HAYS COUNTY – After just four months of being in office, Hays County Judge Millie Thompson has resigned from her position unexpectedly. Although Thompson’s time in office was met with turmoil, she did not disclose the reason for her resignation.
Thompson left her keys and a hand-written resignation letter on May 12 that stated, “I hereby resign as judge of Hays County Court at Law #3, effective upon receipt of this resignation.”
During Thompson’s time working for the County Court, she sued the other County Court at Law Judges, Chris Johnson and Robert Updegrove, and the Hays County Commissioners Court to appoint her own Court Coordinator.
Thompson claimed in the lawsuit that her current court coordinator was inefficient, causing Thompson to do the work of a judge and a coordinator, which has caused a backlog. An example included in the lawsuit was the coordinator’s refusal to search jail reports to create a jail docket Thompson can use for a bond review.
“The existing coordinator, assigned to her by the other CCL judges, is resistant to implementing changes, for whatever reason,” the lawsuit states. “Prolonging the process of appointing a court coordinator will cause significant injury in the form of an even more bloated backlog.”
According to the Hays Free Press, Thompson’s resignation may impact the lawsuit’s outcome since she is no longer a judge and does not have a basis sustaining an injury.
Multiple employees of Judge Thompson that had worked at the County Court for years resigned or retired after she began working with them, claiming they were “victims of a hostile work environment.”
Chris Perez filed an HR complaint just 19 days after Thompson began her position, claiming that she had made multiple offensive and derogatory statements to him. He was fearful it would result in his unjust and improper termination.
“I love my job and the people that I work for and with, and being a representative of Hays County,” said Perez. “However, the stress of this situation and that includes the fact that Judge Thompson’s actions have already led to the resignation of two extremely valuable employees as well as the retirement of a 30+ year veteran employee of this office, is causing me extreme anxiety.”
Shortly following Perez’s complaint, he was moved to another office within Hays County after Thompson attempted to fire him four times, which only administrative Judge Chris Johnson has the authority to do. In retaliation, Thompson filed a criminal trespassing warning against her fellow judges, changed the locks to her office, and filed the previously mentioned lawsuit.
“You have created a hostile work environment by entering my chambers without my consent,” Thompson wrote to fellow judges, Updegrove and Johnson, in the cease-and-desist order. “You have created a hostile work environment by lying to the coordinators you assigned me by telling them I have no authority to fire my own coordinators. … I had to order a man I just fired out of my office more than four times, and he still refused to leave. … Cease and desist your retaliation against me for winning the bench.
“In a document obtained through an open records request, former County Court employee Kyla Stoddard said she was resigning from her position because working with Thompson made the workplace unbearable.
“It is hostile,” said Stoddard. “It is toxic. It is unhealthy, both for me and my pregnancy. If I continue working here, under this Judge, I have no doubt that I will suffer immense mental, emotional and physical consequences.”
The Hays County Commissioner’s Court will be in charge of appointing someone to the County Court at Law Judge 3 vacancy, which they plan to address at their next meeting on Tuesday, May 18.