The county will pursue litigation regarding reported salvage yard violations against Bobby Vincent, who owns a business near the corner of Main Street and Simmons Road in Vidor.

Commissioners said in special session this week the matter has been turned over to the district attorney’s office. 

As that process continues, Commissioner Beamon Minton, whose Precinct 4 area includes Vidor, said Monday he’d like to see three vehicles, including a “low-boy” trailer and pickup truck, removed from a county right-of-way area near the property. County engineer Les Anderson said he’d get with Sheriff Keith Merritt about the issue.

Vincent spoke with commissioners in their last meeting of 2008, after apparently being told he could appeal to them about the alleged violations. However, County Judge Carl Thibodeaux said in this week’s session the legal process does not include commissioners’ court.

“The last time Mr. Vincent was here, it was his understanding that we would make final adjudication on the charges filed by law,” Thibodeaux said. “But that’s not the way it works. We really can’t do anything right now for Mr. Vincent. [The issue] has been sent up to the DA’s office for prosecution regarding either a jury trial or a judge making a decision on this … It’s in the hands of the judicial process as determined by the court.”

County attorney Doug Manning said the charges are based on the day the offense is alleged to have occurred.

“The fact that he subsequently cleans up the property does not affect whether the person is found guilty or not guilty of the violation on that day,” he said. 

In other business, commissioners approved a disaster declaration extension for the county until Jan. 27.

Monday’s meeting was brief and the first for newly-seated Precinct 1 Commissioner David Dubose. Also for the first time, Merritt and newly-appointed Chief Deputy Rodney Harrison spoke to commissioners after taking office.

“I’m very honored that the citizens have put their trust in me to move the department forward in the upcoming months and years ahead,” Merritt said. “There’s a lot of good people that are over there now, and I’m very fortunate enough to have brought in some very good people from other agencies.” With that, Merritt introduced Harrison.  

“He’s everything in what I was wanting to look for, plus a lot more,” Merritt said. 

“The sheriff and I have a lot of great plans,” Harrison said. “We’re going to work with the employees over at the sheriff’s department – who are excellent folks. I spent a little over 18 years working for the city of Port Arthur and there’s fine folks over there, but I couldn’t ask to be treated any better here, not only from the county employees but also employees of the sheriff’s department – upon my arrival.”