Everything’s not sugar and spice at the county jail. Someone forgot to tell the local news media that there’s a new Sheriff in town. The Cherokee County Jail in Rusk, TX was a mess “a long time in the making,” left over from previous office holders who include the Sheriff’s father and his former bosses. Decades of jail violations and drippy faucets never leaked to the press before. Cherokee County’s dirty laundry is being aired after State inspectors documented numerous mold, sanitation, and supervision problems that have gone unreported for years. Someone has the knives out for the new jail staff. Prisoners cooped up inside their cells without exercise and recreation spend a lot of time running their mouths off on the jailhouse pay phones. Deputies will have to be reassigned from inmate phone call monitoring duties to make-believe charitable events. (Source: State finds unsanitary conditions, many problems in Cherokee County Jail; sheriff says problems resolved – KETK)
Jail is not supposed to be the Hilton; however the Texas Commission on Jail Standards does enforce minimum safety requirements. Cherokee County has a history of jail citations from failing to properly screen incoming prisoners, to inmates killing themselves and female detainees being raped. The latest inspection of the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department jail in Rusk, TX was on Oct. 15, 2020. (Source: State Cites Cherokee County Jail Violations- KLTV, Tyler TX)
Break out the salt for the slugs and snails.
With the holidays just passed and another election under the carpet, county tax payers can forget about the Commissioners Court allocating millions of dollars for CCSO to run a non-compliant jail and think instead about growing beards for deer season. Somebody’s cousin will be paid to go in, clean up the toxic mold and break some more waterlines. Nepotism always pays off when family members create slime problems their kids get appointed to fix. It would be so nice and cozy if only the Tyler news outlets would stop interviewing people in Cherokee County and stop reporting how the Sheriff Department spends its money.
(Source: TCJS report 10-15-2020)
Cherokee County uses smoke and mirrors to distract from homegrown nepotism. In 2019, the County Attorney asked the State Attorney General’s office if it were legal for in-laws of the incoming Tax Assessor-Collector to work in the same County office. (Source: TX Attorney General archive March 8, 2019) According to the AG, it is OK as long as the relatives were hired before their kinfolk took office. Otherwise, they use their maiden names or fly under the radar until retirement. The County Attorney never posed that question regarding employees of the City of Rusk and those working in the court house all being related.
Section 573.041 of the Government Code prohibits a public official from employing a person who is related to the public official by the specified degree of consanguinity or affinity. Section 573.062 excepts persons employed in a position for a specified continuous period of time prior to a relative’s election or appointment to public office.
In other words, it is against the law for the Sheriff Department and the District Attorney’s office to pay their cousins to be “confidential informants.” It is against the law for the County Judge to use the Probation Department and county precinct equipment to mow and edge his property.
It takes out of region news agencies to get wind of small town atrocities before the public is made aware that their County facilities have failed health inspections. Nursing homes quietly shut their doors without notice when they become financially insolvent after being caught abusing the residents. Substance abuse centers and halfway homes come and go like Pez Candy after years of neglect and tax write offs. Grant money is funneled to family-operated puppy mills with free advertising in local newspapers, lining their pockets and cages. In 2015, Jacksonville’s Klein Animal Shelter closed after a surprise inspection revealed illegal animal euthanasia. The director and employees where charged with animal cruelty and torture. (Source: Police charge 2 for animal cruelty as Klein shelter investigation continues- KLTV Tyler)