Sierra Martin | Managing Editor
HAYS COUNTY – The Hays County Commissioner’s Court voted 3-2 on the appointment of Daniel O’Brien to fill the vacancy of County Court at Law #3 Judge until the next general election.
After just four months with the position of County Court at Law #3, Hays County Judge Millie Thompson resigned on May 12 following a problematic time in office.
Judge O’Brien is an attorney out of Dripping Springs and was appointed the position with the support of Commissioners Walt Smith, Mark Jones and Lon Shell, who voted in his favor.
O’Brien is currently the Director of the Hays County Bar Association. According to his website, “for nearly two decades, Attorney Daniel O’Brien has represented individuals and corporations in a wide variety of civil cases throughout Texas.”
Many San Marcos citizens spoke during the public comment period to voice their support for Judge Linda Rodriguez, claiming she has the experience necessary to take over the position.
The decision of the reappointment was discussed during the executive session and not shared with the public. However, the commissioner’s commended all of the applicants.
Donna Hashke, a citizen of Hays County, had her comment read during the public comment period in support of Rodriguez.
“She is uniquely experienced to start work immediately to handle accumulated cases to clear the dockets,” said Hashke. “And she will require no training to handle the various types of cases that come before her. Hays County is indeed fortunate to have a judge who is highly regarded because of her background and her commitment to the community, she has so unselfishly and fairly served for many years.”
Johnathan Steinberg, a 30-year resident of Hays County, voiced his support for Rodriguez, saying she is the closest proximate replacement for the position.
“I urge you to appoint her the unexpired term of County Court at Law #3 for her experience and as the closest proximate replacement for the will of the voters as expressed on election day last November,” said Steinberg.
Although Rodriguez was not appointed, she is currently filling in until O’Brien takes over the position. Commissioner Smith suggested discussing an associate role in the future that would allow Rodriguez to assist O’Brien in taking on the backlog of cases caused by COVID-19.
“I just want to compliment all of the applicants, no matter the outcome of our discussion today,” Smith said. “I am a big personal fan of Linda Rodriguez, and I anticipate bringing back another agenda item after discussions… to possibly create an associate position there or at the very least provide additional funding relative to a visiting judgeship.”