Roving Reporter | "... I attended an extremely brief special meeting of the Commissioners Court to address the retention of two professionals..." by Wendy Kilpatrick Laubach


This afternoon I attended an extremely brief special meeting of the Commissioners Court to address the retention of two professionals: (1) counsel to defend the county in a suit to quiet title on the Jacks Family tract in Lamar, and (2) a mediator (Bruce Mills of Public Sector Solutions, LLC) to intervene in the dispute between the County Attorney and the Rockport Police Department over the County Attorney’s 7-month refusal to prosecute criminal cases.

There was no discussion of the suit to quiet title. Judge Mills referred to it as the plaintiffs having “sued everybody,” though in fact it’s a fairly routine legal procedure to straighten out tangled title on a property that has sat largely undeveloped for decades. Title has become fragmented among a lot of heirs and assignees. In the past issues of adverse possession have been raised (what we usually think of as “squatters’ rights”), and as usual the county has some easements and rights of way identified on very old plats, in preparation for roads and developments that never happened. The decision-makers of the Jacks Family have relied on Les Miller for years to run livestock on the property in order to qualify for an agricultural tax exemption. It’s customary in such a suit to name as defendants anyone who conceivably could have an interest in the land, so that when the judge issues an order, title is cleared up once and for all. Some defendants already have begun working with plaintiffs’ counsel to do routine settlements and releases.

There was nearly as little discussion of the hiring of a mediator to address the problem with the County Attorney. The motion was made and seconded and appeared about a nanosecond from being voted on when I stood and asked for background information. The atmosphere was chilly to the point of outright hostility. When it became apparent that the Commissioners planned no discussion of their own, I posed several questions. What is the background of this mediation? What do the Commissioners see as the issue in dispute? How many mediations have been attempted so far, and with what results? Who is the proposed mediator? Did the Commissioners consider any other candidates? How did they identify this candidate? What are his qualifications? I got a few answers. The Commissioners acknowledged that this is the third attempt at mediation. (I have spoken at length with the first mediator, and recently heard of a second mediation attempted last December in Corpus Christi. Rockport Mayor Wax and Mayor Pro Tem Rios, who were present at today’s meeting, confirmed that the December mediation had in fact taken place, and that this would be the third attempt.)

Judge Mills stated that no other candidate for mediator had been considered. He was unable to explain at first how this candidate was selected, but at length stated that the Commissioners had accepted the recommendation of their lawyer, apparently the same fellow they just hired to handle the real estate dispute. I asked what qualifications the new mediator brought to the process that had been lacking in the first two, but received no response. The entire answer seemed to be that they were going with counsel’s recommendation. I asked whether the city of Rockport had been included in the process of selection or had consented to the choice. The answer was no. At this point the motion was put to a vote and carried.

Public Sector Solutions, LLC, has a Facebook page that provides no information to speak of, but there is an email contact, bmills139@gmail.com, suggesting that it's the right company. According to business listings, it is a one-man shop with annual revenues in the $70-80K range. I could not find any other active website besides the Facebook page.


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