Bastrop City Court Judge Phillip Lester continued all cases in City Court on Tuesday, apparently out of concern for the legality of the City Attorney representing the City of Bastrop.
The Bastrop Board of Aldermen and Mayor Henry Cotton have been unable to agree on candidates to fill the City Attorney slots, which includes the City Prosecutor. Cotton has proposed hiring J. Rodney Pierre and Duncan Jones, with Pierre serving as the City Attorney and Jones serving as the prosecutor.
Under the City Charter, it is the Mayor that appoints the City Attorney, with "the advice and consent" of the Board of Aldermen.
At two successive City Council meetings controversy has loomed over Cotton's selections. Several Board members wanted to retain Doug Lawrence, who has served under several Mayors as the City Attorney. Pierre served as the Prosecuting Attorney under the past administration. With the Board unwilling to approve Pierre as the City Attorney, no one has been appointed to serve as City Attorney since Cotton took office.
Cotton has told the Board that he had legal opinions that since Pierre was previously appointed as City Attorney, he remained such. Other attorneys have expressed views that there was no official attorney due to one not having been appointed under his administration.
City Court Judge Phillip Lester was not able to speak to The Bastrop Daily Enterprise about the flap. However, City court personnel stated that all cases were continued on Tuesday because of the questions surrounding the legality of Pierre serving as City Attorney, without having been appointed by the current Council. All cases scheduled to be heard on Tuesday were continued until October 27.