownfield City Council met on Thursday, one of the first items was to select Chuck Nave to complete the remainder of Jack Cargill’s term as a city council member.
Before selecting Nave, council members also discussed filling the seat with local hotel owner, Ray Patel.
Shortly after selecting Nave, the oath of office was administered.
The city council also heard from Municipal Court Judge Ken Cole, who gave his quarterly update.
Cole submitted the Court’s income, and said February is one of the better months due to the issuance of tax refunds, and the majority either pay their tickets or their warrants.
Cole also said he just got back from training, and educated council members about changes coming, regarding the issuances of warrants.
He said one of the main topics of discussion included Ferguson MO, and the investigation following the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown.
Cole said many City of Ferguson officials were terminated after it was discovered residents there were being jailed for Class C misdemeanor offenses.
“They were targeting certain groups of people, and they were saying ‘pay or lay,’ so when a person got a ticket they would come to the judge’s office and they would say you owe me 150 dollars,’” said Cole. “If you don’t pay, you go to jail. That’s just not legal.”
Cole said he has to offer affordable payment plans on citations for indigent residents, and also needs to let those with citations know they have the option of paying the fine through community service.
Cole said community service offers $50 of credit toward a fine per eight hours of work. He said men are able to do community service at the cemetery. Women are allowed to work off the debt by performing duties at South Plains Community Action, and younger offenders are able to do community service at the Brownfield Police Department by performing tasks such as washing patrol cars.
The discussion once again circled back to code enforcement issues, a subject frequently initiated by council member Leon Pope.
Pope said he didn’t think Brownfield was tough enough on repeat offenders, and once again questioned what could be done to manage the issue.
“There has to be something that gets these people’s attention,” said pope.
Brownfield Mayor Tom Hesse called for another work session regarding how to deal with code enforcement issues.